This November is National Career Development Month. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people experienced significant changes in their career, both positive and negative. A lot of people gained the time and space to step back and re-assess their career-related thoughts and feelings, and at the same time, many others were not afforded the privilege to make changes to protect themselves and their families because their jobs were prioritized over their health.
In acknowledging this spectrum of experiences this month, it feels important to reflect on how all of our careers have been affected, and how we might like to grow, shift, transition, or re- affirm our interests and goals in response. One way to reflect is to create a visual representation of all of our thoughts and feelings, and a great way to do this is by using the medium of collage. Cutting or ripping out images, phrases, and words from magazines or other sources and combining them all together can help people to process in a creative way. One reason for this is because the act of collaging can work as a tool to help people identify and organize their thoughts and feelings around a given theme, and they are then able to step back and look at the resulting piece of art in a new light, opening up opportunities for new insights and perspectives.
Here is an example of how you can create a collage that can help you to visually represent your thinking behind where you are in your career:
Step 1: Identify a theme for your collage. Career-related themes may include current passions or new interests, short-term and long-term goals, or reflections on what is and is not working for you.
Step 2: Select a magazine or two, and flip through them with your theme in mind, stopping to cut or rip out any images, phrases, or words that immediately jump out at you. Do not worry too much about making sense of them all together right now.
Step 3: Once you have a selection of cuttings from your sources, start to organize them in relationship to one another on a flat surface.
Step 4: Select a piece of paper or other material onto which you can stick your clippings, and add whatever other materials you would like to your collage (eg. Glitter, paint, stickers, etc).
Step 5: Once your collage has dried, hang it or stand it up somewhere and take a few steps back, then take a look at your piece. What stands out to you? Do you feel like your piece is trying to tell you something? What is the feeling that you get when you look at your piece?
If you would like to, you can spend some time journaling your thoughts in response to your collage piece.
It is important to check back in with yourself, particularly during a time of prolonged uncertainty and distress, to make sure that your day to day life in regards to your work is still able to support you in whatever way it can. Take this opportunity to organize your thoughts and
feelings, and make sure to take note of the skills, experience, and interests that you already have, in order to more easily celebrate yourself and all of the things you have accomplished as you look forward towards the future.
Here is an example of a collage that I made using these steps, in response to the theme of things that I would like to focus on in my career:
By: Kiri Lester-Hodges
Creative Arts Therapy Intern