Career wisdom in the COVID age

In this challenging time of anxiety and discontent I have been reflecting on what I’d suggest to career counseling clients from my almost 40-year counseling experience that goes beyond the same repetition of resume writing, telling stories of your accomplishments, using LinkedIn – all the superficial techniques that ignore the reality of living a soulful life of purpose. So, in this time of lockdown let me propose some looking inward; as Socrates stated, “Know thyself.”

Several years ago a client of mine, Aaron, expressed his desire to “study bio-chemistry, find the  biological origins of disease, make a difference.” When I last saw a brief note about Aaron in an alumni bulletin he was a second-year medical student on the way to turning his vision into reality.

Beyond paying the rent and being a member of the working population, what motivates you? Is it an altruistic vision of social justice or sharing your love of pastry in your chic bakery? Perhaps you have visions of yourself on stage sharing a musical or artistic vision? Look inward, read about people in your fields of interest – the world is diverse and at some point hopefully not too far down we need YOU.

What about your skills? The United States Department of Labor uses an excellent shorthand of all jobs as primarily skills based on data, people, things or ideas. Do you prefer to organize an intimate gathering for 400 of your closest friends or would you be more comfortable sitting in attic writing the great American novel? What do you do when you have choice, write song lyrics and chords, bake chicken oregano with lemon, rebuild a 1966 Corvair?

At some time soon you will need to look outward and develop an action plan for your career vision involving education and training. You will decide how much or whether you are more drawn to hands-on vocational training or long-term college/graduate school. At that point looking into occupational literature and educational guides will turn your vision into reality.

As Shakespeare noted many years back, “All the world's a stage.” We await the curtain rising as you enter the stage.

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Volume 12, Issue 14, Posted 10:05 AM, 07.21.2020