Friday, November 28, 2014

Will You Love Your Job?

One of the things that I am thankful for is my job.  And I don’t just mean that I am thankful to be employed and earning a paycheck (although that definitely is part of it.)  I mean that I am thankful to have a job that I love.  You see, that was not always the case.

When I graduated from college with a psychology degree I had no idea what I wanted to do for a job, let alone for a career.  I had never given my career goals serious thought, so there I was, a college graduate with no clear career focus.

Thus began a string of jobs that I landed because I knew someone who knew someone who was looking to fill a position.  I was never really happy in any of those jobs.  So, after a year or two I would move on to the next one and find myself in the same situation; knowing that I was not in the right place but having no clue where the right place was.

I finally decided to find out. So, I called my college alma mater’s career center and made an appointment to speak to a career counselor.  I hoped that she could help me figure out how I could use my psychology degree, desire to work with people, and business experience to find the perfect career for me. Well, she did more that that. As we spoke I realized that the job I wanted was hers!  I ended up asking her questions about what she did and what skills and experiences I would need to do what she did.  That led me to pursue and obtain a master’s degree in Career Development and the rest, as they say, is history.

Looking back, I can point to a few key things that helped me to get to where I am today, and I would like to share them with you:

  • Always question.  If you don’t like a job, ask yourself WHY you don’t like it.  Keep a journal.  As you move along your work life, you will see patterns. For me, I realized that I needed autonomy and the fulfillment of helping people in my job for me to be happy.
  • Keep in touch with the people you meet.  Let them know if you are looking for a new opportunity.  Looking back, I realize that I did not get one full-time job (and I have had many) through applying to a job advertisement.  It was always through word-of-mouth because when I was in need of a job, I used my networks to help. 
  • Ask for help.  I owe my career to the session that I had with a career counselor.  Ask people that you know about their jobs.  Utilize the Hofstra ASK (Alumni Student Konnection) to find alumni to talk to about their career path.  Make an appointment with a Hofstra career counselor!
  • Get related experience. When I was pursuing my master’s degree, I realized that I had no work experience related to career counseling.  My alma mater’s career center to the rescue again!  I contacted them and asked if I could shadow and they happily allowed me.  I helped them with projects and observed counseling sessions. This gave me first-hand knowledge and experience and also allowed me to meet the other counselors there.
  • Join professional association in your field of interest.  You can join most of these groups as a student.  My supervisor during my shadowing program encouraged me to join a local career counseling group. That membership led me to my first full-time job in the field. 

I hope that you find my experiences helpful.  I would be happy to meet with you to discuss how you can take these tips and use them in your own career search!

Darlene Johnson,
Director of External Relations

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