Career Conundrum

When billionaire Mike Bloomberg spoke to the recent graduates of Harvard Business School about their careers, he told them, “Make decisions based on the quality of the opportunity and where you’ll have the most fun and the most room for growth.”  His message to them was rooted in understanding themselves.  It’s a lot like the message Erika Boissiere wrote about in her April 22, 2019 Forbes magazine article, “When You’ve Made the Wrong Career Choice”.  She says, “You can’t shelve unhappiness forever.”

Identifying the Career Conundrum:

Rarely does a week go by that I do not get a phone call, email, or run into someone who is experiencing disappointment in their career choice.  They are in a Career Conundrum, with the nagging questions of:

  • Do I stay or do I go?
  • What else can I do?
  • How do I know I won’t feel this same way 5 years from now?

So, is she right?  Does unhappiness keep you awake at night, distract you while you work and drive, gnaw at your stomach, and diminish your performance?  That feeling of being stuck is a miserable place to live.

People who love their work are highly motivated.  But I believe that everyone has the potential to be highly motivated.  Finding the “right fit” career is key.  In fact motivation is one of the five key pillars of Emotional Intelligence and key to career success.

Counter the Career Conundrum:

Are you ready for a successful process? Contact me about taking The Highlands Ability Battery and creating a new path!  Finding the “right fit” career is a process and requires an investment in self.  Investing is the act of putting something in, like time, money, effort.  We invest in our 401k and we expect an improved outcome.  Why would anyone invest endless hours at a job that doesn’t feel right when there are so many other options?

5 Tips for Students Making Career Decisions

Some individuals seem to have known from the time they were 5 years old what they wanted to be “when they grow up.”  Others seem to struggle their whole lives.  So here are a few tips to help you navigate the question whether you are in high school or college:

  1. Pay attention to the classes you really like in school.  They are often an indicator to your natural talents.
  2. Volunteering and part-time jobs can help you better understand what you want to do more of or never want to do again in your lifetime!
  3. Ask yourself these two questions, “What is my passion?  Do I want it to be my life’s work or part of the balance in my life?”
  4. Career shadow someone in the fields of work that you have interests.
  5. Understand the job market for your intended career expertise.

There is no magic wand to wave or ruby slippers to click together to figure out your career path and find satisfaction.  But there are steps you can take to move you in the right direction!  These five tips are part of a process.  This process combined with The Highlands Ability Battery can provide information and options for achieving career satisfaction.  Want to find out how your natural abilities link with career options?  Contact me.

So Incredibly Awesome

Have you ever been to a party, restaurant or buffet where you felt so overwhelmed by all of the incredible choices you simply had no idea where to begin? Do you have a favorite store like Bass Pro, Apple, Nordstrom or Barnes and Noble filled with those things you love to browse?  Do you usually begin your meandering through that place with a plan that includes some random wandering coupled with a distinct methodology so you don’t miss anything?

That’s how I feel about the new Highlands Ability Battery Career Exploration tool. It is so incredibly awesome!  When you take the assessment, your data gets linked to careers that are a good match for your natural abilities and provides an amazing array of opportunities to be explored. That array includes everything from careers right out of high school to careers requiring a PhD.  Perhaps you want a career with hands-on experiences but you don’t want 4 years of college, what’s available and a good match?

In my career as an educator I have watched the educational pendulum swing from promoting vocational education to dismantling vocational programs and promoting college for everyone. Now we hear STEM, STEAM and all the hype of the pendulum swinging yet again.  The reality is that neither vocational training nor college education is for everyone, but everyone has a place and everyone needs to be prepared to take the next step.  But it requires purposeful thinking and purposeful actions.

Having a career or multiple careers that you truly enjoy is so incredibly awesome. Are you ready to take the next step?  Contact me.

Considerations for Choosing or Reevaluating a College Major

1 – Family Influence – Parents and family members influence our considerations for college, advanced degrees and career outcomes.  Their involvement and discussions may or may not support specific areas of study the student finds of interest.  The work done by parents or extended family members may set an expectation for the college student and therefore the selection of a college major is predetermined by family dynamics.   Knowing where family influence comes from can support an open range of major areas of study or it can create an expectation that may or may not fit.

2 – Media Impact – Television programs like CSI, The Closer, have created increased demand for degrees in Criminal Justice and Forensic Science.  However, enjoying a television program doesn’t make it a good career fit.  Understanding the requirements of the courses and the potential career opportunities that are related to these courses can help in determining a good fit and major area of study.

3 – Values – Knowing yourself and what you value is an important factor in choosing a major area of study.  Whether it is time management, making a difference for others, religion, recognition, physical challenges or spending time with family or friends, these and many others are key factors in considering career directions and major areas of study.

4 – Interests – Interest surveys are great tools for beginning a process of determining career direction and major areas of study.  Because interests can change due to our experiences, it is good to take them periodically.  While interests may shift, you may also find a trend develops with one or two.

5 – Natural Abilities – Natural Abilities are the way in which we are hardwired.  Like our fingerprints, they are part of who we are and they do not change.  They appear as the things we do naturally and easily.  They impact the way we learn, interact with others, the environment we feel most comfortable at work.  Natural abilities are driving forces within each of us and can be capitalized on for maximum performance and satisfaction or we can work against them and question why we are not as happy in our chosen careers.  Natural Abilities are measureable so ask me how to get it done!

6 – Goals – Having clearly defined goals can help in choosing college majors.  Do your goals require 4 years or 8 years of school?  Do you have a financial plan to support those goals?  Will the outcome of your major area of study provide career opportunities based on labor trends, where you choose to live and your social or cultural expectations?  Clearly defined goals along with a financial plan will assist in meeting the challenges of completing an “on time” degree as well as reduce potential costs associated with changing majors and prolonged graduation dates.   Talk with your financial planner to assess your own college and fiscal needs.  I can help with the college and career pieces.

Owning Your Future

It’s back to school for high school and college students.  But they are not the only group that need to think about “back to school”.  All career professionals should be thinking about increasing their own value in the work place.  Generally speaking, there are sectors of the work world that refer to continuing your education or training for licensing as Professional Development or Continuing Education Units (CEU).

  • Physicians and nurses
  • Attorneys
  • Massage Therapists
  • Teachers and Administrators
  • Realtors and CPA’s

This list is certainly not complete, but you get the idea.  Some professions require that within a determined number of years, you are required to participate in classes or conferences in an effort to keep current in your field.  Some industries pay for their employees to attend these conferences or courses while others leave it up to the individual.  The important point here is WHY would you leave it up to someone else?

In a changing economic market it makes it more challenging for individuals to quantify their value to a company, but it pays dividends if you invest in yourself.  Firms, companies and organizations have scaled back their resources to cover the costs associated with on-going training for employees, but the value of you investing in you is enormous!  It not only increases your own intellectual value, but it elevates the employer’s perception of you as an individual and your willingness to increase your own potential.

Making decisions about college and career is never easy.  But there are things you can do to make it an easier process and a fun journey.

High school students….find a way to career shadow or volunteer!

College students….you too can volunteer, shadow or intern in an unpaid experience!

Returning to the workforce….take a class, shadow a friend, volunteer, FIND YOUR PASSION!

Most important, Own Your Future!

Need help figuring it out, click here to contact me!

Owning Your Future

As a teenager, we all dream about the moment we take ownership of our first vehicle.  We spend hours calculating how we can make it happen; the jobs we’ll do, counting the change or dollars, making those deposits and monitoring the savings account until the day we finally make that first purchase.  Making that purchase brings a sense of pride, confidence and Ownership.

There are countless reports in the news and articles in papers or on the web addressing the skyrocketing costs of higher education.  But what is not being addressed is the fact that you can avoid some of the pitfalls by taking Ownership early.  If the National average is to change majors 3-5 times, and changing majors equals increased numbers of semesters and dollars spent, then it seems reasonable that having a more defined idea about one’s future career endeavors would increase the probability of an on-time graduation and diminished need for additional education expenses.  Taking Ownership means you take action.

The Highlands Ability Battery is a wonderful tool to help chart a course, to take action.  Did you know that by the time you are approximately 14 years old, your Natural Abilities are defined and measurable?  Imagine if you knew what they are, how they match with identified professions and combined that with a methodology to assist in learning about those professions so that you are prepared to choose a major.   You take Ownership – you take action.  That way, when you go to college you don’t waste semesters, exceed your budget, and you graduate with a meaningful degree in something you enjoy and it’s marketable.

Own your future.  Ownership is powerful!

Imagine How Great!

Imagine how great it feels when you accomplish something you didn’t think you could.  Franklin Roosevelt said, ” Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”

The task of searching for colleges, making a choice of career paths or college majors, or even changing direction once you have gone down a path, can be overwhelming.  So break it down.  Create a calendar with a reasonable end point for making a decision.  Work backward creating identified tasks that will lead you to that endpoint.  Be sure to have checkpoints so you can measure your progress along the way.  Remember, there is satisfaction or “thrill” in creative effort….your plan.  There is “Happiness” in the “joy of achievement” and making that decision.  So, enjoy the process.  Learn, grow, achieve!

Need help breaking it down?  Contact me

Up 10%

I speak frequently about the ridiculous amount of student loan debt in our country. Not that there aren’t times and situations that they are warranted, but all too often they are a product of irresponsible choices.  Irresponsible meaning that students and families do not invest the time and effort into exploring options before they commit to majors and then change their mind.  In changing majors, you loose at least one semester, so the graduation target gets pushed back and the monetary investment gets extended.  The national average indicates that students will change majors 3-5 times in the course of their four-year degree, but in doing so they end up graduating in six years instead of four.

The newest data shows that loan debt has increased 10% over last year.  Here is a very cool interactive map that shows state-by-state the amount of loan debt and % of students with loan debt. http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/college/student-debt-map-2012/?iid=EL

Need help exploring your options and developing a plan NOT to be one of the statistics.  I am not a financial consultant, but I am  a college and career advisement specialist.  Contact me.

The Value of College…or Whatever

The question is frequently asked now that the economy has stumbled, sputtered and inched along, “Is college worth it?”  With student loan debt soaring and the job market still in questionable territory, I frequently hear people asking, “Is it worth it, or should we think about something else?”

My responses are always the same, your decision needs to be made based on a variety of questions and answers that help to guide you to a path that you ultimately will feel great satisfaction and success based on your beliefs and understandings of yourself.  While it is not a quick “golden bullet” method, it is reliable.  That was affirmed when I read an article a few weeks ago and it was like light bulbs flashing all around me!  Yeah! They got it!  In their terms, “Career Well-Being” is the measure by which we should be evaluating the success of colleges and universities.  But I would like to add, it is the measure by which we should also begin the process.  Meaning, you can’t leave it to colleges and universities to help you “find yourself.”  You have to do some of the work up front and on your own.

Please read the article in the attached link, Is College Worth It, from the GALLUP Business Journal.  Whether you are in high school, in college or out in the work force, this is an important read.  After all, we all want Career Well-Being as part of our successful and fulfilling lives.

Like I said, my work is no golden bullet fix, but it is reliable, and this article speaks to that importance.