October will see the launch of Career Navigator, a resource which uses the metaphor of the road and resources required for the journey to enable individuals and groups to understand the nature of a modern career (rarely a straight, predictable path, more like crazy paving!). The Career Navigator pack includes an A3 road map and a set of resource cards which will identify the career management capabilities needed to effectively navigate the twists and turns people often face. The road map encourages them to reflect on where they are now/ where they would like to be, whilst the cards engage individuals in a review of the career management competencies they already have and those which they need to strengthen. For example, for a car journey you need keys to get started and maybe passengers to keep you company … for work/life you likewise need motivation and a network of support.
The career navigator resource has been piloted with both young people and adults, individuals and groups. Here are a few comments made by a group of 16-17 year old students at college:

“helpful”; “informative”; “fun”; “an easier way of understanding opportunities”; “really good, the activity helped quite a bit to understand the path of my future and what I may need”

Adults also find the metaphor useful. Jackie Pickles, an adviser who works primarily with unemployed adults, believes that it encourages a more thoughtful and emotional response when reflecting on barriers to moving forward, identifying issues such as lack of confidence and fear. Jackie has shared the following examples of her work:

“One individual chose the picture of a car skidding off the road in the snow, she said she knew what she wanted to do but felt like she was always slipping off course and being pulled in different directions by her competing priorities. With another person, a spaghetti junction type of image with lots of roads crossing over each other elicited the feelings of going round in circles”.

For more on the theory and use of metaphor in career practice, explore the work of Norm Amundson, an international expert on this theme who writes in a very accessible and thought provoking way. .