Perhaps you heard of the poor unfortunate who was spotted looking for a contact lens underneath a city street light.
When his friends saw him and asked where he'd lost his contact, he said, "About two blocks over. But it's much easier to look here."
Sometimes I feel like I'm doing that with my career.
I go to certain websites, check in with certain contacts and even attend certain conferences not because they're the best, but because they're the ones that are easiest, or most familiar for me.
If you find yourself doing similar things, maybe you give yourself the same excuse I use: "I don't have the time to go searching for new career connections."
Of course, if all the contacts I'm making aren't doing me much good, it's wasted time anyway. I'd probably be better off if I devoted a few hours to developing a few new sources.
But to do that, I'd better be able to describe what I'm hoping to find, and that might be the rub.
Maybe my problem isn't so much that I'm looking in the wrong places, but that I don't know what I'm looking for.
If you ever feel like your career is spinning its wheels, it could be because you've lost your sense of direction.
Here are three steps to get us all back on track:
Write down what's important to you. Maybe it's money. Maybe it's creativity. Whatever it is, take the time to do a little soul-searching. This isn't exactly an easy step, but neither is spending your working life in the doldrums.
Write down what you're good at and like doing. Keep it practical, although not necessarily tangible. If you like playing golf but you're not at the pro level, perhaps there's a more specific way you can describe what you're doing on the course.
Brainstorm ways in which you can do the latter to achieve the former. Ask yourself how you can use your skills and talents to pursue the former. This should generate some fresh and definite career ideas. To use the golfing example, maybe you could use your knack for connecting with people on the golf course in public relations?
It's a great way to re-energize your career efforts.
As Laurence Peter said, "If you don't know where you are going, you will probably wind up some place else."
Before you get too lost looking for your future in the wrong place, make sure you'll know it when you see it.