Career Key

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

Friday, January 18, 2013

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Career: Questioning the Status Quo, Persistence

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (courtesy:Wikipedia)

While reflecting on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this week, two characteristics of his career stuck out to me: questioning the status quo and persistence. They create innovation, change, and growth – yet we often find it hard to adopt them in our own career paths.  How can we do more in these areas?

Questioning the Status Quo
First of all, what is the status quo for your work? Are you satisfied with your job? Are you just going through the motions, feel trapped, or are you positive about your life and work? Maybe you need a change – to become more of a free agent when it comes to your career.

If you are considering a job or career change, what career options do you think are open to you?  Are your assumptions correct? Sex stereotyping in occupations is still a big problem for both men and women. You may also be limiting your potential because of how you see yourself, or how your family and friends see you.

For example, if you think you don’t have the time or money to return to school, sit back and test your assumptions. It may be that you don’t have enough information to know that for sure.  You can at least do a little research.  You can start by asking:
  • What careers interest you?
  • Would you see an improvement in job satisfaction? Salary? Working conditions?
  • What are their education requirements?
  • Are there schools nearby (or online) that offer that degree or training? (if needed)
  • What sort of day/night/online options are offered? How much do they cost? What financial aid or scholarships are available?

Our articles give you advice on how to answer these questions: Learn About Yourself, Learn about Occupations, Learn About the Jobs that Interest Me, and Decision Making with a free Decision Balance Sheet.

And if you decide not to make a change now, you have created a Career Portfolio to return to and revisit your decision when circumstances change. Chances are you will have learned some valuable things about yourself and work.

Dr. King spent over 10 years in his active ministry and advocacy for civil rights.  The obstacles, death threats, and family needs would seem insurmountable, and yet – he had a dream - that at least in large part, became a reality.

It takes persistence to research careers and make decisions about future school/training and career change.  And if we know anything about the future of work, it will be the continual need for updating job skills and adapting to new jobs. At a minimum, you’ll need persistence in any job search, in keeping a positive attitude, and in lifelong networking.  If you need inspiration for persistence in spite of obstacles, it’s hard to think of a better example than Dr. King.

We celebrate Martin Luther King’s Birthday by thanking him for the changes he brought to the world, without losing sight that there is so much more to be done – worldwide.

No comments: