What Do I Say When I Don’t Know What Career I Want to Pursue?

By February 2, 2015 No Comments

By: Taunee Besson

pathsQ: “For the last six years, I’ve been the senior staff person on a very busy help desk. In November, a multinational corporation bought my company. When the inevitable downsizing occurred, I took the generous severance package and said goodbye. Now my friends are asking me what I plan to do next. Right now I don’t want to think beyond taking a vacation and tackling some projects around the house. What can I tell them?”

A: Consider using a short-term answer first, then following up with a long-term one. For a couple of months you can say, “This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to genuinely reflect on what I want in my career. I’ve decided to relax, regroup and think about where to go from here. I’m in the process of putting together my two-minute commercial. When it’s ready, I’d like your feedback on it.” With this response, you can hold off the troops, reassure them you are concerned about your current and future well-being and offer them the chance for input when you are ready for it.

Of course, this will only work if you are truly contemplating a description of your next position. To develop a great two-minute commercial, you’ll need to identify what you do well and enjoy, the job titles requiring these activities and the environment that best supports your desired contribution. Below is an example of a good two-minute commercial.

“During my career, I’ve been involved in various aspects of customer service, from scheduling clients’ appointments to handling unhappy customers over the phone and in person. Most recently I was the team leader on a phone-in help desk.

After lots of thought, I’ve decided that, while I enjoy helping people and know a great deal about providing good customer service, I also want the responsibility and challenge management has to offer. Consequently, I am looking for a supervisory role in customer service where I will have some interaction with customers, along with the opportunity to train and mentor employees.

I’ll make the greatest contribution at a start-up company or one with a very fast-paced environment where I can share my knowledge with willing learners. It’s also important that higher management appreciate and reward hard work, innovation and flexibility.”


Taunee Besson headshotTaunee Besson, CMF, is president of Career Dimensions, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1979, which works with individual and corporate clients in career change; job search; executive, small business and life coaching; college major selection and talent management.

“One of the smartest minds in the career field,” according to Tony Lee (VP of CareerCast Operations at Adicio and former publisher of the Wall Street Journal’s Online Vertical Network), Besson began writing for the Dallas Times Herald in the early 80s. Having read several of her columns, Lee asked her to contribute regular articles to the Journal’s National Business Employment Weekly (NBEW) as well. Since then, she has been a triple award-winning columnist for CareerJournal.com  and Senior Columnist for CareerCast.com, as well as WorkingWoman.com and Oxygen.com. At Lee’s request, Besson authored five editions  of NBEW’s Premier Guide to Resumes and three of its Premier Guide to Cover Letters. She has also written articles and/or been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Time, Smart Money and Yahoo among others.

Taunee has worked on community nonprofit boards and committees for over 30 years including Girls Inc., Women’s Center of Dallas, Girl Scouts and Dallas Women’s Foundation, The Volunteers of America and Mortarboard, among others. She was a member of the Leadership Dallas in 1987 and Leadership America in 2003.

In 1994, the Dallas Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development chose her as its “Professional of the Year”. Her NBEW columns were selected for the “Ten Best Article Award” in 1990, 1994 and 1997.  
In 1999, Alpha Gamma Delta, a 200,000 member fraternal organization, named her as one of three “Distinguished Citizens” at its biannual international convention.

Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.  

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