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Career Development Center University of Illinois Springfield

Career Barriers: Draft

Having trouble or feeling stuck on deciding on your major, career path, internships or type of jobs to apply for?

If yes, you may be experiencing difficult due to career barriers. Answer the following questions to find out how to begin moving forward:

Decisions Making

Commitment Anxiety

External Conflict

like financial needs, family responsiblites, lack of knowledge about world of work, insufficient decision-making skills, or physical and learning barriers. Developing a plan to resolve or finding atlernative ways of overcoming these barriers needs to be addressed in the earliest stage of choosing a major or deciding on your career path.

Picture of person jumping a hurdle

Types of Career Barriers:

» Decision-Making Confusion
» Commitment Anxiety
» External Conflict
» Additional Resources


Decision-Making Confusion

If you are having trouble making a decision about choosing a major or career, you may begin to experience anxiety and negative thoughts or feelings. The longer you wait to make a career decision the more difficult it is to begin the process. Although your instinct tells you to make a choice, confusion can impede the process.

The outcome can be increased negative thoughts and feelings resulting in increased stress and procrastination. Unless you become proactive and challenge yourself in areas of concern, you may continue down the same path and avoid making a decision until you are forced into one or until it is made for you. This can greatly limit your options and potential to achieve what is best for you.

If any of the information above is similar to what your experiences have been when attempting to make a decision, contact a career counselor to help guide you through the challenges. Learn more about career counseling.

The Career Thoughts Inventory is an assessment which might also help you in identifying career barriers. Learn more about the Career Thoughts Inventory. Hands on Resource

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Commitment Anxiety

If you are finding it difficult to commit to a specific choice whether it is choosing a major or a career path, the anxiety you may be feeling can make the process even more difficult.

Perhaps you have been successful in narrowing your options to a few but not as successful in making a final decision. A couple of reasons may exist for not being able to commit. One relates to the need for further exploration to continue to explore possible options, or the other might be due to anxiety as it relates to making a commitment because of the importance of the decision. As simple as it sounds, a fear of making the wrong decision could be the culprit in preventing you from making a commitment. This becomes even more taxing if you pressure yourself into making a “perfect” choice. Waiting to discover the “perfect” choice may continue to compound your anxiety especially when we have to challenge if a “perfect” choice even exists.

Making an important commitment of any kind may be difficult, especially if commitments have been made in the past resulting in a sense of failure. It’s important to remember mistakes and failure are part of the learning process and may enable you to make a more informed and successful decision in the future.

If any of the information above resembles what you are experiencing, contact a career counselor to help guide you through the challenges. Learn more about career counseling.

The Career Thoughts Inventory is an assessment which might also help you in identifying career barriers. Learn more about the Career Thoughts Inventory. Hands on Resource

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External Conflict

Sometimes we are very secure about decisions made regarding our academic major or career path, because we are confident the appropriate channels have been followed to make an informed decision. On the other hand, one may determine enough time is available and there is no need to rush into making a decision or commitment and prefer to take additional time to further explore options. Another scenario might be that others in your life, such as friends and family, have different views and do not share in your enthusiasm about choices you have made. In turn, feeling pressured to make decisions can result in uncomfortable feelings. Therefore contrasting opinions can complicate the process of evaluating the importance of your own desires with the desires and opinions of others.

Important people in your life may not approve of the choices you are considering or have already made. The feedback you receive from those close to you may leave you feeling less confident about your choices. If this continues, you may begin to have difficulty distinguishing your own opinions from the opinions of others which can cause anxiety and confusion. As anxiety and confusion increase, self-confidence can diminish and dependency on others to decide for you becomes more prevalent and less problematic. However, this is only a short term solution and can limit your long-term options for happiness and success.

If you are having difficulty resolving similar issues, contact a career counselor to help guide you through the challenges. Learn more about career counseling.

The Career Thoughts Inventory is an assessment which might also help you in identifying career barriers. Learn more about the Career Thoughts Inventory. Hands on Resource

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Additional Resources

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