Scary Times II

In October 2011 I posted a Blog titled Scary Times.  It was a play on Halloween and the issues facing seniors in high school as they navigated the world of changes ahead…college, work, sports.  Issues that were relevant. Perhaps scary, but also exciting.  Fast forward to today, Scary Times II.

Scary Times II is certainly not aligned with Halloween this time, and it is not targeting seniors in high school.  It targets everyone.  Those in high school as a sophomore or older, college students, and those in the work world already.  COVID-19 has made our world a very different place.  As a result, it has caused all of us to rethink how we interact with each other,  how we address learning, and how we continue in the world of work.  Yes, it is scary.

But, Scary Times can encourage us to spend time reflecting, to engage, educate and empower ourselves to move beyond where we were and into something more.  Who    are    YOU?  Are you an Extrovert?  Do you need diversity in your work, interactions with others, and a common goal?  Are you an Introvert? Need more time to yourself for reflection and recharging?  Are you diagnostic, analytic, experiential or consultative in your Problem Solving style?  How does that fit in your world of work?  If you are not sure, maybe it’s time to find out the answers to these and lots more questions that can guide you in your next steps.

The world of work is changing more rapidly that anyone expected.  Will you be ready?  Now is the time to take a Highlands Ability Battery and find out your Best Fit opportunities.

 

Networking is for Everyone – Including Students!

Social media is changing the way we network for career opportunities.  But we can’t forget to develop our in-person networks as well.  This is especially true for high school and college students.  As you think about career directions, this is the time to do some explorations and especially if you are not working during the summer.

Tap into those networks that are closest to you.  Parents and their employers, extended family members and their employers are all great places to begin.  Find out if positions exist within their organizations that you may interest you.  If so, a quick phone call or introduction followed by a couple of questions could well set the stage for an opportunity to spend a few hours or even a week exploring the career options related to the career you shadowed.  By shadowing, you have also extended your own network for future opportunities.  Career shadowing experiences help you to determine if there is more you want to know about a career or if it was just a whim.

In years past we only heard about networking as a business tool.  No longer!  It is a tool for everyone and students are no exception.  Whether you are building a network of coaches, admissions contacts or career professionals, networking is powerful.  While Facebook, LinkedIn and Yelp are all proven social media networking tools, don’t overlook the obvious.  Check out your own family network and the network of businesses and professionals used by your family.  It’s all part of promoting yourself, building experiences, eliminating the potential of stumbling into a profession you later wish you had gone another direction, and creating a path of satisfaction and success for yourself.

Contact me if you need more information or have questions.  Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours!

Career Trend Shifts

I talk often about the importance of paying attention to the trends.   Over the last decade we have experienced huge changes in trends of all kinds, not just the obvious of the day, “What’s trending on Twitter.”  I’m talking trends in careers and how that impacts new majors at universities, degrees and technical program certifications.

When television programs like Law and Order, CSI and a host of other crime shows hit it big, universities responded to the increased interest and demand by offering more programs in Forensic Science and Criminal Justice. When the market collapsed and millions of people went back to school, what new major was hot on the scene, Entrepreneurship!  People needed to reinvent themselves and find new opportunities.  While it hasn’t been for everyone, it does feed a niche market.

So what’s hot in Business schools now? Analytics!  Yep, the study of business data and there is lots of it!  Click here for an article in The Wall Street Journal, “Big Data Gets Master Treatment at B-Schools”. 

Paying attention to the trends allows you to make informed decisions.  After all, when you choose a college or a major you are making decisions that impact your earning potential, potential satisfaction and quality of life.  Doing your homework can pay big dividends in ways far greater than a paycheck!  It may be a great new trend, but is it right for you?

Got a question about what else is trending in career fields and what is the best fit for you?  Contact me.

Finding Job Satisfaction

Have you ever felt you were going down the wrong path, maybe weren’t sure where the path was to start with, or maybe you got to the end of the path and said, “Is that all there is?” Life is way too short to not enjoy what you do in your chosen career.  It scares me when I read articles or research that reflect numbers of 50-65% of the population reporting they are disappointed in their career choice or feel that their work is not utilizing their talents.

Finding jobs over the last several years has posed a challenge, but jobs are out there and they run the gambit of requiring technical school training, certification programs, college or advanced degrees. There truly is something for everyone, but not everyone does their homework to figure out their best path.

Finding job satisfaction requires a bit of work. You have to pay attention to what you like and don’t like to do both in your class time or work hours as well as in those hours when you can spend your time doing anything you want. What makes you tick?  What turns you off?  Are you passionate about something and want to incorporate it in your work or do you want to keep it separate?  What are your Natural Abilities?  Did you know they are measureable?

Job satisfaction includes doing what you are good at, being valued by those you work with and for.  It includes doing what you enjoy and feeling that compensation is in line with the job and others in similar jobs.  Satisfaction includes lots of things including your quality of life.  Does your job satisfaction measure up?

Need help figuring it out? Click here to Contact Me.

Connections for Future Career Opportunties

So fre­quently when I do pre­sen­ta­tions for schools or orga­ni­za­tions, I get asked, “When should we start think­ing about careers?”  My answer is always, “The sooner the bet­ter.”  You see, it’s not that you have to decide what you want to do “when you grow up” but rather you need to explore the pos­si­bil­i­ties and expe­ri­ence the things you want to learn more about or dis­cover things you never imagined doing in your life!  How can you use your nat­ural abil­i­ties, pas­sions, inter­ests and skills now to set your­self up for success? How can you determine the best fit college program or major if you don’t do your homework?

College and High School Students:

  • part time jobs can pay bills and provide spending money, but they also provide insight for future directions and create a network for future connections
  • volunteering provides connection with a passion, an opportunity to explore potential opportunities for employment, and a network for future connections
  • internships both paid and unpaid provide insight for future directions and potential future employment….and a network for future connections
  • part time jobs, volunteering, paid and unpaid internships are great resume’ material…and provide a host of future networking opportunities

My mes­sage,  get out there and get those volunteering, internship/externship, or part time work expe­ri­ences!  Click here to check out just one exam­ple of some ter­rific high school stu­dents get­ting great expe­ri­ences through a won­der­ful pro­gram.  These guys are going to be pre­pared to declare a major and to make dreams hap­pen!  There is an old say­ing, ” There are three kinds of peo­ple, those who watch what hap­pens, those who make things hap­pen, and those who won­der what hap­pened.”  Which one are you?

Need help making it happen?  Click here to 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.