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Feeling lost on your career path? Thoughts that can help you refind your direction.

Ritva Elo Director, Competence Development, Solita

Published 16 Jun 2023

Reading time 4 min

The rise of generative AI, the big resignation, the economic downturn, and other recent turmoils have made many of us think about our careers. As a person responsible for people and competence development, I’ve noticed that people are pondering big questions. And I’m not alone, as my colleagues at other employers also seem to face the same questions from people: What career alternatives do I have in the future? What do I want to do? How will AI change my work?

At Solita, we’ve decided to take the bull by the horns and clarify the career alternatives for our people. We’ve held info sessions on career planning, shared career stories, and clarified the growth opportunities that we offer our people – just to mention a few of our actions. We also have Solita Growth Academy and Talent Academies to support re- and upskilling of people, as well as in-house coaching, mentoring and competence communities.

It occurred to me that our insights might be useful also for people outside our company, so I thought of sharing some of them with you. When you feel unsure about your future direction, the following advice can be helpful:

  1. Know yourself; your motivations, strengths, values, dreams, what you enjoy and what you don’t enjoy doing.

Consider also what you’re ready to do in order to reach your dream. You might be a data consultant who dreams of working as a doctor because you want to help people, but are you ready to study for six years before that? If this doesn’t seem like a realistic option for you, could you, for example, take part in a customer project in the health sector? On the other hand, if you’re ready to make a bigger turn, go ahead! For that, you can read the inspiring stories of five Solitans.

To know yourself better, take self-reflection exercises such as Moving Motivators. You can also talk to a career coach, participate in a mentoring program, and speak with people inside or outside your organisation. Ask them how they see your strengths and working styles. It can be quite eye-opening to hear how others perceive you.

To better understand your interests, you can browse descriptions of open job positions on platforms like LinkedIn or your company’s job board. Be open-minded and familiarise yourself with positions which aren’t only related to your current job. Then print them out, and mark with a highlighter the parts that resonate with you. Then, put the highlighted text together and see if you can identify any common trends. Do the highlighted text, for example, describe working with other people, analytical thinking, or innovating new solutions?

2. Focus on skills and interests rather than roles.

When planning our careers, we often focus on identifying different roles for ourselves, such as Data Engineer or sales and leadership roles. Instead of fixating on specific roles, I encourage you to think about your interests and the skills you want to learn. Roles can be quite fluid nowadays and can vary significantly depending on the context. Today’s organisations are more about skills than roles.

For example, if you’re a software developer interested in sales, you could explore presales tasks within your current role. After a while, you might realise that presales isn’t your thing, and you want to refocus on software development. Alternatively, you might discover that you’re genuinely drawn to sales. Trying out new tasks helps you understand what you genuinely want to do.

3. Network and stay updated.

Connect with people both inside and outside your organisation. They can help you understand what opportunities are available and keep you informed about the changing world of work. Utilise platforms like LinkedIn to follow industry trends. Additionally, find out what social networks, such as peer groups, mentoring programs, and competence communities, exist within your company and across different organisations.

4. Be open and honest.

Share your dreams and motivations openly and honestly with your people lead and other relevant individuals in your organisation. They can support you on your journey towards your dream. Other people can’t help you if they are unaware of your aspirations.

Finally, be flexible with your career plans and adjust them as needed. Plans can change as we learn more about ourselves and the work that we do. The best opportunities often come unplanned.

Ritva Elo Solita

The writer of this blog, Ritva Elo, felt lost on her career path for years, before finding her passion in people development. Ritva is currently leading the Solita Growth Academy, which provides Solitans with opportunities to learn new skills, expertise, and specialities while growing as individuals and making strides in their career paths at Solita. In her work, Ritva enjoys the most when she can give meaningful ways for people to find their passion and grow. Ritva firmly believes that all individuals have immense potential within us; we just need to find the sweet spots where we shine.

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