On flexibility

After completing a personal model of practice for my studies, outlining my intention to work in organisational development as well as in private careers practice, I have had a bit of a curve ball thrown at me. My husband has been approached for a fixed term expat role in Brunei, and would really like to accept it. So we are now considering our options, and will potentially be overseas early next year. This, of course, changes my own career plans, almost entirely. It’s a scary but exciting prospect.

And although my plans have changed, the process of completing a model of practice has been very useful. The model covered my theoretical foundations, the ways I will work in practice, and the types of work I would like to do.  It took a lot of thinking to summarise my views on careers and the world, and how I wish to implement those views in my work.

I will not necessarily be able to get work over there, but I also don’t want to completely abandon my career development while I act as the “trailing spouse”.
The model helped me to see that although the details may have changed, the fundamentals/foundations remain the same. Whatever I’m doing, I maintain the same worldview, preferences, and career theories. And having these written down has helped me to consider some alternative ways to use my experience:

  • I love the pure counselling side of things, so I could find opportunities to do career counselling with expats there, even if it’s just volunteering for experience.
  • I believe in narratives, and love to collect them, so I could start a blog that captures career stories.
  • I believe in entrepreneurship and creativity, so I could research different ways to offer online services.
  • I want to work with people searching for purpose, so could find online communities where these people come together.
  • I value mindfulness, so I could work on developing more counselling skills in this area.
  • I am interested in MBTI, so I could research accreditation programmes in Asia
  • I appreciate theory, particularly career construction theory, and also love learning, so I could investigate Masters programmes that I could do internationally.
  • I love thinking and new ideas, as well as writing, so I could start writing a book.

All of these ideas came quickly and easily out of my model of practice, and have made me significantly more excited about the prospect. I am still pretty scared (of the sheer logistics of moving overseas in 2 months), but these ideas help me to look forward to the opportunity, despite having to give up two significant opportunities at home.

And best of all, this has shown me how valuable flexibility can be, and how having a consistent foundation allows this flexibility. However I move forward with my career practice, I believe that these lessons will help me to work more effectively with clients who are experiencing change.

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