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Green Light Thinking: Hitting GO on Your Career Journey for the New Year

10 January 2022   |   by Explore Careers

If you’re anything like us, you probably hit the new year with a great sense of motivation and an eagerness to achieve LOTS!

We love the enthusiasm, but we also know how quickly it wanes when we don’t have the right tools and resources to help us keep our eye on the prize and stay on track with our goals.

That’s why throughout January we’re pulling together a few of our favourite tools that will help you harness that sparkling new year motivation and keep tapping into it all year round.

First up: We’re taking a look at Green Light Thinking

What is Green Light Thinking?

Green Light Thinking is a way of reframing your experiences so you can determine what was good, what was bad and what was meh.

When you do this, you can ensure that every experience you have in relation to your career gets some good reflection, helps you further define your ideas for the future and can aid you with your next step decisions.

How it Works

Whenever you take part in something related to your career or ideas about your next steps, set some time aside to reflect on it overall.

For short experiences, like an employer talk or career expo, you can do this on the same day. For longer experiences, like work experience, volunteering or a part-time job, you might want to spend a little time doing Green Light Thinking every time you attend.

You break down your experience into three parts:

  • Green Light: These are all the activities, tasks, experiences and interactions that you really enjoyed. Anything that makes you feel like you’ve had a good experience, helps you learn more about what you want to do and that you want to keep doing in the future.
  • Amber Light: These are the activities or tasks that were just a bit meh. Sure, you could do them and they weren’t bad necessarily, but if you could not do them that would be great too! This list helps you understand what tasks or aspects of a role or career might be boring but necessary.
  • Red Light: These are all the aspects of the experience or activity that you really didn’t like. This isn’t just the boring bits, but the bits that you actively hated and would want to avoid at all costs in the future.

How Often Should You Do Green Light Thinking?

You can do Green Light Thinking any time you have an experience or take part in an activity that will give you insights into your ideas for your future career.

A few examples of when you might do this include:

  • After a career talk or employer demonstration at school.
  • After a tour or visit to a local university, TAFE or another further education institute.
  • After a careers expo
  • After attending some job shadowing
  • After work experience, an internship or voluntary experience
  • After chatting with industry professionals – whether at school or friends of your parents.

Basically, the more you do it, the more you’ll build a great list of green, amber and red tasks that you can then measure up against future job roles or ideas you have and see what matches you have!

3 Benefits of Green Light Thinking

Aside from feeling super organised about your career and work-related activities, there are lots of other benefits to taking part in Green Light Thinking:

1. It can help you further figure out what you do – and don’t – want to do.

It’s all well and good having an idea for what you think you might like to do, but it’s also good to know what types of things we don’t like doing.

Green light thinking can help you to reflect and organise your ideas and thoughts into something tangible that you can keep coming back to, adding to, changing and adapting as your experiences grow.

2. It can help teachers and careers advisors better understand what you like, and offer guidance on suitable careers.

Even if you struggle to translate your green light thinking ideas into other job roles or career areas, this type of reflection can help teachers and career advisors get a much better idea of what you might like to do.

They can use this knowledge to offer guidance and suggestions for other careers you might not have thought of yet.

3. You can collate all your thoughts and ideas in one place.

Life’s busy! It’s easy to go to all these great careers-related events, activities, to attend work experience or chat to a teacher about your career ideas – and then forget about it all a week later.

Collating your ideas in this way can help you stay on top of your ideas, and provide you with a really clear picture of everything you’re doing. It’s something you can come back to over the upcoming years to help you keep making decisions, asking the right questions and seeing what else you might like to do.


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