Labor Day 2021 has come and gone, and if you’re one of those Americans who celebrated your day off work and did not celebrate your work itself, perhaps you need to rethink your job. If you could use three words to describe it — without a listening audience — what would those three words be?
What work would you rather be doing if you could choose? Perhaps you’re drawing a blank, not knowledgeable enough about your skills and interests to even have a response. Maybe you have a vague idea but no real sense of the qualifications necessary for a particular job.
Are you willing to spend some quality time in assessing yourself and the job market/outlook? In a recent advice column, a writer suggested accessing a career counselor and indicated that there would be expense involved. Why not just do it yourself?
As telecommunication companies have been downsizing their workforce, some of whom they hired a few decades ago straight out of high school, I and others have traveled to those sites to coach the employees soon to be given incentives to retire, to find other work. I teach said employees about change, something that is difficult for most, and I use tools so that they can assess what is available to them after their lucrative positions in the telecom industry have ended.
Additionally, with my college students in communication classes, I require them to assess career issues now before they make mistakes that circumstances might make it difficult or impossible to do over.
Howard Gardner of Harvard University has written about intrapersonal intelligence which refers to a sense of self, an understanding of self, motives, desires, the type of intelligence which enables persons to examine self with a degree of objectivity. Are you strong in this area or does this business about intrapersonal intelligence confuse you?
Or maybe you’re a person who believes that if the pay is good, that is all that’s important, that you’d do anything to get a great paycheck. If you are in this category, read no further.
If you’re still with me and believe that the large number of hours you devote each week to work for 40 or so years needs a closer look, keep on reading. And get ready to spend time at your computer or at a computer/printer at your local library.
The task: to define your values, interests, skills, personality traits and match them with some occupations, after which, you will explore those occupations to determine the nature of the work, working conditions, requirements, and the job outlook. Begin with TypeFocus at the flowing site: https://v6.typefocus.com/beforelogin/home/n/ZWM30A where you will login and set a password. With the work at this location, you are going to determine your personality, based on Myers Briggs Type Indicator, and match your personality to careers that fit your strengths. I always recommend printing results and putting them in a folder for reflection and ready access and study/review. Next, you will go to https://www.bls.gov/ooh/ which is the main site of Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. The U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for maintaining and updating this site, and you will find more information than you can possibly use. After taking a deep breath now that you’ve found this treasure trove, go to the careers which TypeFocus has indicated are a match for you. Again, I recommend that you print the information and place it in a folder.
Are you now saying that you don’t meet the requirements, or that you do meet the requirements, but need to know where there are jobs in your area? If you don’t meet the requirements, google the community colleges and universities in your area to determine if the course of study you need is offered. Online colleges and universities are also a possibility for some curricula.
If you meet the criteria, the next step is to locate an open position. Go to the internet and google the companies in the cities or large towns that are closest to you or in locations where you would like to move. Google the type of companies that hire in your career field. Go to the companies’ web sites and click on Human Resources or Job Openings.
Follow the directions for vacant positions closely and apply. Many companies are now accepting only online applications. Be thoughtful, careful with your applications.
If a company asks for references, be certain to only list persons (no relatives) who will supply a favorable recommendation and know about your work personality and skill set. Also, ask those persons if you can use them as references.
Does my advice help? Do I need to supply more information? Do you have questions that I can answer?
And, good luck.
Vivian B. Blevins. Ph.D., teaches telecommunication employees from around the country and students at Edison State Community College and works with veterans. You may reach her at 937-778-3815 or vbblevins[email protected]