Making a Career Decision
Note: In this discussion, I will discuss the following questions: How do you plan to prepare for your personal success?; How will you use shadowing and networking?; Why is flexibility important to preparing for success?; How can resolving conflicts lead to your success?; How are shadowing and networking important to your future success? I will also discuss three of the nine steps (in Chapter 10) to making a career decision.
I am the Sculptor!
I want to be successful. Here’s my plan. I will be prepared for things to happen differently than I expect them to. Being prepared for future success is a strategy. It is an art… and I am the sculptor!
Dream Big, Repeat;
I don’t think any two people share the same plan for success. There are so many variables. We live in an increasingly changing world. Our environments and goals often need to take shape to adapt. Success is always personal. Am I living my dream? I believe a HUGE step in choosing a career is choosing the right career. What’s relevant today? Getting this information can be complicated.
To be prepared for a career, I must have the critical thinking skills we discussed earlier. I must also ADAPT my learning style to the environment I am operating. I couldn’t know how to use every tool available, so I need to know how to learn. This means I analyze the consistencies around me and apply it’s lessons to what I already know. I know what the tool’s purpose is; I know it’s limitations; I know half of what I need to know to use the tool. This is like problem solving. Everything we learn is eventually applicable somewhere else.
My friend used to say this: “bytes are heavy”. He was referring to the megabytes it takes to store precious data on a computer. If you want to keep your pictures forever, you have to keep moving them to new volumes. Eventually, your hard drive will stop working or your DVDs will degrade. Do you have a backup? Moving information is relevant to staying informed about new trends. Career preparation requires the same key questions?
* Will your skills still apply 20 years from now?
* Will they be relevant?
* Is there still demand for your skills?
* Are your skills outdated?
All new information is added to old knowledge and makes old knowledge more useful. You may find that you can learn as you go when researching a topic by going with what you already know. It’s important to stop and review and make sure you are on the right track. This is why doing research online requires you to look for consistencies. In Science, you should always validate your answer. Always keep in mind that every step you take is a chance to build for the future. Gather useful information and use it.
Read, read, read! This is the best way to gather new knowledge. It’s also the best way to research a career. Did you know that our brains do not have limitations to how much information they can store? We only remember what we need to know, because it is significant to us. Do you have a daily reading list? A blogroll? How do you get new information? I find that RSS feeds and social networking sites are effective for tracking trends. I get links via Instant Messenger from friends even.
Networking and Mentors
Internships and/or colleagues often have developed useful tactics for handling different situations. You also build immediate career skills. There is no replacement for work experience. Instead of trying to show off, I apply listening skills to harvest new knowledge from experienced people. Being involved in a network or internship also lets us see which needs are in demand. This allows us to further research these needs in preparation to step-up the career path.
As you read earlier, networking is important because it is a valuable resource. I posted a blog about researching a career, and Tammy offered me some useful information. It is quite possible someone will tell another person about your talents and you may be offered a nice job. You just never know. Planning a career is not easy. It takes HARD WORK, and it doesn’t always pay off immediately. You also need to plan for that.
Another thing I’ve learned is that conflict is inevitable. Managing conflict is a core ability in the learning cycle. This is because it draws on objectivity and listening skills. Much of how we handle situations will transcend our careers. It is difficult to escape. I will need to actively subdue conflict by use of these strategies. I do this by learning from the situation and applying it’s lesson to knowledge I already know. This gives me an objective perspective and I will have learned from criticism.
As I stated in earlier, “Our environments and goals often need to take shape to adapt.” I will need to be flexible. I may have to conform to difficult scheduling demands. I cannot predict the future. If I count on things to work out the way I have planned them, then I will find disappointment. Flexibility means being ready for what’s to come. And why not? The future is now!
(Sherfield, Robert M.. Cornerstone: Discovering Your Potential, Learning Actively, and Living Well, 5th Edition. Prentice Hall/MBS, 032007.).