Meet me - the me in college. Curious, earnest, passionate about people and life, both serious and playful.
Always interested in people and why we are the way we are, I was an anthropology major. Then, somewhere in my third year, I finally started thinking beyond college and realized that, although I loved the classes and thinking about what makes people tick, I didn't want to be an anthropologist.
What next? Too far into my requirements to change gears, I decided to finish college and then go right into grad school for something else.
But what? I spent a good half year agonizing that decision. I took what I thought I knew about myself and decided I had three options to choose from: classroom teaching, social work, and clinical psychology. After some soul-searching (but no real research), I decided on classroom teaching, just like my parents, and started a Masters in Education even before I graduated from my undergraduate college.
A bunch of school loans and a few classroom experiences later, I had some very important insights about myself: the regular secondary classroom was not the best place for me. Although I had a passion for social science, for citizenship education, and for curriculum design, there were other aspects of the work that were not a good fit.
I spent the next 10 or so years walking through the forest of my life's work, gradually picking out the path without a map or compass. I just gathered what hints I could about where I needed to go.
Over time, I learned that: I prefer working with adults; I like organizing groups and improving systems; I love writing in order to educate, persuade, inform, and help people solve problems; I like a mix of group work, one-on-one, and private thinking time every day; my personal mission is to help people find the place where they "fit" in the world. (And, quite unlike my 21-year-old self, I realized I want to earn a good living, one commensurate with my talents and work ethic).
I had some great experiences, all of which make me who I am today. And, at the same time, I can look back and clearly see the choices I could have made as a senior in college to get me directly on the path I'm now on. Choices for education, for work experiences, and for network-building.
(Any of that sound familiar?)
But here's the silver lining: from all of my experiences, I have realized some very important lessons about choosing a career. Here they are:
1. When choosing a career, it's important to first discover what you want and need. This includes not only what you like to do, but also what mission drives you, what kind of work environment you prefer, and what kinds of nuts-and-bolts requirements (like salary and geographic location) that you have.
2. Before choosing a career, it's important to learn about a variety of options out there - especially options you don't tend to hear about in high school (or even college). There are literally thousands of jobs out there - many of which are new on the scene in the last ten years.
3. Before choosing a career, it's important to "try on" your best options before moving forward. Find out what these options are really like, compared to what you think they are (or what they were like a generation ago) before investing in education, relocating, or otherwise making a big shift. While it's almost never too late to turn around, it's a heck of a lot easier if you do some "vetting" ahead of time for a well-informed decision.
4. Always pay attention to how it feels. Once a person starts a career path, they tend to keep going, following the "path of least resistance" even if there's a little voice inside saying, "this isn't quite right." That's why it can be so helpful to have a career coach - the very process of telling someone else how it's going can literally help us tune in and hear this voice for the first time.
I've incorporated all of these insights into the tips and tricks I'm going to share with you. I'm passionate about helping you pick a great-fitting career, and helping you move forward into that career, no matter where you are now.
Do not simply ask “How can I earn a living?” Instead ask,
“What do I need to be doing with my life – and where can I do it?”
Let your personal mission guide you.
If you think it’s time for a new job or career – or if you just want to see what your other options may be – I can help make this process easier and faster than you ever thought possible.