The jigsaw analogy
There’s a beautiful analogy that portrays our lives as one big, complex jigsaw.
Drawing on his childhood, author and comedian Daniel Sloss revealed his father’s words about the meaning of life.
His father said,
‘We’re all piecing together our own jigsaws with every lesson we learn and everything we experience in life; the problem is that we all lost the jigsaw box so we must guess what the complete picture looks like.’
The jigsaw analogy is about relationships, but you can apply it to career too.
It’s all about the bigger picture
Some people grow frustrated doing jigsaws. They pick the mismatching pieces and try to make them fit. When they don’t fit, they want someone else to find the missing pieces for them. They give up quickly when they can’t solve the puzzle because they can’t see the bigger picture.
Is it time to stop, reflect and work on your career? You might feel like something is missing or that you don’t like the picture that’s forming of your future. Perhaps you’re stuck – like you don’t have any pieces left to put on the board. Maybe you’ve simply changed your mind.
It might be time to speak to a careers counsellor, find a career mentor or ask for help.
You’re different and so is your career path
Few people complete the puzzle in one go, or place their pieces in the exact same order as someone else. Many of us are missing a few, worn pieces. You’ve probably picked up the same pieces many times and put them down again.
Like a puzzle, a career path is complex and unique. It may take time solve, so you need to be patient and think critically. There’s no one way to do it. The person in the same job as you could have a very different background to yours.
You’ll need to switch it up, use a variety of tactics and find new ways to put the pieces together. Don’t be afraid to carve your own path. Ask yourself, am I taking risks and pursuing my interests?
Don’t compare yourself to others
Everyone plays the game differently. Some measured, some chaotic. Some slow, some fast.
We all know someone who finds the perfect fit straight away and easily completes a puzzle. They’ve got it all sorted out; the study, the career vision and one leg up the career ladder. They look like they have all their pieces together.
A lot of us are still are still rummaging through the box looking for pieces.
Don’t lose heart. Few people get it right at once.
Who’s playing with your jigsaw?
By now, you’ll know your friends and family love to give free advice. They’ll readily tell you where all the pieces should go. You’re probably getting a lot of feedback, but is all of it right for you?
Sometimes the noise is deafening and the choices so overwhelming that we throw our pieces away and forget about what we want.
When this happens it’s time to take stock and get a clearer idea about where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. The best way to do that is to get honest and ask yourself, are you making all the decisions about your career or is someone else?
It’s okay to change your mind, pick up the pieces and start again
Just because you made a decision years ago about where you should be right now doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind about your future.
Think of it as life iteration. Iteration is all about repeat, reset and redo to get the best results. The more you practice the better you’ll get at it.
Recognising and accepting that your goals have changed will help you get closer towards what you really want.
Adaptable people know change is an inevitable part of life and it’s a career attribute employers want as they embrace agile ways of working.
If you’re missing some pieces or the picture isn’t what you were working towards, it’s time to take stock, do a career audit and get back on track.
You may be stuck in a job that earns you money but doesn’t inspire you to get up in the morning. Or, your dream job doesn’t quite live up to its advertised hype.
Maybe you’re silencing a start-up idea because someone told you it’ll never work? It might be that life’s responsibilities, relationships or bill stress just got in your way.
Perhaps you’re caring for someone else and forgot about yourself.
So, how do you start to get back on track? Learn a new skill. Enrol in a degree. Find a mentor. Volunteer your time. Or head straight to the job listings.
We’ll help you reimagine, pivot or completely overhaul the puzzle of your career.
Talk to us about the next stage of your career and how we can help. Call 1300 135 045 or book a one-on-one consultation to learn about La Trobe’s degrees and Career Ready program.