Taking the long way around

I slammed into a brick wall this week. In October, I committed to making a career change and plenty of roadblocks have arisen since then. Through this process I have developed all kinds of strategies for getting around them (read this earlier post about one of them), the actual collision will always be a source of frustration.

This week’s challenge is not entirely surprising: Using What Color Is Your Parachute as my guide, I long ago completed the Flower Exercise, then I moved on to spiffing up my online presence, and most recently, I have begun to conduct informational interviews with folks who work in the three fields that intrigue me most: Education-Based or Educational Travel, Expat Coaching and Teen Mentoring. I have made tremendous progress, learning about myself, about the tremendous value of goal-setting, and what it’s like to work in those three fields.

The brick wall? I am beginning to chase my own tail. While I’m talking with different people almost daily, I find I’m having the same conversation over and over again, but am still in need of new information. I’ve been stuck before, so it’s a familiar experience, but that does not make it any less infuriating. The experience has some common threads: First, I spin my wheels before really being able to identify my stuck-ness. Then, I stop whatever forward motion I have developed before I have to pause to catch my breath, which is kind of like finding the space between inhaling and exhaling. And then, the problem-solving begins.

Often, the solutions or strategies I create are not head-on responses to my stuck-ness, and just this afternoon, it occurred to me that my favorite method of side-stepping these challenges is directly connected to a concept Dr. Lorely French, one of my college professors, once spent some time teaching to my classmates and me.

As a Modern Languages major, I developed fluency in Spanish, and also studied German, Japanese and French. In my German class, Dr. French talked about circumlocution, which Webster’s defines as “the use of many words to say something that could be said more clearly and directly by using fewer words.” Normally, I’m a believe in all things efficient, effective, and logical, but what if, in the case of language (and this was the point that Dr. French was making), the speaker doesn’t know the word needed to communicate an idea, but she does know how to explain the thing instead? For example, if I didn’t know the word chair in English, but I did have the words “the thing that you sit on, sometimes at a table or a desk” the speaker would be able to successfully communicate, even if it wasn’t the most efficient, effective and logical way to do it.

While I’ve learned a lot in the months I have dedicated to making a career change, right now I don’t  have the most efficient, effective and logical way around my current brick wall experience. What I do have is the awareness that if I step back and focus on figuring out how to get around this current challenge, it’ll soon recede in my rearview mirror.

Come to think of it, I’m reminded of one of my favorite camp songs: Going on a Bear Hunt

#circumlocution #dickbolles #whatcolorisyourparachute #careerchange #goingonabearhunt

 

 

 

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