Fairy Job Mother:Is this the right career for me?

I wish I was a Fairy Job-Mother with magic career powers! I'd like to wave a wand and instantly connect people with their dream jobs.

As a Career counselor - I'm frequently asked:

· What career should I pursue?
· What will make me happy?
· How can I be sure?

Well, you know what two things everyone can be sure of - and neither are related to career choices!

 I wish I could guarantee people's career happiness! If only it were that simple.

However, career exploration and career development takes work and insight...

 The smarter you are and the more educated you are - the more options you will have. Career happiness cannot be guaranteed by simply performing jobs for which we are skilled. You may have the skills to perform many jobs well or at least well enough to appease a potential boss. Additionally, what suits you, your lifestyle and your ambitions today - may not suit you at all down the road. The perfect job for your classmate who has the same degree as you, may be a poor choice for you. Good careeer management allows for career growth and development, it isn't a fixed compass point.

What is Career Development?

'Career development involves the use of assessment tools and resources to assist with the process of career planning and transition. The assessment process often includes a three-prong approach (self-assessment, informal assessments and formal assessments), to discover an individual's specific strengths, aptitudes, skills, values, and preferences.'

Typically clients and students who see me, want answers. I help, guide and coach my clients through a process of self discovery, self assessement, testing and exploration. The more you know about yourself, your desires, your talents and your lifestyle needs - the more accurate and informed your career choices will be.

 Self Exploration Questions
Ask yourself the questions below:
  • What activities do you enjoy?
  • How do you like to spend your time?
  • What do you feel are your talents, skills and abilities?
  • What experience can you draw upon for a new career position?
  • What makes you unique (unique selling proposition)?
  • What jobs will energize you and motivate you?
  • What elements of your work and career do you value most?

In addition to self assessment: it may be necessary to explore jobs, ideas, companies and people. Right after graduate school, I thought that working as a Human Resource Generalist at a global, hotel chain would be my dream job. I was very wrong. Luckily, I conducted several informational interviews with professionals in the field. Here is what I discovered. 

A typical day as HR generalist at a Hotel Chain consisted of meetings to discuss policies, working on payroll/accounting for staff, disciplinary meetings for non-performing staff and perhaps posting a new job on the company website. I was on the right track in terms of my interest in - careers, global issues and business. However, the role I was considering was on the wrong side of the equation - for me! This role doesn't suit my personality at all. I don't want to develop rules nor enforce rules and company policies. I want to help defeat 'Golliath' for my clients, not work for 'Goliath.'
My current role as an individual career advisor and adjunctive instructor at a major, Business School is the perfect fit! I've specialized in international, employment and love working with diverse, students in an urban setting.

Self Exploration Activities: explore your career options.
The process of performing an informal assessment often involves:
  • informational interviews
  • individual discussions
  • job shadowing
Think about what you excel at and what you enjoy and what the labor market needs. Remember, this is a process - the perfect career and job will evolve over time.
Author: © 2012 - All Rights Reserved - Sharon B. Cohen, MA,CPRP, NCDA. Virtual Career Counselor and Career Transition Specialist.

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