By: Anthony Moreira, Job Development & Recruitment Coordinator
Discovering your Direction
Your career will take up 100,000 hours of your life! It’s imperative that you spend this time doing something you enjoy. As you Discover your Direction, it’s important that you take the time to assess yourself and develop a clear professional goal. In this month’s career focused book How to Get Any Job with Any Major, the author, Donald Asher, discusses your career interests, their real world application, and obtaining the positions you desire. Asher states:
“I believe the generation leaving college now is going to need to find 20-30 jobs before retirement”… A company’s covenant now with its employees goes…”if our needs mutually converge, great!, If they don’t…see ya!”(pg. 4).
“It is not acceptable to fail to learn how to do career development… It is a life skill that is required to succeed in your life” (pg. 6).
As people change, so do interests, passions, and hobbies. I believe that careers are no different.
Discovering your direction is the primary phase in the award winning UB career cycle, and the aim of this phase involves discernment of both the personal, and professional self.
Why is this important? Once successfully completed, this phase creates the space for individuals to accurately identify their professional skill sets, knowledge, as well as abilities. More importantly -through the use of professional assessment, interpretation, and self-reflection, individuals are able to recognize their previous accomplishments, as well as the values that drive them.
In the first section of the book, the author encourages the reader to ask insightful questions about the self, while providing the reader with a survey of self-interests to systematically define career values (pg. 53). While assessments are a component of self-discovery, they can be used to spur the thought process and create avenues to begin career exploration.
Moving forward, one of the best concepts that I enjoyed reading discusses three sources of career planning error: 1.What you’re good at vs what you like to do, 2.Vocation vs. Avocation, and 3.Aspect vs. Whole (pg. 89).
- 1. What you’re good at vs what you like to do
Equating success in a particular job/career to automatically enjoying it can be a thoughtful, yet misguided thought process. This is do to the “covert”, and “intrinsic” nature of what we enjoy doing individually. Many activities, hobbies, etc. that we enjoy on a personal (and even private) level many not readily translate into a career; and it’s important to be aware of the contrast.
- Vocation vs. Avocation
Secondly, career planning errors can be made when thinking that one’s job or career has to satisfy the “whole you” or assume that every aspect of your personality has to be engaged or every skill put into use to make a job “satisfying” (91). Asher discusses the importance of “avocations” in one’s life, and that there is the capacity to have multiple interests outside of work that allows one enjoy life.
- Aspect vs. Whole
Thirdly he suggests that errors are made when what we like to do must be the primary thing you do in the workplace (i.e. assuming that because I am a writer, I must seek only opportunities to do writing) (pg. 93). This is approach is a bit myopic and places limits on careers where we can utilize our best skill sets amongst learning and developing other skills professionally.
In its totality, How to Get Any Job with Any Major– is an extensive book covering much of the UB Career Cycle, beyond Discovering your Direction. However, The exercises and thought provoking messages in this book encourage the reader to not only develop their Professional Goal-but to follow their goals with vigor and strategy.
Note: The Career Book of the Month is sponsored by the Career and Professional Development Center and the Barnes and Nobles Bookstore. Every month a career focused book will be highlighted that corresponds with a phase on the UB Career Cycle. Books can be viewed in the Career and Professional Development Center (Student Center, 306) or purchased at the Barnes and Nobles Bookstore (62 West Oliver Street).