I am writing this after coming back home from the National Career Development Association conference in St. Louis. My thinking was challenged, so I will probably do several posts in the coming months on careers as part of our life journey. Our work life is not all of what life is about, but we do spend a lot of time in this thing called work. I remember reading Chad Foster’s book, Teenagers Preparing for the Real World, to my teenage daughter. In it he mentions we work about 85,000 hours in our lifetime. That is what I call a lot of time!
That blew me away as I had in my work life gone week to week and never thought how much time is actually involved in our work during a whole lifetime. I realized that I was almost at the halfway point. Thankfully I presently work at a career that I enjoy and find meaning in helping others. My present work with students is that of a Career Counselor. I enjoy helping students open their minds to their personal strengths and helping them connect with a career they are passionate about. One way to living life more than ok is living a career that is based on our interests and strengths.
I have had my share of jobs I wasn’t crazy about but they served a purpose of providing a roof over my head. I have been grateful to God for each job as it beat the alternative of unemployment. I will discuss living with jobs we don’t care for at another time.
How do we find a career that we can be passionate about? I am a strong believer in career assessments as part of the puzzle. I know not everyone agrees with them but I have seen them as a useful tool in my life and in the lives of students I have worked with. There are a variety of assessments to choose from. Two popular ones are the MBTI and the Strong’s Inventory. They can be discovered by searching online, contacting a local university career counseling center, or meeting with a local Counselor. The National Career Development Association has a section on their website about finding a career counselor in your area.
Some do not like the personality and interest assessments for careers, as they believe they pigeonhole people too much. Granted I have seen them used that way. Instead I believe they should be used as a tool to help people explore and open their minds to possibilities. The individual needs to be listening to the still small voice inside and not blindly focus on the results of the assessments. We are complex so there are many sides of finding a satisfying career. These many sides will be discussed in future blogs. I feel the assessments are a helpful starting point with feedback from a dedicated Career Counselor.
My favorite career website is http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/ based on the work of Richard Bolles. There you can find a wealth of information to sift through. I also highly recommend his book, What Color is Your Parachute? If you are in a career quandary at any point in the career journey -- check it out for an informative read. I am not sure if the next posting will continue on the career trend or discuss a new topic. I have many ideas on my mind at the moment. Follow your dreams!