“My Career Is All Over the Place” – That’s OK.

Career Confusion Maze

Is it a messy maze or is it a beautiful image when seen from above? I see the beauty.

I hear this a lot: “My career is all over the place so how do I find my next step?”

The good news: Everyone has a messy career path. Life is messy, at best. You’re not alone.

The bad news: It’s still confusing in there and you’re still needing to find your way in a dark confusing maze.

More good news: You can get help to find your way through the maze. There are people with lanterns and maps to turn to. And people who can see the big picture from above the maze. Really.

My So-Called Messy Career Path

In my own experience, I thought I was “all over the place” too. I didn’t want anyone to see that wacky résumé. On some level, with each turn, it did make sense to me, because I was following what was in front of me. But I thought that picture of “meandering” would look funny to others.

In reality, people never seemed to care about all those so-called turns on my résumé, and it wasn’t a roadblock for new jobs. I couldn’t see the thread connecting the dots, but I see now that it was there. Maybe it was the exact path I needed to end up helping people with career clarity, since I’ve dabbled in many areas. It wasn’t simple and it was confusing at times for sure, but the path had a purpose, it turned out.

“What Can Help Me Find My Way?”

Just using exercises in a book or a quiz online is not enough for something like deep clarity and choosing your own specific steps on where you want to go in life. You wouldn’t be reading this if you could have figured it out on your own.

Most people can’t figure it out alone. It’s like a fish who doesn’t see the water she’s swimming in, but the water is obvious to us as outsiders. Funny how that works. A little help goes a long way, and seeing what’s right there can bring huge relief.

There are lots of options for where to find some support. The person you turn to doesn’t need to be local since these options can happen by phone or video call.

  1. If you have some ideas but have trouble finding the words, consider hiring an experienced résumé writer who can find the positive story in the so-called mess. The process itself can sometimes help you find clarity.
  2. If you are tired of feeling like the only one in a career search journey, look for a group of kindred spirits in the same boat.
  3. If you feel like it’s time to regroup, rethink, or recover your work sanity, it’s a perfect time for a career coach.

Tips for choosing who to hire:

  1. For introverts, consider finding an introvert specialist or introvert group so they will get you easily and quickly. At least ask the provider in the initial call what they understand about introverts.
  2. In your initial call, make sure you feel heard and understood in general. The “click” means you’ll get faster and more useful results.
  3. If it’s easy to schedule an initial call, that seems like a good sign too.

How To Know When You’re On the Right Career Path?

The key is to follow what feels true to you. Hmm, that can be confusing and hard to do, huh?

In other words, tune in to the bright spots, that are in there somewhere, and double down on that.

In a way, I’m saying to follow where the wind is already blowing! Most of us are focusing on what’s going wrong instead of looking for what is going right, even if it’s still small and difficult to see at times. When you turn your attention to what feels right, a lot is revealed.

To me, the wind analogy means you are following what is coming naturally to you, and it also means it’s resonating with the people you are here to serve.

If something you’re trying feels like working against something inside yourself (like your natural strengths or your values), that’s not “with the wind.” Make sense?

You are enough. Right now. There's nothing to fix. The wind knows. - Val Nelson

Following what the wind knows means following your natural strengths. When you do that, there is nothing to fix. When you don’t, it’s exhausting, like fighting the wind.


I know, I can hear you saying it’s hard to “just follow the wind” because it can feel like going AGAINST what’s expected or what’s needed for income. Sounds scary.

I explained more about the challenges and how to find that path here:
The Joy and Challenge of Finding Your Purpose

In the meantime, I’m sending you much empathy for being in that dark maze. You don’t have to go it alone.

Introvert Inspiration Subscribe to Val's Updates

Get Val's updates, with booster shots of belonging and inspiration for caring introverts.
[Details and tech support.]

Your info will not be shared. (Privacy Policy)

* = required field
Choose at least one:

Comments and Questions Welcome: