Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Confront the Fear of Career Commitment

Many people have trouble choosing a career. Some are afraid to make the wrong choice. Others are concerned they might change their mind later. Overwhelmed by options, some people just wait for someone (parent, counselor, significant other) or a career test to just tell them what to do.

To cure your commitment problem, try confronting the truths that scare you the most:

No person/counselor/scientifically valid career test can tell you the one “right” career choice. But part of making a good career decision is gathering and considering a lot of information. Try the exercises in “getting started” and this 4 step career decision making process.

You’re responsible for your own decisions. But look on the bright side - you have access to a lot of affordable help. Your public librarian, your college career services counselor, the Career Key website and other high-quality Internet resources – are just a few. You are ultimately in control of your attitude and making your own luck – look for support and you will find it. Positive thinking and surrounding yourself with positive people, as “woo woo” as it sounds, has been proven effective.

Money doesn’t grow on trees. But it does flow from your work and ideas. You have control over what you do to make money – whether through your own business, working 4 hours a day, or changing the world (or all of the above).

Some of your expectations about work and lifestyle may be unrealistic. (See Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees) Change takes time and effort so start with small, realistic work and lifestyle goals on the road to your larger ones. Short-term goals should be a stretch but achievable through your own efforts.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Career Development 101

Sometimes we make career development harder and more complicated than it needs to be. If you’re one of those people, like me, who is prone to overthinking and overanalyzing their lives, you can wallow in indecision and inaction for too long. Like procrastination, inaction breeds stress. So make a career development plan and start implementing it today.

I bring up career indecision and career development because they are a couple of the top reasons people come to The Career Key and this blog. We have many professional career advice articles on career development topics.

I’m not suggesting shortcut your process of choosing a career or evaluating your career options. But at some point you need to make a plan; and it may surprise you that you have short and long term goals – ones that take planning to achieve.

I recommend taking these steps proven to be effective:
  1. Choose a career that matches your personality. You'll see from our article "Getting Started" there are 3 steps: Know yourself, know your options, make a good decision.
  2. If you’re in school or choosing an educational program, choose a major or program that matches your personality. A recent study in the Journal of Vocational Behavior shows making a choice this way leads to better grades and graduation rates.
  3. Do the ongoing career maintenance to be successful. Do you work out or color your hair on regular basis? Are you taking care of your career development with the same enthusiasm?
Adopt the principles of the Free Agent Worker. You don’t need to fixate on career development every day – but incorporate these principles into your life and success and control over your career will flow.
My blog has many articles with practical steps you can take today to jumpstart your career, from researching career options to doing informational interviews via social networking. Just search the blog or look at the labels (like Career Tips) for what you need. As always, I love getting your feedback!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

See the New Career Opportunity with Your Job Skills

Job skills, job skills, job skills. Your worth in the job market is what you know how to do. That’s the refrain you hear over and over again in career blogs (including this one). But I want you to know that in my household, we are following our own advice – paying attention to updating job skills and networking.

Too Close to the Cubicle
My husband works for a company that has had many recent layoffs – and up until now we thought his job was pretty secure. But earlier this week there was another layoff round, reaching very close to cubicle - literally. And while I recognize these events from my past work in human resources and as an employment lawyer, there is nothing like having it happen close to home.

Worse things can happen
There are worse things than being laid off, like becoming significantly disabled. At least if you are laid off, you retain all your old skills. I just finished Once a Marine, an inspiring Persian Gulf and Iraq war veteran biography about a U.S. Marine, Nick Popaditch, who lost one eye and became legally blind in the other, lost his sense of smell, half his hearing, and some of his balance. He had to retool from old skills he could no longer do, to new ones – and is on the road to becoming a school teacher – a lifelong interest of his. His positive attitude really helped him overcome obstacles that make being laid off seem like a cakewalk. I highly recommend his book.

See an opportunity, not a setback
So if you are facing a career change, see it as an opportunity to use your motivated skills – and to do something that better fits your personality. Reading these free, professional quality career counseling articles will help: