Overambitious career goals?
June 30, 2012 2:04 PM Subscribe
How do I know if I'm being overambitious?
posted by EatMyHat to work & money (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've recently had a setback in my career - after months of hard work toward passing some professional exams I've failed to make the cut. I did not do desparately badly, in fact I thought my result was ok, but given the work I put in, and the extremely competitive nature of the industry, it will not be enough to be hired at the key players.
I've had an interest in this work for nearly 4 years, including some initial (and remarkably successful) work experience at one of the top employers after graduating, but I was on a contract, and missed a couple of key opportunities to gain more experience there.
Instead I took (for various reasons) a detour-job elsewhere, unwitting dropping to a lower level job which I hated. Since then I've spent about two years underachieving. I feel like my career has never recovered from those early mistakes. I had hoped to pass the exams to "prove myself" and get back in at my former employer but I haven't managed.
About a year ago I spoke to several recruiters about possibly getting some better work, and she told me a story about a friend who got "over-promoted" from an entry level job, couldn't handle the work and had to spend ages at the same level to make up lost ground. I think she was trying to tell me my resume made it look like I had been accelerated too fast, and should lower my expectations and not expect too much. Accordingly she only offered me positions similar to the one I was in, which to my mind, was too easy for me and not worth changing jobs for, so I didn't bother applying.
Honestly I have no idea what to expect when it comes to career choices - my background is unusual for my chosen industry, though I can show a long-term interest and some useful skills, and family/friends etc are not familiar with the field.
Like anyone else I want a good and stable job, but I am someone who thrives on a challenge. I have been told that I 'don't do things by halves', that I'm intense and I know am not usually a balanced or slow and steady kind of personality. I've also been told I lack self confidence, and I am known for being anxious, especially with regard to big career choices/under pressure. (my career is my main source of self esteem, I have to admit) I'm worried about how my personality could be affecting my career, so here are my questions:
How do I know when my goals are overambitious? (due to wanting too much of a challenge, wanting to learn rather than leverage off what I already know)
How do I know the difference between common sense saying I'm overambitious, and lack of self confidence/anxiety cheating me out of a good chance?
My recent set back makes me wonder whether I am even cut out for such a difficult career choice, and my career confidence has been quite low for a while. How can I get it back?
I'm sorry for the scrambled nature of this post, but I'd appreciate your insights!!