Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy with Your Career?

At age nine, I decided I wanted to practice law. My father helped me get a job with a law firm while in high school. I failed miserably. I was not good and I did not like what lawyers did. Fortune smiled on me. Instead, I found the perfect career that brings me joy even after 30 years.

First, recognize that today's careers differ drastically from decades ago. You will change your career 5-6 times. You may change jobs every 3-5 years or less. So, you are not making a 30 year commitment to do only one thing.

Second, begin by exploring what you love to do. Dick Knowdell created two great exercises to help you. They are called the Motivated Skills Test and the Career Values Test. Print the results if you take them.

Another, easy and free, way to see if what you like to do matches certain careers is through the Career Interest Game at the University of Missouri. You can also take several other career tests through your local college career center, though you will usually have to pay.

I believe the best method (though the most strenuous) is found in Richard Nelson Bolles bestseller What Color is Your Parachute? (make sure you get the current edition). You can also discover other tests through Dick's web site

Third, compare what you discovered about yourself with careers. You can use the O*Net Career Exploration Tools or the Department of Labor's excellent resource Occupational Outlook Handbook. In addition, talk to at least three people working in occupations that interest you. Explore what they like and do not like about their job. Discover what they really do, as compared to what you think they do.

You can discover the perfect job, if you work hard to find it. Once you find it, then begin preparing to achieve it. We'll discuss that next week.

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