November 10, 2008

New Feature: Charting Your Career Course Through Education

Starting today, Mondays at the JobMonkey blog will be dedicated to charting your career course through education.  For some of you, that may mean figuring how to find the right degree program that will allow you to change your career — and your life. 

For others, it will mean deciding as a teenager or young adult where you want to go to school and what you want to study.

Now, I will warn you, I have a pretty strong liberal arts bias coming into this whole thing.  I went to one of those colleges that told you: “Major in art history. And then become an astronomer.”  The idea, which I thoroughly bought in to, is that your major is about you — your interests, your passions. The coursework for your major teaches you a lot about a specific discipline, but it teaches you even more about how to learn.  How to critique a problem.  How to write a cogent essay about resolving that problem.  These are skills that serve you well, the liberal arts logic goes, no matter what career path you end up choosing for yourself.  And they make you a lot more interesting at cocktail parties.

That ideology is sharply contrasted by the more applied schools of educational thought.  Study accounting, become an accountant.  Go to vet tech school, become a vet tech. Your path is clear, your education is focused and your time is not wasted. 

There is merit to both of these approaches.  But the truth is that whatever you spent the first few years after high school doing — whether you were bumming through frat parties at a liberal arts college or working double shifts to pay for your AA or none of the above (military, a full-time job, or family obligations might have been your priority) — where you find yourself at 30, 40 or 50 usually has very little to do with what you were doing at 20.

That’s why I hope that this Monday feature on the blog will be so useful, and to such a wide and varied audience.  It doesn’t matter what you majored in (or whether you did not go to college at all).  It doesn’t matter what you are doing to earn a living today (unless you are so in love with you job, in which case, you probably aren’t spending much time reading this blog anyway!).

No, what matters is what you want to be doing tomorrow, in a year from now or in five years from now.

And what kind of educational choices you can make to realize those ambitions.

So, I have a list of careers and educational choices that I want to talk about. But before I launch into those, I’d like to hear from you. What do you want to be “when you grow up”? Share your career plan (or your long-shot dream) in the comments section so I can put this feature to work for you.  Think of it as your own little career counseling corner. With the emphasis on where and what to study to make those career dreams come true.

I look forward to hearing from you!

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