When Is It Appropriate To Plan One’s Education and Careers?

The most effective way for young people to start planning their education and careers is to find their niches early on, embrace them and learn how to be recognized and valued in today’s job market.

How does one identify their niches?

By experimentation. You do not need to jump into any endeavor with both feet and no parachute.  I always recommend that individuals have a trial experience before making a commitment to a field or course of study.  If you want to major in Psychology, volunteer in that type of setting to see if it is a fit for you.  Or if you think you want to teach volunteer at a local school as a mentor or tutor. There are many ways you can try out different situations and settings.  Be creative.  Read all you can about a field.  Subscribe to several magazines and related periodicals.  Talk to at least three people working in the field to get an unbiased view.

Planning.  Gentle planning is best to reduce anxiety.  The word plan means a scheme, program, or method worked out beforehand for the accomplishment of an objective: a plan of attack.  A proposed or tentative project or course of action…It is not set in stone but something to begin and see how long it sustains one’s interest.

For those that are unclear or lack the confidence to express their interests there are simple and more complex ways to draw this information out.  During the course of a day, your interests direct your behavior.  What web sites do you visit, who do you follow on twitter what sections of the newspaper do you read first?  If you think about your interests in this way, it helps you define where your primary enthusiasms lie.

In addition, many standardized, highly valuable and reliable testing assessments (e.g., the Strong Interest Profile) enable you to measure these various components with greater sophistication.

We need take this belief even further since “Average is Over”, states Thomas Friedman.  In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle.  But today, average is officially over.  Being average just won’t earn you what it used to.  Therefore everyone needs to find their  unique value contribution that makes them stand out in whatever their fields of employment.

As a career counselor for over 20 years I encourage my clients to recognize and appreciate their edge or as Mr. Friedman states their unique value contribution that makes them stand out in whatever is their field of employment.

Parents and professionals, teachers need to especially support young people today (high school and college students) to find their niche early on, embrace it and learn how to be recognized and valued in today’s job market.

So you see it all can fall into place the earlier it starts.

Let’s encourage young people to begin to identify their talents by getting focused earlier on a couple of pursuits.  Some might turn out to be vocational others a hobby.

It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that they will be able to live more satisfied and enriched lives and enter their professional lives with a greater sense of focus and direction, skill and talent…

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Lynn Berger, Career Coach, M.A., Ed.M.
(212) 289-5197
125 East 84th Street Suite 1B
New York, NY 10028