On Saturday I was meeting with a group of women about an event on November 17, 2012 called Yoked for a Cause. I was in my element, working with women to plan a conference in Palm Beach County that seeks to YOKE women together to inspire, renew, and refresh with a distinct focus on the unique culture and needs of women in South Florida. Women + faith + relationships + transformation = PERFECT fit for me. But this post isn't about me.
I met Brenda, a woman with two daughters both searching for career options, educational possibilities and how to mesh their strengths and passions with a career that will bring in income. I laugh thinking many of us are still trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up. These young women see on the news the rising unemployment numbers and hear from friends the lack of available jobs. Is it even possible to hope to find the perfect job? I mean is it realistic to allow graduates to hope for finding a career that resonates with who they are or do we simply encourage them to settle?
(sigh) Maybe I am a romantic. A dreamer. I say, YES. Yes, let them hope, dream, pursue, navigate, chase down and capture. Where there is a will, there is a way. What you can believe, you can conceive. Determination will outlast discouragement.
One of Brenda's daughter's knows what she loves to study (Art History), but isn't sure how that translates into an actual occupation. Here was my advice:
- Read the book (the whole thing and do all exercises within): What Color is Your Parachute. It's updated every year and an invaluable tool to figuring out career options. Not only that, but it helps one examine other factors important in job searching: salary requirements, geographic locations, type of work environment, and more.
- Informational Interviewing: some of us learn by asking questions and talking with others. If this is you, make a few calls to people in fields/jobs you are interested in learning about. Ask for 30 minutes of their time. Go prepared with a list of questions. Take a heart check: are you bored talking to them or are you finding yourself sitting at the edge of the chair wanting more?
- Visit the career services office on your college campus. Career counselors are there to help you.
- Take free vocational assessments. There are plenty available on the WWW.
And my last bit of advice comes from a motivational CD set I am listening to (Goal Achievers): when you climb a mountain you occasionally stop to look at the summit (your goal). You look out at the vista, and then continue toward your goal. When you reach the top, you are able to take pride in your accomplishment, but reaching the summit isn't really as important as what you gained, learned and became as a result of the journey. The perfect job may be out there. . .but don't forget along the way to enjoy the process.