Thursday, September 27, 2007

Are You Happy With Your Career Choice?

Last night as I was pulling out of the parking lot at the University of South Florida, my thought about my class – Wow, that was one of the better ones! – was accompanied with a wide smile on my face. Then as my smile widened, I thought, And just think – I get paid to do this! I am blessed: what I have done for the past forty years and still do to earn a living – teaching, counseling and writing – includes three things I truly enjoy doing.

Four years ago, I published an excellent book that is very helpful in career/decision-making with a good friend and colleague, Dr. Michael Richard: I’m a People Person: A Guide to Human Service Professions. Among other things, the book is serves as a perfect text for a sophomore-, junior- or senior-level college course that introduces students to a variety of undergraduate majors, potential graduate options, and the many opportunities that are available to them in the human service professions. The book also offers helpful and supportive information to them in the career decision- making process.

Interestingly, in Chapter 1 when Mike and I are talking about career choice we say the following:

From an a priori perspective, the basis for this book accepts the proposition that career development is a process of development culminating in a person gravitating toward and choosing an occupation related to their personality (Brown & Brooks, 1987; Holland, 1985; Super, 1980). It is assumed that satisfaction with career choice is related to the extent to which an individual is able to implement and utilize abilities, interests, personality traits, and values (Brown & Crace, 1995; Super, 1980).

Furthermore, people search for and are able to identify environments that will let them fulfill their attitudes and values, and to take on compatible roles (Holland, 1985). If people are provided with accessible, accurate, and relevant career information, it will enhance the process of developing a wide range of alternatives. This, in turn, will facilitate the development of better career plans, focus preparation, and increase satisfactory employment (Isaacson & Brown, 1997; Mitchell & Krumboltz, 1987; Schein, 1982). (pp 6-7)

When it comes to choosing a career (or a different career), it would be very helpful to remember Dawn Rosenberg McKay’s Ten Myths about Choosing a Career (and remember, these are MYTHS):

#1 Choosing a career is simple.

#2 A career counselor can tell me what occupation to pick.

#3 I can't make a living from my hobby.

#4 I should choose a career from a “Best Careers” list.

#5 Making a lot of money will make me happy.

#6 Once I choose a career I'll be stuck in it forever.

#7 If I change careers my skills will go to waste.

#8 If my best friend (or sister, uncle, or neighbor) is happy in a particular field, I will be too.

#9 All I have to do is pick an occupation... Things will fall into place after that.

#10 There's very little I can do to learn about an occupation without actually working in it.

And if you are considering a career (or a career change), you also may want to check out the following helpful four sites:

1. Six Reasons To Make a Career Change
Find out if a career change should be in your plans for the future.

2. Transferable Skills: Bringing Your Skills to a New Career
Transferable skills are the skills you’ve gathered through various jobs, volunteer work, hobbies, sports, or other life experiences that can be used in your next job or new career.

3. What Do College Career Services Offices Do?
Find out what services your college’s career services office should be providing. Most colleges have career services offices for their students and alumni. Here’s what your career services office should be doing for you.

4. Who Wants to Know How to Plan Your Career?

As witnessed in my pop-psych book, Mom and Dad’s Pearls of Wisdom… You Gotta Love ’Em, my mother and father gave numerous pearls of wisdom that have greatly assisted me along my life journey. And when I write the next edition of it, I will include two vignettes and their respective pearls of wisdom I still can hear my Dad saying:

“Remember son, you work to live… not the other way around.”


“If you enjoy what you do to earn a living, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Question: Are you happy with your career choice?



Anonymous said...

Hi Dad -- I am sitting having my morning coffee reading your blob and finally have something to blog about. After 15 years searhcing for the wonderful "working hobby," I found my dream career path. The perfect merger of sports, marketing and entertainment. I say it's a career path because I know it's something I won't be doing forever, but the best stepping stone to get my to what I want to do for myself, own my own schedule and get paid for it. While there are days I think -- I don't have the patience for this anymore -- I go straight to my "gameplan" and look at th epath and ladder I need to climb for my true dreams ahead (consulting, traveling and lecturing). For now, my career is wonderful and continues to afford me the opportunity to do what I love. Life balance is still a work in progress but it will always be for me. Thanks for your blog entry.....made me smile. Love, Barb

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Barb,
I first read your Comment an hour ago… I am still tingling. As I have said to you many times over the years as you were captaining your college volleyball team, completing your graduate degree, moving up from one elite professional position to another, literally traveling the world, doing consulting work, and giving invited lectures at professional conferences, etc. – “I’m so proud of, and happy for, you!” And knowing that all you have been doing and are still doing is in keeping with your dream… I couldn’t be more proud or happy. As I have said in numerous writings, your Grandma said to me many years ago when I was at a career crossroads, “Follow your dream.” (And that was long before it was a cliché.)
Please know that I also am delighted to hear that your “life balance is still a work in progress” – again, as I also have said on numerous occasions, “It’s the climb, not the summit. Happiness is not a station you arrive at – it’s a manner of traveling.”
With all best wishes to you as you successfully and happily continue your journey…

Anonymous said...

Dr. Bill
I am very I wasn't for about 10 years. I thought I wanted to teach high school Home Ec. Turns out I loved teaching Home Ec, but I didn't love teaching high school. That may not make sense, but kids aren't the same species as I had when I did my student teaching...or maybe I just wasn't the same person. I did it for eight years and finally my 2nd husband understood enough to support my change. Then I got licensed to sell insurance with the hopes of my own agency. Which I failed miserably at (it wasn't just me, but the lack of support from the company I signed with and the horrible prejudice against women the D.M. had, I realize that now.) And lost a good bit of money trying to get it off the ground. Then we moved and I found a job as an administrative assistant in a library. And I love it. Like every thing it isn't always a pefect day in the workplace, but 90% of the time it is great. Not only do I get to do what I found I love, which is keeping someone organized, and doing bookkeeping and everyday clerical work, but I get first dibs on books. Another love...all the books I virtually anytime. SO...long story short, it may not be what I got my degrees in but I am happy where I am in my career, and who knows I may go on someday to run the library!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Andie,
If I remember correctly, the correlation between what college graduates majored in and what they were doing (occupationally) ten years later is about a .60. Interesting! And let’s remember… the only constant in life is change. You’re enjoying what you’re doing now and that’s the important thing – good for you!
When I double-majored in English and Education, I was planning to be a high school English teacher for only one reason: so I could coach basketball. When the couching job fell through (for political reasons), I moved on. And for the past 40 years I also have been writing – the English degree wound up helping me anyway. “Go with the flow” – there’s a lot of merit to that cliché. (Did your background in Home Ec help you learn how to prepare some delicious meals?)
Thanks for the visit and sharing!

Cole Reising said...

LOL - At first when I read this question I thought, well that leaves me out, meaning it takes on a new type of meaning when you're a stay at home parent. But in retrospect... does it really? My job is a choice no different than those who work outside of the home... Yes we could get into all the 'differences' but at its base level... its a career choice.

Hmmm, guess I do like it over all. :-)


Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Cole,
Thanks for the visit and sharing your experience. It’s always been my belief that we’re best at those things we want to do. I know many working-outside-the-house parents who are excellent parents (and possibly if they stayed home would not be as good of a parent). I believe it all boils down to what you want to be doing (and where you want to be).
Being a stay-at-home mom is work. But as my Dad said, “If you enjoy what you’re doing… you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Your next challenge will be when the children leave the nest…
Thanks again… and above all, enjoy the ride – it won’t last for ever.
P.S. I’ve been trying to stay up with your blog (-ing), and when I think I have something to contribute I will. (And I love your new Website!)