Action Plans and Shopping Lists
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31 March 2016
Many of you will have seen careers advisers produce Action Plans with clients to help them to prepare for the future. Often these will include a career goal and (for those in Year 11) often a choice of whether they have decided to stay on at their sixth form or leave to go to college, another sixth form, to pursue work with training, volunteer, a pre-employment course or traineeship. Some Action Plans will have actions to help clients understand the broader picture of their choices through research, such as attending open days and work experience.
Many Action Plans once completed read like a menu or shopping list of tasks which, if completed will results in our clients reaching their goals. Such an assumption seems to indicate that each client will reach their perfect destination just by following a few simple steps.
Except people don’t work like that and the “real world” doesn’t function like that.
Much like when we go shopping for weekly groceries in the supermarket, our ideas change between writing our shopping list at home and going shopping. Ideas change and develop for many reasons, from environmental factors through to factors of happenstance and convenience. Alongside the changes which happen through taking the time to reflect on choices and decisions.
We have to remember that our clients are just the same when making decisions for the future, often their ideas will evolve after writing their Action Plans; this is ok and not a reason to panic.
So what is the point of Action Planning then, if their ideas are likely to change?
As part of the careers guidance process it gets the ball rolling and sets them on a course of discovery and reflection. Akin to when we go shopping for that one off purchase, such as a car. We may have a particular dream in mind but, once we start to look at it realistically with further research, we realise our ideas and needs may have changed and we want something else or decide on a different make or model (making our previous actions and ideas superfluous).
Through this process of exploration though, we often find a choice which is far better suited to our needs and enjoyment.
Originally published on the CXK Blog, Monday 14th September 2015