Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"Which career path is right for me?"/ "My work bores me. How do I make a career change?"

Dec. 24, 2015 "Which career path is right for me?": I cut out this article by Bruce Sandy in the Globe and Mail on Nov. 15, 2013.  I like these job advice articles because I am trying to find a good career path.  I'm sure a lot of people can relate to it like: "I've been working in this industry for 5 yrs and now I want to do something else."  Here it is:

THE QUESTION

I have my bachelor’s degree in business. I was enrolled in a bachelor of education program but dropped out because I was really unhappy. I don’t know whether I made the right decision. I’m trying to choose between education and business, two totally different career directions. How do I know which is right for me?


THE ANSWER

You are not alone in wondering what career path is best for you. People in your generation, Gen Y or millennials, may have as many as five to seven different careers – not just jobs – over a lifetime. You need to clarify your vision for your career.

Consider what your dream job would be if money were no object. Reflect on what you are passionate about and what makes you happy, then make a list. Take an inventory of your interests, strengths, talents and experience. Ask yourself what initially attracted you to business and to education. Review your work history and consider what you like to do, with whom you like to work and in what environments. Look for themes and write these down.

Aptitude and career-interest assessments may help since they can give you a prioritized list of careers that best match your talents, aptitudes and interests.

It sounds as if you are struggling with indecision. You should explore what is behind that indecision and ask yourself what was making you so unhappy. Was it the education program or was it related to other areas of your life? If it was the education program, then what were you unhappy about – the school, the courses, or the instructors? Were there any areas of the program that you enjoyed?

If the education program was not to blame, you need to determine the cause of your unhappiness. Working with a counsellor or therapist can help. They can also help you manage your fears and build your self-confidence and decision-making skills. Also consider working with a career counsellor or coach to narrow down your interests and aptitudes and determine what careers and training programs are the best options.

Business and education do not have to be mutually exclusive career paths. You could become a trainer in the workplace, or a high school or college business teacher, or a school administrator. Talk to people who have both business and education degrees and find out how they have used both degrees. Ask them whether they would do anything different if they had the chance.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or take some detours with your career. That is how you learn.

You may want to take some time off school and get a job to determine what areas of business and education interest you most – finance, marketing, logistics, information systems and technology, human resources, labour relations, or training.

Only you can determine the best career option for you. The process involves knowing yourself, being willing to explore options, managing your fears, and asking for guidance when you get stuck. Career development is a continuing process. Be prepared to commit to life-long learning.



"My work bores me.  How do I make a career change?": I cut out this article by Eileen Dooley in the Globe and Mail on Sept. 19, 2012.


The Question:

I’ve got the September itch. I’ve been in my current job as an office assistant for two years and I am bored. I want to completely change fields, but don’t want to go back to school. What are the best ways for me to search for a new career I want? I have a degree in political science, I want to do more than what I am now, and I want more responsibility. I’m just not sure where to go, or how to sell myself, either. What can I do to find out which direction to take?


The Answer:

This is a common question people ask themselves at this time of the year. And it is a question many revisit over and over again in their careers.

For most people, careers happen by accident. An opportunity comes up and we grab it and start working – and that experience leads to the next job, and the next. There comes a time when we start to question what we are doing, but the thought of changing careers seems so daunting that it is quickly dismissed.

The truth is there is no scientific formula of understanding what career or job you are best suited for. All it takes is a deep, serious understanding about yourself.

What is really bothering you – does it require a major change, or perhaps something smaller? Do you like your work, but the company you work for disinterest you? Or perhaps the company is great, but a different department might be of interest. If changing careers entirely is what you need, then there are other questions to ask yourself.

What are your strengths that you want to focus on?

There tends to be a big difference between what we like and what we are good at. You may be a good administrative assistant, but really don’t like it. What do you bring to that job that you can apply to another kind of role? Make a list of these strengths and clearly understand why they are strengths to you.

Play to your strongest suits

Given your strengths, imagine where you can see yourself applying them. Would it be in a small organization or on a large team? Would you work independently, or with little direction?

What kind of work are you most proud of?

How have you applied these strengths in situations that have made you proud? These are your accomplishments and they are what you take with you when talking about what you like to do. Write down two or three accomplishments that illustrate your strengths.

These strengths and accomplishments, coupled with a solid understanding of your key values, will help you understand yourself better, and give you some idea of what kind of work you want to do, and where you can do it.

Think big and be open to all kinds of possibilities

Next is to get the message out there by talking to people you know who do the kind of work you are thinking about doing. Ask them about their job, how they got it and what credentials they have. Find out the nature of the work, the stresses – everything you need to make a firm decision on what kind of work to go after. Talk to as many people as you can, telling them about your strengths and what you are most proud of in your career thus far.

Finally, trust your instincts. If a kind of role feels right, but is not what you expected it to be, go after it. Remember, you are not making a lifetime commitment to this new career. It is just one phase of many a career you may have.


"Young leaders focus on career leaves kids out of the mix": I cut out this article by Karl Moore and Sienna Zampino in the Globe and Mail on Nov. 15, 2013.  Actually it was on the back of a job advice article called "Which career path is right for me?" by Bruce Sandy.

Stewart Friedman, a Wharton Professor studied two generations of Wharton graduates, the Gen Xers in 1992 and the Millennials in 2012, and has come to a surprising discovery: the number of graduates planning on having children has dropped by almost half in the past 20 years.

In his new book Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family, Mr. Friedman provides us with considerable insight as to why men and women are increasingly choosing not to have children, what he calls The Baby Bust.


Extreme jobs

Why this change in attitude? Surely, they could manage both? According to Mr. Friedman, most business-school graduates of 2012 believe that they have no choice but to work in what he calls “extreme jobs,” where the amount of time dedicated to work has drastically increased in the past 20 years – he estimates an average of 14 more hours per week.
In 1992, a full-time employee worked on average 52 hours per week. In 2012, they expect to be working up to 72 hours per week, leaving little time for little ones. This may seem foolish, but does have a logic to it.

Seeing a hyper competitive job market, graduates are focusing on building their careers considerably earlier today than they did 20 years ago. The number of grads who completed an internship in 2012 is more than double what it was in 1992. They place a greater importance of getting their foot in the door, in the hopes of working their way up to the job they actually want, knowing climbing the ladder in today’s world is no easy feat. So, with such demanding working lives, where there’s more work and less reward, business grads foresee the inescapable reality of them having less time at home with the kids.

Why men are opting out

Mr. Friedman’s study found that most male graduates of 1992 believed they could have a family while succeeding in a demanding career. Today’s men are more apt to doubt this, anticipating the demand for more time at work and less time at home. The morphing of gender-role stereotypes is also leading some women to no longer remain at home and work just as much as men.

But, at the same time, men are expecting to play more active roles in the home. Now it’s not only dad who’s tired after a 72-hour work week, mum is too. With such demanding careers being pursued – by both them and their wives – having to be an involved family men while maintaining a career seems almost impossible, so Millennial men are increasingly opting out of parenthood.

To add to the burden, children are expensive, at least for this part of society. Being a student is also expensive, resulting in huge student debts in the United States.

Why women are opting out

Unlike most Millennial men, who associate having a positive impact on society with being a father, many Millennial women have decoupled the desire to have a positive social impact from the desire for motherhood. In 1999, Mr. Friedman’s research showed that 90 per cent of women said they would like to have kids. In 2012, that number dropped to 41 per cent.

To many business-minded women today, helping others means having a positive social impact through their career. They see the importance of social involvement and success not necessarily through having children, but through the achievement of their career goals. They believe that children need to be spending time with their parents, but worry that this would limit their ability to create greater societal change through their work.

All this being said, the idea of being a parent is still highly valued by Millennials: it is simply their plans to do so that have drastically diminished in comparison to Gen Xers. Their mindset is more about building the career first and having the family later. In 1992, grads had the optimistic view that they could “have it all” – the career, the spouse, the kids. Grads in 2012 are not so optimistic, figuring there is a choice that needs to be made.

It’s hard to argue with their conclusions, yet I was saddened as I read the book. For too many of this generation, it means they are trading what is, for many of us, among life’s greatest pleasures and achievements for something which is simply a lesser thing. I believe that many can achieve career success and be excellent parents.

I hope and believe they will grow out of it. One CEO told my MBA class how he and his wife agreed when they married in the late 1970s never to have children. It was the thing to do in the day, but after attending a few of her business school reunions and seeing girlfriends with children, she changed her mind. Today they are thrilled to have two grown children.
I also hope our business culture grows up a bit, too. When many of our top achieving youth sacrifice family on the altar of career we are doing something wrong. A friend of mine, it appears, is dying, but during this time he is surrounded by his wife, three children and grandchildren. They comprise his fondest memories, far surpassing his many years as a successful manager at Standard Life. Who ever thought on their death bed, “I wish I had spent more time in the office?”



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