Career Development for
Creative People

By May Bleeker-Phelan, 2 Feb 2021

Career Navigation

Career development is done throughout one's life. It can be a wonderfully hopeful, enjoyable process, if it is done consciously. It can offer a means of moving towards things that give you satisfaction, and moving away from those that don't.

Working creatively with what you have been given to create a rewarding and productive working life, requires a certain clarity, insight and adaptability. These resources can be developed. 

Whether you are looking to make a change, develop a leadership or innovation ability, choose a different career path, or find a new way of doing what you are already doing, career assessment and/or coaching can support your progression. 

With the right knowledge and personal tools you can create a life and work path that satisfies your needs and makes you happy.

Mapping The Terrain

terrain map embroidery by May Bleeker-Phelan

Whether making deliberate career choices to expand a creative practice, developing into a new position, or coping with unexpected change, the more you know about the factors that influence your career progress, the more power you have to make good decisions. 

The most important are: 

  • Self-knowledge (self-aware, objective and deep) 
  • Understanding the world-of-work
  • Knowing about resources and opportunities and how to activate or access these

What Guides You in Career Development?


Deep insight into the following is helpful in any stage of career development:

Values and motivations - the things you want out of life that make you want to do some things and not others

Interests and aptitudes - abilities and interests that come naturally to you

Personality style and preferences - certain traits, or ingrained habits of thinking and behaving

These all determine how you respond to different types of work demands and what you will find easy, or where you might trip up.

Even though you may know yourself in an everyday sense, it can be difficult to be objective or to sort the information into what is most relevant. While we are finding our way through the woods, are we even in the right woods?

For effective career development it helps to have ways to measure and prioritise this kind of information. Simplify to clarify.

Insight Into Work & Resources

The challenge with understanding the world of work is that is has so many moving parts. When making sense of this jigsaw it is useful to consider the following:

unfinished puzzle embroidery collage by May Bleeker-Phelan

Different career contexts and how you might fit in

Complex work-place dynamics and how to manage them

Career resources - how to access, activate or create them

Barriers to progress - how to identify and overcome them

How to stabilise yourself in a changing, shifting market-place where not even you stay the same

Some career development resources you may not yet have considered:

Working with Intention

Working with Intuition

Your Thinking Partner

Just as you would consult a Financial Adviser or Accountant when dealing with finances, from time to time it can be useful to consult a career development professional for their knowledge and perspectives on the above. 

Having more objectively measured information about yourself can increase your insight. An informed, outside perspective can help focus your career development efforts. A creative conversation with a thinking partner can challenge you to find your own inner resources to help you shorten the distance to your goals.  

"Few people are as perceptive and intuitive about people as May. Over six years of working with her on assorted projects, I have come to rely on her expertise and judgement. Particularly, her ability to look at the subplot of a situation. Anthropologists refer to something called 'social silence' and it's about looking at what isn't being said (not what is being said). May is superb at doing this with people, their careers and dynamics of teamwork. It is her ability to look beyond the obvious and beyond the explicit that I am continually impressed by. And then, her lexicon to describe what she sees lucidly." - Rich Mayson, Owner/Director: Newport Partners

Self directed career development linkSelf Directed Career Development