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?

Are You the Best You Can Be?

Whether you follow football or not it is hard to escape the hype of the Super Bowl.  I happen to love it.  Who’s the best quarterback, the best rookie, the best commercial, the best Super Bowl party food, the best over the top fan attire….I love it all.  It expresses a passion.  And whether it is a hobby, an ethnic food, team logo wear or the work you do, passion adds to the enjoyment of life and helps us to be the best we can be.  It helps us connect with others that have similar interests.

High school students, if you don’t know what your passion is, explore more and find it!  Colleges and universities want to know what moves you and why their institution will be a good fit for you.

College students, whether you are applying for an internship or getting ready to graduate and applying for that first “just out of college” job, that potential employer wants to know that you have passion too.  Happy employees make for more productive employees.  Demonstrate your passion for the company you are looking to embrace.

Even you guys in the workforce, are you demonstrating a passion for your work?  If not, why not?  Sometimes we still enjoy our work but the balance of life brings us to a place that seems to have diminished that passion.  What do you need to do to rekindle it?

Life is a balance.  Being the best we can be includes enjoying the work we do, balancing it with spending time with family, friends or activities we enjoy and paying attention to the passions that make us better people.  Are you the best you can be?

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.

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.

It’s All About Perspective

As high school students and parents as well as some college students consider their next year of school or the path of a career, it’s important to think strategically about the investment in a college degree or technical school. After all, they are businesses.  While they intend to educate and provide opportunities for future employment and lifestyle, the reality is they must stay competitive to keep the doors open.  That means they must run it like a business, big business.

Recently The Wall Street Journal  interviewed Brian Casey, President of DePauw University in Indiana, a well ranked liberal arts institution. While he is talking about the importance of liberal arts education in today’s job market, he is also addressing the university’s need to remain competitive using a variety of recruitment strategies.  They are two different perspectives for promoting an institution or business and both are important to their survival.  But what perspective is most important to you?

When you think about your own strategy for being competitive in a job market, a college market and career path, it’s your perspective that is most important.  After all, they are your dollars going into their business.  Whether a liberal arts background, specific university program or technical school are best for you depends on many factors.  But rest assured they will all do their best to sell you on their institution.  So make sure you do your homework.

Need help navigating the college admissions process? Contact me

Need help figuring out your career path? Contact me.

Either way, click here to read the article and be more informed.

Change – The Art of Improving Performance

For the first time since 2005, College Board is making changes with the SAT.  Well, actually, Educational Testing Services made the changes as offered through College Board.  But, all students and colleges really care about is the new format, expectations, and outcomes.

The test goes into action spring 2016, so sophomores and freshmen get ready!  The changes are intended to capitalize on student learning in class and less on how well they are coached to perform on a standardized test.  That doesn’t mean that preparation isn’t still important in the way of test prep programs, but it does mean that more is at stake in the classroom and that coaching will be even more dependent on process thinking and less on strategies for guessing.   For now, check out the update at www.collegeboard.org/delivering-opportunity/sat/redesign.

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.

Redirecting Your Work Life

While much of the time I target high school and college students, this post is for anyone in college, the work force, or considering going back to work.  Frequently over the last couple of years I have addressed Professional Development as it applies to high school and college students.  But to the career professional or the “stay-at-home parent” getting ready to re-enter the work force, this broad term also applies.  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 within a determined number of years, that you 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 shaky economic market it makes it more challenging for individuals to pay for such training, but it pays dividends if you do.  Firms, companies and organizations have scaled back their resources to cover the costs associated with on-going training for employees, but the value of 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.

In an interesting twist from a decade ago, there are now new programs geared to those who are out of work and seeking new directions and opportunities or those who need a brief course to get licensed and into a new profession that requires less preparation time and resources often required by four-year or advanced degrees.

Want to know how to increase your value to an organization or get redirected?  Contact me.

Break It Down and Create a Focus

Adult workers often talk about professional development or continuing education units and the associated costs, benefits or requirements for some professions.  However, I don’t think I have ever heard anyone reference high school students who prepare for college as undergoing professional development.  But that is exactly what it is!  There are costs associated and benefits to be had through professional preparation for college whether you do it yourself or hire a professional.

On the academic side, PSAT/SAT/ACT prep courses are all a form of professional development.  Parents invest significant dollars in order for their son or daughter to increase their score potential.  The investment is not a guarantee, but it enhances the probability.  So it is important to plan wisely and get the biggest bang for your buck.  When I am asked by parents or students, “When do we start,”  I always say, “Middle school.”  When the shock wears off, we get down to business and begin to plan from where they are at that moment.  But here is a tip for getting the best outcome with the end in mind.

Create a calendar that targets test dates and work backward.  Identify the necessary enrollment date and get registered on time to avoid late fees or missed application dates for colleges.  Using these dates, work backward again and identify the necessary time frame to participate in a prep course or private tutoring so that you have time to take practice tests and target areas needing improvement. That’s how to get the biggest bang for the buck!  While this only targets test dates, ultimately, you have already marked your calendar with application dates and can pace yourself accordingly.  Break it down and create a focus.

The world of work has changed radically over the last 5 years and it is more important than ever that everyone look at ways in which they can enhance their own marketability.  In order to do that, adults, college students and high school students need to look at professional development with a new perspective.  How can you invest in yourself, your loved ones or your employees to enhance marketability or job performance?  Need help? Click here to contact me for more information regarding your own professional development.

Making Good College and Career Decisions

Have you ever noticed how much time, focused energy, and money goes in to preparing to take the SAT, ACT or a re-test to get a better score?  So much of it is driven by the desire to have qualifying scores for a specific university or college of choice.  Imagine the hours invested in AP or IB courses for the purpose of positioning one’s self for that perfect college.  In making the selection to take a prep course for these tests, students and parents use their network of other students and parents to get recommendations for individual tutors or organizations.  They go on-line and search options.  So much effort and resource is spent on this one piece of preparing for college and the bigger picture of a career direction becomes a second priority or maybe third or fourth.

With the national average being six years to get a four year degree, the indicators point to students not being prepared to make a decision about their career direction and therefore the result is greater use of personal resources or student loans and lost earning potential.  That’s not to say that students can’t change their mind about a career major, once they are in college, but they can make informed decisions that use both their time and their resources wisely and reduce the potential of increased time to get a bachelors degree and increase the likelihood that they will be happy with their career choice.

Making informed decisions means collecting the best possible information in multiple directions.  In order to do that with a career decision, the information needs to include personal interests, an assessment of values, an inventory of skills and a quantified measure of natural abilities.  If there are influencing factors like family legacies or expectations, those need to be addressed as well.

Don’t be paralyzed by indecision.  Collect the information, assess your situation and goals, and if you need assistance, contact me.  I can help you determine your best direction!