Think archaeologically – how to unearth your new career

There are heaps of useful metaphors for career change. Sometimes it’s like solving a jigsaw puzzle. Other times it’s like realising a grand design.

If your career change puzzle is missing some bits or your grand design is losing its lustre, maybe you need to think archaeologically.

Could digging in uncharted territory unearth your next career?

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Successful career change means expanding your horizons. Most of us start by figuring out how and why our career needs have changed. What’s shifted in the way we view the world and our place in it? What does this mean for our next career and our lifestyle generally?

When you’re ready to start exploring possibilities, get archaeological.

Extend your search well beyond your career change comfort zone and the areas you know about already. Skilful left field digging could uncover some surprisingly good options. It may also reduce your odds of reliving your career change history.

Select your site

Adapt some of archaeology’s site finding tools to help you choose your dig:

Remote sensing - pay attention to topics, people and events that spark your attention. Note the things that ping your radar, push you onto your soapbox or swell your pile of bedside reading. Watch for a shift in your ‘attention bias’. This is jargon for suddenly finding yourself surrounded by events, people and career opportunities connected to the stuff you’ve been thinking about.

After two weeks, analyse your sparky data to help pinpoint places to explore.

Legends and local intel - archaeologists use written and oral history including legends to work out where to dig. What makes you a legend? What do people rely on you to do? What do you love enough to do for free? Which of your superpowers do you use at work even though they’re outside of your job description?

Ask colleagues, clients, friends and family where they reckon your skills and strengths could take you.

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Field walking - define your terrain. What kind of working environment supports you? What are you itching to change? What couldn’t you do without?
Map key features of your current territory to help set your boundaries for your new one.

Your mission is to find out how far afield your career change search should take you.

Ideally, locations you might have considered too distant or exotic will find their place in your plan.

Now get your boots on and pick up your spade.

Break new ground

Branch out from something you already enjoy doing. Mind map careers in your interest areas with someone from your career change cheer squad.

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Then head out into the real world and give it a go.

If you love presenting new ideas to groups, offer to work with community groups who support causes that matter. If research on market trends for your favourite products takes you into the zone, talk to makers and distributors about a volunteer role.

If you’re stuck for a start point, try this. Start at the fringes of your broad area of interest and work your way to the centre. Pick the most exotic and intriguing careers that sparks your curiosity and dig in. Research the hell out of it. Start with Google but don’t get trapped there.

Follow your virtual leads to find real humans. Ask them to share their experience in a field that some remote corner of your career change brain fancies.

Are you struggling to find ‘intriguing possibilities’? Here are ten green jobs you’ve probably never heard of. What can conversations with people in careers you’re curious about uncover about careers you never knew existed?

Set about breaking new career ground and you’ll expand your thinking about what’s possible. If digging around in unlikely fields shows you how much you don’t want to be there, that’s great.

Maybe you’ll turn up your next brilliant career. Whatever the result, a little career change archaeology makes you better informed and braver about exploring what comes next.

Ready to unearth your new career? Book a chat.


By Jo Green, Career Change Coach

I know that when you find what you love, heart and soul, your life changes. I work every day with people who are reshaping their current careers, starting new enterprises or searching for a new direction. Basically I help people who don’t like their job to figure out what to do instead!

As a Careershifters and Firework Advanced Certified Coach and experienced career changer myself, I can help you figure out what fulfilling work looks like for you.