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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

Friday, April 15, 2016

"The idea now isn't to get a job you'll keep for life"/ "How to get out of a career rut"

Jan. 7, 2016 "The idea now isn't to get a job you'll keep for life": I cut out this article by Wency Leung in the Globe and Mail on Sept. 26, 2010.  The last part of it I'm going to put in my inspirational quotes:  

Casey Johnson, 27, the son of author Marni Jackson, has held countless jobs since graduating from university. He currently works as a bicycle mechanic and no longer lives with his parents. He offers his thoughts on what it’s like for his generation to enter adulthood:

For you, what does being a grown-up actually mean?

I’m not sure if I know yet. I’d say it has something to do with being responsible, not just for yourself, but more and more for other people.

How grown-up do you feel right now?

Fairly. I don’t have a lot of the things that a lot of the stereotypical grown-ups have in life, like families and careers. But I do feel more grown-up than I was when the book was taking place.

How do you think growing up today has changed since your parents were your age?
As far as our family is concerned, I think there’s definitely some changes, but I don’t think it’s changed that much. I think it’s probably just every generation feels that the next generation is radically different from them. Culturally, it’s definitely different. My mom grew up at a time, in the “living in the American dream” kind of world, in the fifties and early sixties. It’s hard to live the American dream completely seriously now. People absolutely do, but ... at least in the world I live in, it’s a bit less common to think that three kids, two cars and a garage are everything.

Do you feel your generation is actually delaying adulthood?
I think in a certain kind of demographic, yeah. I generally notice [it in] people in middle-class, Canadian families. When my mom was growing up, the expectation was that you’d get married and have kids and get a job that you’d keep. And now, among the people I know, the idea isn’t that you’ll be married with kids and have a job that you’ll keep for the rest of your life. But all that stuff doesn’t really mean anything if you happen to come from a different culture, if you come from a culture where there’s a whole different set of expectations, whether they’re religious or heritage-wise.

Your mom talks about worrying about you. How do your parents’ concerns affect you?

I’d say generally, when you’re younger, your parents’ concern annoys you primarily. If it’s really serious and well-founded, then it does make me second-guess whatever it is I’m doing. I’m aware of the fact that they’re older and they have more experience and they probably have some good advice.

But then, sometimes the things parents worry about aren’t actually the things they worry about. Sometimes parents have their own worries – they’re worried about themselves, or they worry, “Is my son going to be successful?”

Sometimes those worries don’t make anything actually work better.

There’s two kinds of worries and they usually get mixed up – one is a very sensible, “maybe you shouldn’t do that” kind of thing, and the other is just kind of a generic worry.

Do you still ask yourself the question: What am I going to do when I grow up?

Yeah. Occasionally, it strikes me that I’m 27 and I’m still not really doing anything with my life, technically speaking. But I found that more and more, if you do really what you want to do, then things work out well. More to the point, things don’t work well when you force yourself to do what doesn’t fit right. I’ve just found as long as I’m doing things that I’m engaged in and that are satisfying, and I’m financially stable, then that works out the best for me.

"How to get out of a career rut": I cut out this article by Tyler Waye in the Globe and Mail on Oct. 24, 2014.  It's a really good article with good tips:

Over half of current employees would like to choose a different career. Sobering thought.

For those under the age of 30, that number is closer to 80 per cent. A recent study conducted by the University of Phoenix in Arizona confirms the story line that has been playing out for years. People leave school, start work however and wherever they can, quickly realize they are not on the right career path, and then have trouble making a change.

If only we knew that early career decisions, often made while workers are still getting their feet wet, end up playing out over the long term to devastating effect. If only we knew that young workers quickly find themselves feeling career trapped.

Oh wait, we do know that.

The career trap challenge is not that it simply occurs; the challenge is that it still occurs long after warning bells have been rung.

The hard truth is that early career decisions need to be made before people have any business making them. Even worse, those early career decisions are hard to reverse once they are set.

Finding the right career path is often an incredibly difficult and painful challenge. Exactly the reason why the majority of workers still feel trapped in their career.

These five steps, the principles of Career Design, will help you Houdini your way out of feeling stuck in your career.

1. Identify a point to aim for

Careers will follow the path of least resistance unless you target a different way forward.

What is the lifestyle you are seeing ahead? (Picket fence? Urbanite? Traveller? Worthy work?)

What environment are you willing to work in day in, day out? (Cubicles and suits? Overalls and open skies?)

These are two fundamental questions that must be answered to determine your unique career aiming point.

Keep in mind, lots of jobs have the potential to excite you, but not if they fail to answer these key questions. Identify your aiming point and keep the vision clear.

2. Solidify your bottom line

Now that you have your career aiming point, put it aside for the time being. The next step is to solidify your bottom line.

Every job has a bottom line purpose. Identify this purpose and become productive at it, regardless of how it may pain you.

Without getting productive at the essential skill sets for your job, taking the next steps become difficult.

Think of the bottom line of your job as the trunk of a tree; it’s hard to go anywhere but down without a strong trunk.

3. Identify a career tangent

After getting good at what you have to do, identify the aspect of work that really excites you. (Facilitating meetings? Corporate social responsibility? Metrics and analytics?)

It may actually be a small part of what you are involved with, but it doesn’t matter. This will become your career tangent, the way out of being career stuck.

This tangent should align with your aiming point. (If it doesn’t, keep looking. Or, ask yourself those two questions again to see if the answers have changed.)

This is important because tangents become the place your aiming point and actual career path converge.

If we continue with the tree analogy, career tangents are the branches that split off the trunk. These branches are impossible to get to without a strong trunk, but they have the potential to drastically shift your trajectory.

4. Give your tangent a starting place

Career tangents need a push. Without initiative they are only a distant hope, and eventually a source of reflective disappointment.

The task is to craft a compelling story where career tangent activities can clearly be shown to improve the bottom line of your job and positively impact the organization. All three criteria must align: your interest, your job’s bottom line, and your organization’s aspirations.

This takes work, but remember, you have time on your hands. You will be doing whatever you do for fortyish hours a week, for fortyish years.

5. Compound your actions

Here is the fun part, where you fully emerge from the career trap.

The ultimate goal for growing a career is to create an interesting work history that has increasing value to you and others. The way to accomplish this is by doing a small act that tells a story. This story then allows you to do a bigger act, followed by an even bigger act. It’s called compounding actions and you’ll be surprised where it takes you.

Remember, the strategy is escape, not avoidance. Your life’s work is ultimately at stake. Career fulfilment is steps away.

Tyler Waye (@TylerWaye) is a work force strategist, president of IN.FORM and author of the book,“I Went to School that Long for This?!”

Here are the comments:

CareersCare 442 days ago
I like this author's advice and "voice". I find him to be refreshing in the career strategy industry as not only does he give great advice but he is straight forward in his delivery. I'll look forward to seeing more articles by Tyler Waye in the future!
CareersCare 442 days ago
I like this author's advice and "voice". I find him to be refreshing in the career strategy industry as not only does he give great advice but he is straight forward in his delivery. I'll look forward to seeing more articles by Tyler Waye in the future!
I like this author's advice and "voice". I find him to be refreshing in the career strategy industry as not only does he give great advice but he is straight forward in his delivery. I'll look forward to seeing more articles by Tyler Waye in the future!

I like what this article has to say; there are some very useful tips in here. But for clarity's sake it might be nice to have a more concrete example using an actual career path.

Interesting ideas. The point on careers following the path of least resistance strikes a chord! I'll be integrating some of these ideas into discussions with new employees (and my kids!).

interesting points and writing style. It is true that many of us just followed a new path when opportunity knocked without planning for the career tangent or realizing what was happening!


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