October 5, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Career Plan | Tunnel vision and career idealization

Career Plan |  Tunnel vision and career idealization

When choosing a career, gathering information is one of the most important steps. Simply, without realizing it, you can idealize the job by pointing out only its positive aspects. This bias, known as tunnel vision, can lead you to experience major frustrations and disappointments in your professional career.

Posted at 7:30 am

If you’ve ever experienced job uncertainty, you know it can be a very uncomfortable state. Whether you’re making a career change or making your first career choice, these decisions are critical. While most careers are filled with these questions and represent the norm in our current society, your decision-making is unfortunately not simplified.

In times of professional uncertainty, gathering information is essential and can drag you into a whirlwind of emotions. To reduce this uncomfortable feeling, the strategies used, conscious or not, vary according to your personality.

In psychology, the phenomenon of tunnel vision is a cognitive bias involving selective attention when taking in information. An unconscious choice is made according to the initial thought we wish to confirm. Although sometimes those around you tend to regard the idea with strong optimism, your perspective is probably biased.

Informed choice when choosing a career

Tunnel vision bias in your career choice changes your perception of the job or your future work environment. Without realizing it, ideals are likely to be constructed as you gather information and as you make your career decision. Creating a romantic vision of a target job is easy.

For example, if you are passionate about video games, you may consider starting a career as a game programmer, failing to consider the real challenges and skills required. Or, you may convince yourself that you enjoy the tasks without first deciding whether the role really interests you, attracted by the inspiring products a small company has to offer.

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Usually, it is during training or once in the field that reality catches up with us and leaves us feeling surprised or disillusioned.

Be aware of your biases

Here are some clues that will help you determine if your career decision has been influenced by tunnel vision.

This type of bias is repetitive, so you’ve likely experienced it before when making important decisions like choosing your home, school program, or your relationships. From the beginning of your thought, you may have felt strongly convinced. Idealization often begins with rapid and strong enthusiasm, almost overwhelming, followed by frustration.

You should be alert if you avoid all conversations about your choice, feel irritable, or are quick to dismiss the opinions of people who bring up negative points.

Also, it’s natural for you to more easily envision the positive qualities of a job or work environment. However, if you can’t identify challenges or obstacles along the way, it could be a sign of selective attention when taking in information.

Test your choice

Revisiting the choice to make an informed decision is healthy and involves a variety of actions.

Counter your thoughts by playing devil’s advocate by voluntarily mentioning all the negative aspects of the career choice. This posture ensures that you are evaluating both sides of the coin. Compare the requirements, context, and competencies required in the job under consideration. Ask people around you to test your knowledge about the chosen profession and also play Killjoy to cover all the realities of the profession.

Obtaining information from diverse and specific sources facilitates realistic selection. To avoid many disappointments, meet people who are aiming for professional reality, visit the workplace or training center. The use of online platforms or your network of contacts can facilitate the collection of certain information.

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Idealism or optimism?

A positive choice made in your decision-making process, however, does not mean that your career choice is unrealistic. An important distinction must be made here between idealism and optimism. A nuanced career decision is based on a large dose of hope, but also on reality.

Optimism is important in your professional journey, motivating you and allowing you to overcome fears of choices and change. Also, it makes it easier to stay motivated during tough times.