Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Career Forever and Forver... 'til Death Do Us Part

Yes, that does sound terminal, even horrific.  But never fear it’s not all that bad. As you know, forever and forever for death do you part,  doesn’t always work for the many couples that say those words in front of many witnesses in a church, so it reasons that they may not be true for many when it comes to career choice.
      Of course it would be nice if we chose our career and became that doctor, lawyer or engineer and lived happily ever after doing doctorly, lawyerly and engineer type things all our life.  But life isn’t that straightforward.  Yet, that myth of choosing one career and doing it until you retire or die which ever comes first still looms large.  
      Life isn’t static.   The world and its vast array of situations are constantly changing, including your own situation and it’s best to realize that early on.  
      Marriage, children, divorce, death of a loved one, sickness, natural disasters, bank collapse, company lay offs, all these horrible things happen on a fairly regular basis and believe it or not, they can affect our careers.  We would like to pretend they don’t.  We would like to pretend we will pick the perfect career and we will be exempt from all of the above.  But that rarely happens. 
      Today many people find themselves on their second, third, or even fourth career path.  A lot of women experience this after raising a family and coming back into the job market.  But that will be the subject of another day.
      So for now let’s use this constantly changing world to your advantage.  
      A career does not need to be a once and for all, set in stone decision. 
      Remember the example in my last post of the job of teacher.  It was easy to see how that career path could easily morph into several different paths, coach, principal, guidance counselor, government official and still remain a viable.   So you want to use that to your advantage early on.  Even as early as picking that college major.
      I hate to bring this up, but not all four year college degrees guarantee you a job worthy of all the time, money and energy you spend at your esteemed institution.  Yikes.
      Does that mean don’t go to college?  Of course not.   For most of you reading this  it means that you will need more than that four year degree.   And if you are one of those doctor, lawyer or MBA types you already know that.  
      But for all of you, why narrow the your career field the moment you enter college?  You don’t need to.  Stay flexible and maybe you won’t end up doing six years, or eight to get the four year degree you want or need to succeed out there.  
      For you further education types, get the perquisites necessary for your chosen pursuit and then branch out and explore some other options with your course selections.  
      I have stated that there exists in many colleges a degree that allows you flexibility and exploration while still getting that four year degree in four years.  And they don’t advertise it much because colleges make more money the longer you stay - changing your major, changing your mind, revising, deciding.  Don’t give your money away. 

      Many colleges offer  - Interdisciplinary studies, or some even let you make your own degree.   And these may work even for you doctor and lawyer types.  
       It used to be called a well rounded education.  Make your education plans with more flexibility so you’ll more options, now and in the future.  Don’t be pigeoned holed into a major because you think you have to.  You don’t.  Look at what’s required on that medical school, or law school application.  You may be surprised that you could get the prerequisites and still have some interesting off shoots just in case, your first plan  doesn’t pan out.  And you never know you may strike upon something else you truly enjoy when that Organic Chemistry grade comes in too low.
So try to stay flexible as long as you can.  It may save you tons of time, money and energy.

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