Researching prospective careers and employers is very important and it is a process that generally starts off very broad and narrows to a few main selections during the research process. Considering your skills, the skills you intend to gain, the marketplace demands and other needs associated with your career like financial reward, environment, and location are all a part of selecting the right career opportunities to pursue.
The forecast for career change for people in our contemporary times is very different from previous generations. Now it is not uncommon to change careers many times in a lifetime.
Career counselors are trained to help you identify your skills, interests, needs, options and establish realistic goals to help you succeed in your work. Because your career and your larger life are intertwined, getting assistance to cope and deal with stress or particular obstacles and challenges is to your advantage if you could use some extra help.
Focusing on Your Target Career(s)
There are a number of different theories and approaches that aim to help people figure out the specific kind of work to pursue and perform. The match between the employerís needs and the employeeís ability to meet those needs involves an evaluation of skills or qualifications. Motivation, determination, making goals that suit individual capabilities and potentials involves careful planning and several rounds of evaluation throughout the life-span. Two dangers to watch out for include foreclosure and unrealistic goal setting. An example of foreclosure could be that in response to a bad grade on a math test, the student walked away associating that they could never become a scientist because they failed once before. Another example could be that someone close suggests you would not make a good teacher because you are impatient which may or may not be factual or be something you could dramatically improve in with effort, or maturity. The fact is, people change and so do our skill levels throughout life. Another common pitfall is unrealistic goal setting. If a student wants to become a space shuttle astronaut, but they have a C average despite tutoring and trying their hardest, it would be considered unrealistic to focus so narrowly without having supporting experiences that give validity to the possibility of the goal being achievable. For example, someone who wants to be a rock star, but has never played an instrument or sung before could benefit from more realistic planning. Also it is worth noting it is not uncommon for inexperienced people to idealize specific types of jobs without knowing what it is really like. This is one reason it is recommended that people survey the actual work environment thoroughly before making decisions on what fields or specific jobs to pursue. The greater an individual explores employment opportunities, the greater set of skills they develop, and the more they can demonstrate those skills successfully, the more power the individual will exert on determining their future, and the greater range of opportunities they will qualify for in the selection process. It is logical to conclude the more competitive someone is, the more money they can earn and the more choices about the types of work they will perform will become available.
The more research job seekers conduct, the more aware they are of options and the needed preparation for securing specific types of employment. The less effort put into the process of career development, the narrower the choices become. Less education and skills training preparation results in fewer skills, less income, less job security, and in many cases less satisfaction on the job.
Mr. Gardenerís notion of filling a niches using multiple intelligenceís is good advice concerning a public that possess a variety of different levels of skills and interests pertaining to work. The more a person is focused on realizing goals, their dreams, and the closer they can match their natural talents or gifts to the needs of the workplace and the goals they establish, the more productive and efficient they are predicted to be as a human resource. When work is tied directly to fulfilling a purpose that the person has personally identified with and the work activity is congruent with the personís personality, and values, a good fit can be observed. In such a case, the scope of potential conflict of interests is substantially narrowed. As a result the focus and commitment a person can make is clearer and generally speaking more consistent and longer lasting. In short, if you want committed people, find out what they are motivated to do in life and how the job is associated, or not with their sense of purpose, their personality, interests, skills, and passions.
Job and Industry Forecasts
You may be surprised to learn how much data is tracked concerning job outlooks and industry trends. The Department of Labor has compiled information on many industries that can be useful to learn about prospective jobs. You can get regional employment trend breakdowns; required skills or qualifications, earning projections based on geographic location and the growth and decline of jobs within thousands of fields. Needless to say the information is valuable to a variety of people from job seekers, developers, and expanding businesses.
Labor Market Information
Knowing the growing industries and the declining industries in area you live or plan on living in is to your advantage when planning your education, or choosing a field to enter. In some cases you may consider making a transition from one field to another and you will highlight skills that can be transferred from one type of position to another. The Department of Labor and your local State Workforce Development offices track many bits of information regarding the marketplace and it is useful to employers and job seekers alike for a variety of reasons including investment decision making, planning and development, or community need assessments which could impact education, housing, and other services.
Currently, there are literally hundreds of growing industries that need more qualified applicants. In California, visit the Labor Market Information link on Caljobs.ca.gov for more information on those facts and trends.
Job Loss- Facing the Emotional Toll: Facts and Trends
Data from a Journal of Psychosomatic Research (Dahlstrom & Co. 1995) depict the stress of losing a job to be just under half as stressful as the death of a spouse which was illustrated as being the most stressful on the scale. They suggest that the four stages of loss are shock, anger, grief and acceptance and that staying busy and being patient helps to cope with loss.
Stress In General
A lot of the challenges in life present learning opportunities. Support to learn the lessons are vital. Stress in excess can turn from a positive stimulus to a negative adverse health condition. Stress signs include; fatigue, tension, anxiety, depression. Stress can impact diet, sleep, and sexual activity. Long-term effects of unhealthy stress levels include allergies, high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, sleep disturbance and a weakened immune system which could make the person more susceptible to infections. There are many methods to reduce stress. Perhaps one important step is to identify the sources when possible and reduce exposure where it can be controlled. Then you can use hobbies and activities such as exercise, art, music, yoga, breathing, biofeedback, psychoanalysis, faith, eating well, drinking plenty of water, taking breaks and lifestyle changes to reduce, control, and eliminate stress at every opportunity. It is recommended to set a reasonable work schedule and to clock out and spend time with family and friends to rejuvenate. Productivity and health often improves if people are well rested, well nourished, well supported and more relaxed.
Informational interviewing is very useful for people planning their education and for people making career changes. This is your chance to investigate a field to learn more about it and to make sure it is something you wish to pursue. It is also a chance to meet a professional in the field whom may really make a difference in your life. Be sure to prepare your questions and rule out ones that can be easily answered by using other resources. The questions should be relevant and draw on the experiences of the individual granting you the interview. Keep the interview short and send a thank you note with your phone number attached if you invite future contact.
When trying to establish observation opportunities or informational interviews, donít be surprised if the Human Resources personnel donít handle your call well. Often they donít know how to respond to someone asking to conduct informational interviews and such requests is not really a priority for many companies. However, if you really wish to speak to someone, keep trying. Leave messages and wait for a call back. Their may be liability issues involved if you seek a more thorough job shadowing opportunity where you can observe people while they work, but sometimes you can do that without necessarily having to pre-arrange it. If you respectfully announce youíre intending to show up at their door, you might get a call back. No means no, so be prepared to move on if they do not return your second call within ten business days. On the other hand, many people have gotten job offers on elevators and in parking lots. Thus, showing up just might be a good approach depending on the type of employment and cultural norms. Persistence is really important where success is at stake.
Exploratory interviews are information based fact finding exercises. Sometimes exploratory interviews can lead to employment opportunities. The interview is mainly to assess how you behave and it offers you a chance to confirm your interest once you have learned more about the job. Interviews provide a chance to convince the employer you can meet his or her needs.
If you arrive early, use the time to get ready and relax yourself with big nice deep breaths. It may help to concentrate on your accomplishments or things that make you happy. Introduce yourself and shake hands with the employer, or otherwise gesture with a friendly smile.
Some qualities or traits employers value include:
Initiative, ability, dependability, reliability, adaptability, efficiency, good attendance, loyalty, helpfulness, cheerfulness, unselfishness, perseverance, honesty, follow directions, attentive, confident, team-worker and work well independently, ability to represent the organization well, complete tasks, deal well with stress, accuracy, good communication, flexibility, intelligent, accepts responsibilities, leadership skills, adequate energy level, creativity, problem solving, good interpersonal skills, reflective on and in action, able to handle conflicts, achieves goals, appropriate dress, friendly, ability and willingness to learn.
The old adage birds of a feather flock together is also about credibility. Who you chose to associate yourself with and how you associate is a reflection about you. The teaching of treating others how you would like to be treated is important. Ask yourself how you would like to be known. Think about the people that you know that are or were mostly happy, healthy and independent during their life and model them so you can build a constructive life for yourself that is full of success and respect.
One creative exercise I suggest is to write a one page biographical statement highlighting accomplishments you desire to achieve in your life. Having a sense of purpose is important and recognizing that purpose can shift in the lifespan is helpful.
Build and Modify Your Profile
Skills and experiences constantly change. The rate of that change is in our control to some degree, but environment and opportunity also impact human development and personal achievements. Exercising the act of steering your life to realize your intentions requires that you have some tangible destinations envisioned. Otherwise, the chaos of life and the tendency to be led dominates and your potential and ability to be motivated by your own goals could be inhibited or suppressed. Healthy self-esteem and the ability to empathize with others are fundamental building blocks for optimal social development. Conditioning desirable behavior through positive role modeling, texts, and the arts are all effective ways to help maximize human potentials, because they can inform, inspire, and motivate behaviors. One study found as many as one third of the surveyed population experienced some form of mental illness (Sue, Sue, Sue 2000, pg 15.) Thus, the phrase it takes a village (Clinton) is really a key balancing act to help us as individuals achieve our full potentials.
Building Positive Self Esteem
How you feel about yourself is very important. Self-esteem may be low if individuals have repeatedly failed or been convinced they failed. The failure may have resulted from an undertaking that was not practical, or perhaps the person did not fail at all, but was convinced they did. More broadly, if a person is ridiculed, put down, or made fun of in a way that the person internalized shame or associates discomfort in a way that impedes their future responses, self-esteem has been damaged. To help overcome low self-esteem I suggest making lists of accomplishments and examples of situations that make it easy for you to realize how great you are. Everyone has gifts, talents, or traits that make them unique and we all have a record of being successful at different times in many different situations.
By reminding yourself of what you are good at and learning from others what they value about you, self-esteem can be boosted. Completing small steps towards large goals also helps boost self esteem. Decision making processes can also help prevent errors and help modify behaviors that contribute to weakening self esteem. The main thing is to associate who you are with the more positive events and to process out, unblock, or perhaps express pent up emotions from earlier events that may have left emotional scars. Establishing realistic goals that are age or developmentally appropriate and learning to set your pace accordingly helps. The same goes for trying to achieve goals, you need to master certain skills before it would be considered realistic to meet certain challenges.
Having low self-esteem at one point in life does not mean it will be permanent. You canít control the past, but you can change your view of it, and prevent it from adversely impacting your future. I advise anyone that can seek out counseling and mentoring relationships to get help or give some. Suicide is among the leading causes of death for young people in the U.S. and with more focused resources much can be accomplished in terms of prevention.
Unconditional Positive Regard as presented by Humanist Psychologist, Carl Rogers suggests that the optimal development of a person is dependent on a parents loving acceptance or unconditional love of their child, regardless of the childís behavior (Schultz on Rogers, pg. 441). His theory postulates that a personís motivation to work towards attaining life goals or realize their own purpose in life can be adversely impacted if the care of guardians was conditionally offered, versus unconditionally caring and supportive.
Many personality disorders and resulting abnormal behaviors result from problems with self-esteem and the formation of negative self-concepts. Here are some tips on forming healthy self esteem and avoiding contributing to harming others. This review is included to help people that are experiencing difficulties resulting from a recent job loss, but can be helpful generally.
- Make a list of accomplishment-
- Affirmation statements: List qualities you like about yourself
- Ask friends to list qualities or traits they enjoy about you
- Be supportive of friends and family even when they are difficult to deal with
- When setting goals, make them attainable!
- Plan out the steps and design clear markers for making progress on the goals.
- Donít over reach, make sure your skills or plan to obtain the skills matches your plan
- If you have obstacles or unique challenges seek support. You canít change the past, but you can change how you view the past.
- Do not ridicule others, put them down, and call them names.
Belief is formed and influenced by many factors. Self-esteem, how you feel about yourself (self-worth) and your self-concept, how you see yourself, can change a lot in your lifetime for many reasons. Tragedy, disasters, illnesses and life events can have a tremendous impact on self-esteem and self-concepts. Thus, the more support available and the greater the mental flexibility of a person, the greater the odds are for healthy adaptation. If you have goals, discipline, and model others that have accomplished what youíre setting out to do, the odds of attaining your goals are increased. The more practice, support, and preparation, the better the outcomes may be. Developing a vision or aspiring to further develop your skills is important and the balance of enjoying the process is an integral part. While it is true that trail and error experiences, along with influences from peers and family have a major impact of the shaping of motivation, the exposure and awareness of the individual, their decision making skills, and the selection of choices are critical factors impacting outcomes. Not all motivation is conscious. A big part of building positive self-esteem and establishing realistic motivations is to take small steps that prepare oneself for larger tasks. Having a track record of successful smaller steps can help to build confidence or radically boost self-esteem.
A clear purpose can be achieved in many different ways. Not everyone is on the same timeline. There are age or developmentally appropriate motivations and common experiences. What people value varies, but the bases of having skills to practically identify and meet basic needs is essential for the healthy development of society. An unmotivated genius may never discover or apply those talents into constructive outlets. Thus, the responsibility of friends is to reinforce and support one another to encourage or discourage specific actions depending on our collective ability to value what is constructive. Thus, the quality of relationships is a major factor in the quality of life and level of prosperity experienced. Where human motivation is concerned, past experiences, a sense of purpose, personal interests and conscious and preconscious needs all factor into human behavior. Human behavior is also impacted by: awareness and cognitive abilities, interests and attitudes or beliefs (associations), self concept, biological health, and social pressures or influences.
ďHuman behaviors depend on multiple variables that make up and act upon a person's personality. Gestaltists Psychologist Kohler (1947,) explains some of the variables of consciousness that render individuals unique and somewhat unpredictable. Predictions can be based on understandings of variables including individual physical and mental adaptive functions such as cognition (learning, memory, and attitudes), motivations such as striving to reduce social or biological conscious or unconscious tensions such as achievement, acceptance, or avoidance of pain or increased pleasure (Jackson on Psychologists Freud and Maslow, 2004.) Cultural norms and peer trends can help with predictions to some extent because much of human behavior has to do with impulses or instinct, modeling, conditioning, associations (Bandura*) and cognitive processes and the availability of information that impacts how responses are produced in an individual. *Credit to Schultz (1996.) See reference and index for more on original sources.
Jackson, R. The Brink a work in progress 2004- current
To make a decision, write down all the possible options and then select the one with the least adverse effects and most benefits to yourself and others. Common mistake made in decision making involves not having quality information to make informed decisions, the tendency to seek immediate gratification, and or lacking an ability to predict outcomes. Make sure you do the necessary research and find out what your trusted friends would do if they were in your shoes. Avoid making important decisions on an empty stomach or in a hurry if you can.
Goal Setting and Making Plans
The priority of goals is driven by motivations (Schultz on Maslow, 1996.) Sometimes motivations are conscious and at times they may be pre-conscious. The priority of a goal is really established by a force field made up of biological, sociological and psychological variables that impact behavior. On the conscious level a goal is set by the perception of a need or desire. Pleasure is an innate need like survival; both are related to need fulfillment. Other basic motivators include food, water, care, affiliation and status. Fulfillment is self-designed due to associations (individual experience i.e. conditioning) and varies in part according to the reinforcers developed and the beliefs of individuals. Goals vary according to physical and social conditions and the perception of needs. At times goals can be realistic or impractical. Having broad support to reach healthy goals is highly recommended. The process of setting realistic goals and using realistic or practical strategies to reach the goals selected is helpful in building healthy self esteem. A track record of success, versus failure, is very important in the maintenance and development of healthy self esteem.
A goal is a measurable, intended, or desired aim. Goals are the representations of tangible, intentional aims with clear or measurable results. Time, available resources and life events can shift goals dramatically. Goals can be short-term or longer-term and can concern any aspect of life. Using friends, mentors, or advisors as support can help make sure the goals are organized to your benefit. Goal setting is a skill that involves decision making. I generally recommend that when contemplating goals you list the available options and that you list the proís and conís of the options. Identifying areas where goals can be set is a product of assessments. Most goals have sub-levels that can be listed as bench marks to observe progress is being made towards achieving the goal.
A plan= method to reach aims which consist of points of progress. The plan can be viewed as the process. Plans help reach goals by breaking the process into priorities and manageable sections that help make progress on attaining goals. Because there are multiple ways of doing things considering the proís and conís of plans is also advised. The responsibility to carry out the plan is yours alone so make sure youíre comfortable with the plan, and feel free to revisit and redesign as needed to reach your goals.
Exercise: Find three or more role models. Find out who, what, where, when and how they did things to reach their goals.
Make three plans for your future (five or 10 years out.) Imagine you are in a contest and you will be rewarded for completing the plans. The first plan includes your most optimal goal. The second plan is more realistic in contrast with your existing and easily attainable skills. The last plan should reflect what you will need to maintain your well being and independence on a bare minimum level. Each plan should cover the four areas suggested below.
Make a circle and then draw an x in it dividing the pie into four equal parts.
Label them Work, Body, Hobbies, and Relationships. To optimize wellness, one needs to maintain and take care of these basic aspects of life.
Thought for Food
You donít have to like it for it to be good for you and just because you like it does not mean it is good for you. You are who you are not who you think you are. Apathy is not consent, itís the demand for empowerment! R. Jackson
Success means you are making productive contributions in society, work activities, and in your own personal life. Success is sustainable and growth oriented. Having the ability to adapt and remain stable during challenging circumstances is necessary to be successful. Other qualities of success include;
∑ Positive Determination-Motivation-Direction
∑ Being resourceful
∑ Smart risk-taking
∑ Good decision-making skills
∑ Good Planning
∑ Using time efficiently
∑ Fair use of power or resources obtained
∑ Being empowered-independent yet dependent
∑ Based on sustainable or least violent behavior to obtain objectives.
In many workplaces the majority of successes on the job depend on having necessary interpersonal adaptive skills and technical skills.
When awareness and respectful acts of good behavior are demonstrated in business practices, morale is better, employee retention is higher and business is generally better. Like in good parenting, a good management practices involves listening to the workforce, consideration for the demands of customers and a team that does not punish, or abuse authority. If you want employees to perform well, get them involved, acknowledge accomplishments and reward them fairly. Safe and supportive workplaces help optimize production and innovation overall.
You are what you eat. To a large extent, what you consume, or donít consume, determines how you feel. Food determines your power or energy and even impacts how you act. Since the body is made up of mostly water,