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Your Step by Step Guide to Choosing the Perfect Career
High School Student and Grad Edition
Beth and Jim Hood
Test Drive Your Future, High School Student and Grad Edition: Your Step by Step Guide to Choosing the Perfect Career Copyright © 2010 by Beth and Jim Hood A Little Bit More Fun, Inc. Post Office Box 1004 Kamuela, HI 96743 808-430-3406 Toll-free Fax: 866-535-5167 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.alittlebitmorefun.com Notice of Rights All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system—with the exception of a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be published in a newspaper, magazine, or online—without written permission from the publisher. Notice of Liability This book includes information from many sources and gathered from many personal experiences. It is published for general reference and is not intended to be a substitute for independent verification by readers when necessary and appropriate. The book is sold with the understanding that neither the authors nor the publisher is engaged in rendering any legal, psychological, or career advice. The publisher and authors disclaim any personal liability, directly or indirectly, for advice or information presented within. Although the authors and publisher have prepared this manuscript with utmost diligent care and have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained within, they assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or inconsistencies. Trademarks and Credits Test Drive Your Future is a pending trademark of A Little Bit More Fun, Inc. Graphics and Front Cover Photograph: Istockphoto.com Logo and Cover Design: RIMGRAPHICS (http://rimgraphics.elance.com) Interior Design: Beth Hood Editor: Katie Callender Author Photograph: Tim Rice ISBN-13: 978-0-9799262-1-1 ISBN-10: 0-9799262-1-1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 ATTN: QUANTITY DISCOUNTS ARE AVAILABLE TO YOUR COMPANY, EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION, OR ORGANIZATION for reselling, educational purposes, subscription incentives, gifts, or fundraising campaigns. For more information about quantity discounts, please contact A Little Bit More Fun at email@example.com. Printed in the United States of America
To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
—Anatole France, poet and journalist
Why We Wish We Had This Book in High School
Why You Should Test Drive Your Future It’s Your Time and Your Money (or Your Parents’ Money) Would You Buy a Car Without Test Driving It? Proof that You Can Find the Perfect Career How This Book Can Help You
Section One: Before Stepping on the Lot Mile Marker 1: The Big Picture
1.1 Check the Rear-View Mirror 1.2 Pinpoint Your Location 1.3 Identify Your Must-Sees
12 14 15
Mile Marker 2: Your Core Components
2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Check Your Gauges Assess Your Skills Uncover Your Interests Pinpoint Your Passions Discover Your Driving Force Test Your Personality
20 24 28 29 31 33
Mile Marker 3: Your Style and Preferences
3.1 Identify Your Top Workplace Preferences 3.2 Explore Your Geographic Preferences 3.3 Check Your Lifestyle and Salary Preferences
36 39 41
Mile Marker 4: Expanding Your Options
4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Consider Your Hobbies as Career Paths Ask Around Scan the Local Yellow Pages Explore the Wide World of Majors Check Out Your Career Options Think Outside the Classifieds
46 47 49 50 51 52
Mile Marker 5: Your Career Lot
Section Two: The Test Drive Mile Marker 6: The Walk Around
6.1 Get the Basics 6.2 Understand the Requirements 6.3 Check Your Must-Sees, Values, and Driving Force
60 62 64
Mile Marker 7: The Interest Inspection
7.1 Find a Professional Association 7.2 Start Reading 7.3 Explore the Job Market
66 67 68
Mile Marker 8: Expert Advice
8.1 Meet with a Career Counselor 8.2 Interview Professionals
Mile Marker 9: Behind the Wheel
9.1 Job Shadow Someone at Work 9.2 Volunteer or Intern 9.3 Take a Class
74 75 77
Mile Marker 10: Passing the Test Drive
10.1 Score the Test Drive 10.2 Choose a Vehicle 10.3 Consider an Extreme Test Drive
80 81 84
Section Three: Driving Away in Your New Vehicle Mile Marker 11: Navigation Support
11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Declare Your Destination Your Future Mile Markers Financing the Journey Assemble Your Navigation Team
90 91 95 97
Mile Marker 12: Regular Maintenance
12.1 Get Regular Tune-ups 12.2 Keep Your Gas Tank Full 12.3 Keep Dreaming
100 101 102
Hittin’ the Road
A Few Last Words Notes
Test Drive Checklist
Why We Wish We Had This Book in High School
I chose my college major my junior year of high school as a result of a conversation I had with my boyfriend one night at the end of a date. We were sitting in his car in my parents’ driveway when he told me that he planned on majoring in psychology when he went to college. He went on to explain that “psychology is the practice of giving prescription medication to people who need emotional support.” Well, that’s actually part of the practice of psychiatry, but I didn’t know that at the time. I decided right then that psychology would suit me just fine too, and I didn’t really give it too much thought after that. Psychology did in fact prove to be a decent fit for me. It’s not like I had spontaneously decided to be a racecar driver or something! I guessed correctly that a psychologist had to be good with people, service-oriented, and a good listener—and I had all of those qualities already. But it turned out that it was not the perfect fit for me. First of all, I didn’t have any idea what a psychology major actually studied before I started school. Nor did I understand that different colleges emphasized different aspects of the field— some schools focused more on conducting research, while others placed more emphasis on actually working with patients. The college I attended, the University of Vermont, is a large, research-based school, which meant that throughout my four years in the psychology department I did not have a single interaction with a person in need of psychological counseling, but instead spent my time running statistical studies on rats and unenthused college students. No one at my college talked to me about what I wanted to do with psychology when I graduated, nor did I understand at the time that it was my responsibility to figure it out. (Jim, my husband and co-author, also happened to choose psychology, yet the only psychologist he thought he knew of was a character on a popular T.V. show. It turns out that Jim was just as confused as my boyfriend: Dr. Frasier Crane from Cheers was actually a psychiatrist, not a psychologist.) The second time I chose a career (at age 26), I “test drove” it. I explored my interests, my passions, my values, my personality, and my workplace preferences to narrow down my career options. My findings surprised even me! My detailed questioning, probing, and searching uncovered truths about me that were there all along, but were now revealed in a way that made so much sense! I discovered two career paths that seemed perfect for me: naturopathic medicine and oriental medicine (acupuncture), and that’s when the test drive really began. I read books related to both careers and spent hours online, learning as much as I could about the specifics of each career. I learned about all the variations of acupuncture and naturopathy, and researched the top schools to understand if their focus was more academic or clinical. I scoured the local phonebook for clinics and conducted several informational interviews with professionals in each career. I apprenticed with an acupuncturist for a few months, and also landed a paid administrative position at a naturopathic clinic where the doctor even let me observe her work with patients. After months of research, interactions with professionals, and first-hand experience, I felt that I had “test driven” my options sufficiently to make an informed decision, and from there I confidently
pursued a career in acupuncture. It has been several years since I completed my acupuncture degree, and I continue to enjoy my practice, yet I’ve also recently discovered a love for writing, which taps into both my psychology training and my life experience—the results of which you are now reading. The difference between how I chose a career in high school and in my twenties is like night and day. The first time I was on autopilot, going through the motions of choosing a major, attending school, and hoping I would figure it out later. The second time, I was clear about my end career goal, which made the process of getting through another three years of college exciting, inspiring, and motivating. Plus, the second time around I was spending my money, not my parents’, and this made it seem even more important that I take my career decision seriously (sorry, Mom and Dad)! So that brings me to why Jim and I wrote this book. We think it is possible for you, students, to choose a career path that is a really good fit for you the first time around. The aim of this book is to help you explore your options and test drive your choices in order to make the best decisions about your future. We hope that this will not only save you time and money, but will help make your college and career journey much more satisfying, so that rather than someday waking up in your mid-20’s (or 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s) asking, “What am I doing with my life?” you might say, “I love what I’m doing with my life!” Aloha, Beth Hood
Test Drive Your Future
Why You Should Test Drive Your Future
Life is a journey, not a destination.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher and poet
We’re sure that you have seen this quote many times in your life, and if you haven’t, just wait until you start reading the cards you’ll get for your graduation! But what does it mean exactly? It means that life isn’t so much about getting to wherever it is you’re going, but more about enjoying the ride along the way. Throughout this book we will be referring to the journey of life, but we won’t be talking much about the destination or what you see along the way so much as how to choose the “vehicles” you’ll be driving during your trip through life—what we call your “career vehicles.” You have probably ridden in or driven many different kinds of real vehicles so far—tricycles, bicycles, skateboards, motorbikes, ATVs, golf carts, maybe even your first car, but as far as our metaphorical vehicles are concerned, you’ve probably only been driving what we call the “student vehicle” since your first day of school. Not only that, but you have been driving on a closed course, meaning that you have been following a path where pretty much every aspect of your journey has been laid out for you by someone else. All of that is about to change. Once the high school portion of your journey is complete you have a chance to not only choose which direction you want to go next, but also to choose your next “vehicle.” Regardless of whether college is in your plans or not, you need to take the time now to seriously think about your first “career vehicle.” If you do choose to go on to college, yes, technically you will still be a student, however, it is important to get used to the idea of trading in that “student vehicle,” because the choices you make related to college—your major, degree, internships, even the school itself—are all connected to, and sometimes critical to, your success in your future career.
It’s Your Time and Your Money (or Your Parents’ Money)
When you (or more likely at this point, your parents) are buying a real car, you usually put a good deal of time, thought, and research into the decision because it’s such a big investment of your money and the time it takes to earn that money. Not only that, but once you buy it, you’re stuck with it for a while, so you want to make sure it is a good fit! This is even more true of the “vehicle” you choose for your career. How so? Consider how much time you will invest in your future career: • The average person spends over one-third of their waking lives between ages 22 and 62 working. That’s at least 72,000 hours!1
Now, let’s factor in how much time and money you might invest in your future career if you are going to college: • The average college student takes 15 credit hours every semester for four years, which is about 1,800 hours sitting in class. Plus, with at least two hours of additional weekly study time per credit hour, they will spend another 3,600 hours preparing for class. That’s a minimum of 5,400 hours spent getting an education to prepare yourself for your future career!2 • The average asking price for four years at an in-state public college (including tuition, fees, room and board, books, and other expenses) is $60,852. The average asking price for four years at an out-of-state public college is $106,964. The average asking price for four years at a private college is $142,544. And that’s before you factor in paying back loans!3 • The average student who graduates with debt from a public four-year college carries $17,700 in student loans, and will end up paying an extra $6,743 in interest. The average student who graduates from a private four-year college with debt will leave with $23,800 in loans and have to pay $8,525 in interest.4 • The average wage for an American worker with a bachelor’s degree is $25/hour. At this rate it would take 2,434 hours of work to pay for the average public college students’ education, 4,279 hours to pay for the average out-of-state public college students’ education, and 5,702 hours of work to pay for the average private college students’ education (and even more hours when you factor in the taxes taken out of your paycheck)!5
Would You Buy a Car Without Test Driving It?
So, back to the idea of buying a car. What would you do if you were planning to buy a car that costs between $20,000 and $30,000, knowing that you would be making monthly payments on it for the next 5 to 10 years? You wouldn’t buy the first thing you see, right? First, you would give some serious thought to what you are looking for in a car, what your needs are, and of course, your budget. Next, you would explore the different makes and models and narrow them down to a few choices that seem like a good fit for you. Then, before you lay any money on the table or sign on the dotted line, wouldn’t you test drive a few of your choices before agreeing to buy something? Why would the process be any different when choosing a future career? We don’t think it should be, but unfortunately a lot of students were never taught how to choose a “career vehicle,” and end up in college majors or careers that are not a good fit. Here’s proof: • Up to 80% of college-bound students are undecided about their major and more than half of college students change their majors two to three times before they graduate.6 • Due to changes in majors (among other factors), only 36% of students graduate in four years, and 40% of college students have still not earned a degree after their sixth year.7 • Up to 77% of college graduates are not working in the field of their college major within four years of graduation.8 • The above statistics wouldn’t really be such a problem if more people were happy with their jobs, but over half of all working Americans report feeling unsatisfied with their careers.9
Test Drive Your Future
Choosing a career or a college major without researching it first is like buying a car without test driving it. You might end up with something that’s just not the right fit. You would be pretty upset if you went to drive your new vehicle off the lot and realized that your feet couldn’t reach the pedals, or that the car wasn’t fast enough to suit your needs. You would probably be even more upset if you spent years of your life and thousands of dollars preparing for a career that isn’t a good fit. You may have been taught (as we were) that you absolutely must go to college right after high school, and if you don’t know what you want to do in regard to a major or career, that’s ok, because you can just figure it out while you are there. That sounds great in theory, but that’s not how it works for most of us. We have spoken with countless college grads who thought they would “figure it out” while in college, yet upon graduating, still didn’t have a clue as to what they wanted to do with their lives (and some still don’t). They are angry at themselves for not giving enough thought before they started school to what they would actually do after graduation. A lot of these grads would like a second chance, an opportunity to change their majors or careers, but because of living expenses and the student loan debt they have already accumulated, they feel financially stuck—many without jobs or in jobs they don’t like. You don’t have to end up in a situation similar to these grads! Regardless of whether you plan to go to college, straight into the workforce, or take a “gap year” in between, the processes in this book can help you do things differently by test driving your future before choosing a career path.
Proof that You Can Find the Perfect Career
We conducted dozens of interviews with professionals and will share their insights with you throughout this book.10 They are real people, working in a wide variety of careers, who all love their work. We interviewed these professionals to prove that it is possible to find a career that fits you perfectly, and that you can wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work (maybe not every single day, but most days). Here are samples of what some of them had to say:
The best advice I ever received when I was in high school was, “Figure out what you love, then find out how you can get paid for it.” I love working with people and helping them. That is the most rewarding part of being a doctor... Do what you love, then it doesn’t seem like work.
I never felt like I really had a “job.” I just did what I loved. At the time the paycheck didn’t really seem connected to what I did.
—Barbara, retired high school English teacher
It’s not just important, it’s crucial to... [find a job that you love]. Find a job that you love, and even after the worst days, you’ll still want to go back. After working in a computer lab, I realized that if I worked with computers for a living, I would hate what I did. I am very happy I made the choice that I did.
—Matt, 911 public safety telecommunicator
I think the only way to truly give everything you can is to love your career. In nursing especially, if you do not like what you’re doing, the patients are able to tell, and feel that they are not getting the best care possible. I considered other career choices before deciding on nursing, and none of them really got me excited. I knew that I wanted to be working with people face-to-face rather than spending my days sitting behind a desk.
—Cathleen, registered nurse
I have been in the aviation industry for over 20 years in some shape or form, and still, when I get up near an airplane, I get goose bumps. I get to fuel planes (both commercial and private), work with people who are enthusiasts of aviation like myself, have an office which is outside year-round, and have fun doing it.
—Steven, line manager for an aviation fixed base operation company
Americans spend at least one-quarter of their week at their job, so picking something that you love is extremely important. If you pick a career you dislike, you are wasting one-quarter of your life! I definitely considered what I love when I chose my career.
—Brad, dental student
I think it’s important for all people to choose a LIFE they love. For most of us, a job or career we love is a big part of that equation. It definitely is for me. This is the first job I’ve had that I actively, genuinely want to go to, and it makes a huge difference in how I feel about myself and the work that I spend my time doing.
—Kate, young adult librarian
It’s very important to find something that you love. If you find something that you love to do, that brings you satisfaction, it makes the rest of your life so much better. In the past, when I had a job that was unsatisfying it affected my whole attitude about life, not just my attitude at work. In my case, I’m a passionate supporter of affordable housing, so I made a choice to work for a company that specializes in building affordable housing.
—Elizabeth, construction project manager
Our hope for our readers is that someday you will also be able to say, “I love what I do!” about your career, just like the professionals we interviewed. The purpose of this book is to help make that possible.
How This Book Can Help You
Choosing your first career should be like selecting the perfect new car—not only should it be fun during the process, but when it’s all said and done, you get to drive home something you’re really confident and excited about. And just as you may own multiple cars in your lifetime—trading them in when your budget, preferences, or lifestyle needs change—you’ll probably have a number of different careers as well. While it is possible that you could choose a career that will keep you satisfied for the rest of your working life, for now all you need to do is discover what your first career might be. This book will lead you through ten key “mile markers” on the road to doing just that. Section One of the book helps you explore who you are—your skills, interests, personality, and values—so you know where to begin your career search. Think about it as the research you would do before setting foot on a car dealership lot. Then we will take you career “shopping.” You’ll look at hundreds of different “vehicles” and assemble all the careers that sound interesting to you into your own personal “Career Lot.” Once you have a list assembled, then it’s time for Section Two, “The Test Drive”! This section helps you test drive and select a “vehicle” that’s the perfect fit for you. Section Three gives you several tools and resources you will need to successfully navigate through life with your newly chosen career. Now, if are you ready to test drive your future, let’s get started!
Test Drive Your Future
Before Stepping on the Lot
A few months before we got married, we received an envelope from a local car dealership containing a key and an invitation to come in and see if it was “THE WINNING KEY” that would start the new seven-passenger sport utility vehicle they were giving away as part of a contest. We didn’t really need a new car (as we each had a car that was running well and completely paid for) but we were so excited about the prospect of winning it, selling it, and using the money to pay for our upcoming honeymoon in Europe, that we drove an hour to the dealership to try our luck. We didn’t win the contest, but while we were there we decided to look around the used car lot and were somehow convinced (by a particularly sly salesman) that we should buy a silver Honda Civic which had recently lost a good portion of its back bumper in an accident. Not only did we buy a car that had just recently been in an accident, but we did so without both of us test driving it first. Why? Get this: because it was a stick shift and Jim could barely drive a stick shift! As if buying a recently wrecked car that Jim couldn’t even drive wasn’t bad enough, when we got home we started doing some research online. Better late than never, right? Well, we discovered that we had paid more than the sticker price of a brand new car, the same make and model, for a one year-old, recently wrecked, base-model car that already had 48,000 miles on it. (How in the world does one even put 48,000 miles on a car in one year? You’d have to circle the globe at the equator twice to pull that off!) What we paid for that car was a lot of money for us at the time given that we were both UNEMPLOYED, having both just completed a ten month “volunteer” term working with Americorps, during which we earned a stipend that was equivalent to about $3 per hour! To this day we don’t know how we even qualified for the loan. So there we were, 23 and 24 years old, unemployed, carrying a combined total of about $45,000 in student loan debt, trying to save for a wedding and a honeymoon, and now saddled with a monthly payment on an over-priced, slightly damaged, used car that one of us couldn’t even drive! Needless to say, it was not our golden moment of decision-making. But we learned an important lesson: know who you are and what you need, do your research, and DO NOT go to the car dealership lot before you know what you are looking for! The same holds true in searching for and deciding on a career path. Spending time getting a firm grasp on who you are and what you want, before you start your career search, can make the whole process a lot more enjoyable. Chances are you will be much happier with the results, and won’t be driving away in a lemon like we did!
Your Personal Career Lot
The Career Lot is where you will assemble all your favorite possible career vehicles onto one big list. When you find a career you might consider for the future as you go through the activities in Section One, write it down on your Career Lot on pages 54–55. When you get to Section Two of the book you’ll get to test drive the careers you like the most to see which is the best fit for you. While it might be tempting to skip ahead to the test drive, without the information you provide during the first five mile markers the test drive won’t work properly, so please complete all of the mile markers in order. Take a quick look at pages 54–55 right now to familiarize yourself with the Career Lot, then come back to page 11 to get started on the first mile marker: “The Big Picture.”
Test Drive Your Future
Mile Marker 1:
The Big Picture
he first mile marker on the journey to choosing your future career vehicle is to take a quick look at the “big picture” of your life: the past, where you’ve come from; the present, where you are right now; and the future, what you really want out of life after high school. All three pieces of the big picture will lay the foundation for your upcoming decisions.
Mile Marker 1: The Big Picture
Check the Rear–View Mirror
One faces the future with one’s past.
—Pearl S. Buck, writer
Sometimes, taking a quick look at where you have been helps you better understand who you are, where you are, and how you got there. Just like checking the rear-view mirror to see what’s behind you can help you make better decisions about what you should do next while driving, looking back to see how the events of your past have shaped you will help you make better decisions about your future. Here’s a quick story from Jim about how a past experience influenced his future career path:
When I was growing up my dad worked the night shift at a factory. He would pass my mom on the road every afternoon on his way to work when she was coming home from work, so they hardly spent any time together. This meant that I really only got to see him on weekends and vacations, so there were a lot of father/son things that we didn’t get to do together. I think this experience is a big part of why I have chosen a career that allows me to work from home, set my own hours, and have the freedom to see my family as much as I want.
Mile Marker Exercise 1.1: Write Your Story
1. Every story should answer four basic questions: “Who?” “What?” “Where?” and “When?” To map out your life story, answer these questions about your past: Who: Who were some of the biggest influences in your life? Include family members, friends, teachers, coaches, neighbors, celebrities, or anyone else who has impacted you in some way. What did they do or say, in a positive or negative way, to leave such an impression on you?
What: What did you like to do when you were younger? Did you have any hobbies? Did you play sports, read, or play music? What were some of the things you liked (toys, games, sports equipment, musical instruments, books, TV, music, or movies)? How have these helped shape you as a person?
Where: Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? Did you stay in one place or move around? Did you like where you lived? How did your surroundings affect who you are and what you like to do?
When: What events in your life helped shape your personality? What made these particular times so special? Events could include things like: vacations, summer camps, special classes, memorable times with friends, rites of passage, births, deaths, weddings, divorces, etc.
Test Drive Your Future
I’m sure there are rules against that in public schools now. job. —Michelle. 2nd grade teacher According to my dad. My favorite thing as a teacher was going on field trips and doing environmental service projects. Now. whatever that may be. I announced I would be a lawyer when I was eight years old. the idea that I could actually do something to help. . then I will. it made it an easier path to choose than most. I would take my guitar with me wherever I went. It wasn’t until a few years later that I really learned to play and started playing for anyone who would listen. Kids would drop dollars and change into the case and I was learning my craft. I became a science teacher. That’s when I really started noticing what a big problem all the thousands of pounds of trash that had been accumulating along the shore and on the river bottom was becoming. I have always felt most connected when I am exploring in the woods or along a stream. I observed a teacher in junior high for a project I was doing on careers. I knew that I wasn’t the only one who was aware of this problem. In the end. or lifestyle that you didn’t like? 3. I guess because we see teachers at work every day. I worked a 150-mile stretch of the river. —Jason Parchert. Everyone’s background helps shape what they end up doing.2. I used to sit in the hallway before school and play with my guitar case open. —Jennifer. When you were younger. jot them down on your Career Lot on page 54. and everywhere I have ever lived. the choice was probably based on some perception that lawyers and judges were very wise and could fix things. just a couple more questions to relate your past to your future career vehicle: a. I guess it is natural that I eventually found my way into a job in conservation. but I just wanted to sing any chance I got. I spent a lot of time out there fishing and playing. We spent between six and eight hours a day in the summer months on the bottom of the river crawling around collecting shells. camping out on islands with my brother at night. usually covered in mud with wet shoes. singer/songwriter (Beach–Cowboy. Was there anyone whom you definitely did not want to emulate? What was it about that person’s personality. attorney —Chad Pregracke. Then. founder and president of Living Lands and Waters. S f St or ie ro m the r oa —Melora. I was the one who organized all the neighborhood kids to do a trash clean up. When I was 15 years old I got into commercial shell diving with my brother. I played for our youth group. Who has inspired you to want to follow in their footsteps? What careers/jobs do they have? c. I grew up on the Mississippi River. So. I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was eleven years old. which helped a lot with my decision. I think I stuck with it because the idea of being an advocate and counselor just fit. and I thought if no one else is doing something about it. I chose this career because I wanted to help children learn. and worked with kids in the classroom for 16 years. I have volunteered with environmental groups. Then one day it hit me. If there are any careers or jobs you mentioned in the answers above that you might consider for your own future. what did you want to be when you grew up? b. an environmental non-profit I have always enjoyed music. conservation biologist I wanted to be a teacher since grade school. In my case.com) Mile Marker 1: The Big Picture 13 d I was the kind of kid who spent all my free time in the natural world.
sports. beach. 3.. for the past is spent and done with. See the examples below for some ideas: I am a senior and I’m a member of the National Honor Society. you’ll write out the answer to this question: “Where are you?” No. A GPS (global positioning system) works in the same way..2 MILE Pinpoint Your Location Every man’s life lies within the present. if you were to ramble on for 30 minutes to your friend trying to explain your current location. but you made a wrong turn somewhere along the way. I love taking pictures. I am a junior in high school. So you call up your friend and say. and I like to play ultimate frisbee in my spare time. The GPS unit in your car is constantly monitoring your current location and giving you directions to your destination based on where you are.2: Where You Are… in 50 Words or Less 1. I’m on the Student Council. “I’m completely lost. Mile Marker Exercise 1. I’m a starting halfback on the varsity soccer team. so the same goes here: you have 50 words or less to explain “where you are” in your life. I spend most of my free time on my computer. If it can’t figure out where you are. and I’m in the drama club. I have a part time job at the local pizza place. but rather where you are in your life related to your studies. using Photoshop to edit them. 14 As of right now what career(s) are you considering? Park these on your Career Lot on page 54.1. hobbies. how do I get to your house?” The first thing she would likely ask is “Where are you now?” Using your current location. Test Drive Your Future . —Marcus Aurelius. Roman emperor Imagine that your best friend has moved across town and you’re on your way to her new place for the first time. we’re not talking about your physical location (school. so the more you know about where you are right now. In this exercise. and friends. 2. family. she could give you directions to her house. I like hanging out with my friends. the easier it will be to choose which direction you should go next. And just like in the made-up story above. skate park). and then sharing them with my friends. it can’t tell you where to go next! Where you are right now is the starting point from which you take the next steps on your journey through life. home. Write a statement below to describe where you are in 50 words or less: I am. and the future is uncertain. extracurricular activities. she’d likely get a little confused.
1. author and humorist As you imagine buying your first car. Catch the trade winds in your sails. places you MUST SEE. or other item you’d like to have A relationship status you’d like to achieve (like being married or being a parent) If you have never taken the time to write up a list of your must-sees. “I did that!” “I saw that!” or “I had that!” what would you want those items to be? They could be just about anything. So throw off the bowlines. including: • • • • • • • A degree in a particular subject A school you want to attend The level of financial success or accomplishment you’d like to achieve A place you want to live or visit A skill you want to learn A type of home. Discover. you might begin to picture all the exciting places you want to drive that car. and gallop on horseback Drive a dog sled Travel to 15 countries. including: Great Britain Japan Korea China Thailand Germany Egypt Mile Marker 1: The Big Picture 15 . Sail away from the safe harbor. car. Explore. now is the perfect time to do so. jump. Now take that idea a step further. Dream.” what are some of your “must-sees”—things you’d like to see. You might be amazed by how much this list might influence which career vehicle you end up choosing! Shelly. If you think of life as “the ultimate journey. or have along the way? If at the end of your life you could point to items on a list and say.3 MILE Identify Your Must-Sees Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. do. Here is part of her list: Draw a complete comic book Build a treehouse Learn to speak and write: Japanese Chinese Korean French German Spanish Learn to play: Violin Guitar Piano Climb the Eiffel Tower Write and publish a book Be featured in a magazine Make a video game Read 2000 books Have a traditional Chinese wedding Live in a foreign country for at least a year Learn to surf Learn to waterski Learn self-defense (karate or jujitsu) Walk on the Great Wall of China Read all of Shakespeare’s works Learn to snowboard Barrel race. —Mark Twain. a high school student. came up with a list of must-sees during one of our workshops.
houses. or have.3: Identify Your Top Ten Must-Sees 1.Mile Marker Exercise 1. cars. anything you’d like to see. etc): Hobbies: Career: Other: 16 Test Drive Your Future . and write them below. Here are some categories to help you get started: Relationships/Family/Friends: Travel/Adventure: Education: Skills: Major accomplishments: Items (electronics. do. Think about any must-sees you have for your life.
beginning where you left off. 9. Shelly still needs to find out if “draw a complete comic book” is more important than the rest of the items on the list. Let’s look at Shelly’s list as an example. Rewrite your top ten must-sees. For example. write it below. If you already know what order you would put them in. or that one. 5. add these to your Career Lot on page 54. Keep running through your list until you have your top ten must-sees in order. If you had to choose between the first item on your list and the second (pretending for a minute you could only have one). If you have a lot more than ten. If the comic book won every time. Continue comparing the one you chose with the next item on the list until you go through your whole list. just be honest with yourself about which ones are most important to you. which would I choose?” b. If it is. then it will become #2. 10. then she would compare “make a video game” with every item on the rest of the list.2. Now you’re going to create your top ten list by putting your must-sees in order of importance. then it would become #1 on her top ten list. 7. let’s say “make a video game” was more important. which would I choose?” This will put your new must–see in the proper order. compare it against each of your top ten. and label the one you chose as most important as #1. 4. If any of your must-sees involve careers you would like to have in the future. When you think of a new must–see for your list in the future. If you need help. If it didn’t win. 6. 2. Make sense? d. 8. 3. 4.” Let’s say she chose “draw a complete comic book. 3.” Next she would compare “draw a complete comic book” with each item on the list until she found something that she would choose over this one. you can use what we call the “either/ or process. She would take “draw a complete comic book” and compare it to “build a treehouse. start down the list again. it’s your choice whether or not you’d like to put the entire list in order. asking yourself. Mile Marker 1: The Big Picture 17 . e. in order.” Here are the steps to the process: a. Don’t worry about the order in which your mom or your best friend might put your must-sees. (She wouldn’t have to compare it to the items earlier in the list because she’s already figured out that it was more important than “draw a comic book” and that “draw a comic book” was more important than the other things. in the spaces below: 1. Once you find your #1.) c. “If I could only have one of the two. which one would you choose? Ask yourself: “If I could have either this one.
info. If you are looking for some inspiration. Kilimanjaro. 18 Test Drive Your Future .Going the Extra Mile: A Great List of Must-Sees A great role model for making a list of must-sees is an explorer named John Goddard.” He has accomplished almost all of the items on his original list and hundreds more. and learning to fly an airplane. take a look at his life list at the website: http://www. kayaking the full length of the Nile River. When he was fifteen he made a list of 127 goals. which he called “My Life List. including: climbing Mt.johngoddard.
Mile Marker 2:
Your Core Components
here are several essential components that every car has regardless of the type—things like an engine, transmission, tires, gauges, etc. Without these components the car might run poorly, or may even be undrivable! So, unless you are one of those mechanically-minded types who enjoys tinkering and fixing things under the hood, you probably wouldn’t want to buy a car that was missing one of its core components. There are also several “core components” that make up you—things like your values, skills, interests, and personality type. Just like with your car, if any of the career vehicles you drive are not in sync with these core components, your life could run poorly. Since your life is much more difficult to tune-up than your car, wouldn’t it be better to make choices that are in line with your core components now, so you can avoid having to do repair work later? In Mile Marker 2 you will investigate your core components. Ready to pop the hood and take a look inside?
Mile Marker 2: Your Core Components
Check Your Gauges
Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
—The 14th Dalai Lama, Buddhist leader
When you are driving and a warning light comes on, it is an indication that something is wrong with your car and you need to take action to fix the problem. The trouble could be something as simple as running low on gas or oil, or it could be a bigger problem, such as an overheated engine. Regardless, it’s not a good idea to ignore these gauges for long, as they serve to warn you of problems that could keep things from running smoothly in the future, or even cause severe damage to your vehicle! Your values are like your own personal gauges. They help remind you of what’s most important to you and warn you of potential conflicts that might keep your life from running smoothly. Your core values represent what means the most to you: things like respect, honesty, family, adventure, or freedom. Life will be less stressful in the long run if you make sure your future career possibilities are in line with your core values. For example, if you choose a career that requires you to work 80 hours a week, but have determined that one of your top values is “family” (or spending time with family), the extra hours will not allow you to live this value fully, and will eventually stress you out! Therefore, it is far better to choose a career path consistent with your top values when you are at the beginning of your career search. Whether you have thought about them much or not, you probably already have a set of values that are important to you. In this next exercise you’ll make a list of these values and then prioritize them from most to least important. This way, when a warning light goes off during your journey, you can refer back to your list to see which values might be out of balance and have a better idea of what to do to correct the situation. Remember Shelly, who wanted to draw a complete comic book as one of her life’s must-sees? Here’s her top ten life values list: ing tip
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Sacrifice Open-mindedness Ambition Family Perceptiveness Expressiveness Curiosity Adventure Logic Art
Act with integrity and treat people with respect. Do not compromise your principles. Your reputation is, in the end, your greatest asset. —Jennifer, attorney
And here are the top ten values for Steve, another student from one of our workshops:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Family Adventure Honesty Compassion Humor Friendship Uniqueness Determination Wisdom Unity
Test Drive Your Future
Mile Marker Exercise 2.1: Prioritize Your Values
1. Go through the list of values below and place a check mark next to the ones that matter to you. Star the values that are the most important. 11
Acceptance Achievement Acknowledgment Adventure Affection Agility Ambition Art Assertiveness Athleticism Attentiveness Awareness Balance Beauty Being the best Belonging Bravery Calmness Challenge Change Charity Children Cheerfulness Clarity Cleanliness Comfort Compassion Competition Confidence Conformity Consciousness Control Coolness Cooperation Creativity Credibility Curiosity Decisiveness Dependability Depth Determination Dignity Diversity Duty Education Effectiveness Empowerment Endurance Fitness
Flexibility Focus Freedom Friendship Frugality Fun Generosity Getting ahead Getting my way Grace Gratitude Growth Happiness Hard work Harmony Health Helpfulness Honesty Hospitality Humility Humor Imagination Independence Ingenuity Inquisitiveness Insightfulness Inspiration Integrity Intelligence Energy Enthusiasm Excellence Excitement Expertise Expressiveness Extravagance Fairness Faith Fame Family Fashion Financial security Intuition Innovation Joy Justice Kindness Knowledge Leadership
Learning Liberty Logic Longevity Love Loyalty Making a difference Marriage Mastery Maturity Mellowness Meticulousness Mindfulness Modesty Money Motivation Mysteriousness Neatness Obedience Open-mindedness Optimism Order Organization Originality Outrageousness Passion Patriotism Peace Perceptiveness Perfection Perkiness Persistence Philanthropy Playfulness Poise Popularity Power Practicality Preparedness Privacy Proactiveness Professionalism Prosperity Punctuality Realism Reason Rebellion Relaxation Reliability
Religiousness Reputation Resilience Resolve Resourcefulness Respect Reverence Sacrifice Safety Security Self-control Self-esteem Self-expression Selflessness Self-reliance Self-respect Sensitivity Serenity Service Sharing Shrewdness Silliness Simplicity Sincerity Skill Solitude Spirituality Spontaneity Spunk Stability Strength Success Support Teamwork Thoughtfulness Travel Trustworthiness Truthfulness Understanding Uniqueness Unity Usefulness Vision Warmth Wealth Wisdom Youthfulness
Mile Marker 2: Your Core Components
In the space below, make a list of the values you starred, writing them in order, starting with the value most important to you (#1).
Different values mean different things to different people. Now that you have your list organized, jot down a brief explanation of what each value means to you and how it relates to you, the people around you, or life in general. For example, if respect was one of your top values, you might write “to respect myself and others,” or respect could mean “to get respect from my family and friends by being successful.” Optimism might mean “to have a positive outlook on life,” or “to help others see the good things happening in the world.” Write the unique meaning of each of your top ten values next to the value you listed above. Can you think of any careers that exemplify your top five values? (For example, being a judge exemplifies the value of “justice” or “fairness.”) Add these to your Career Lot.
Test Drive Your Future
Help from Family and Friends: Compare Your Values
Conduct the values activity with a parent, sibling, or a friend. You can download an additional Values Checklist from the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture.com. Have that person list and prioritize their values in the same way you just did and compare your lists. What are common values you share? What values are most important to them? Which of their values are not on your list, and vice versa—and of theirs, are there any values you would like to add to your list? After having completed this activity with someone else, do you feel like you know and understand this person better than before? This is certainly the case with Beth and her brother:
When my younger brother was in high school, he was given an assignment to put ten values in order according to what was most important to him and write a paper about them. My mom kept my brother’s list in her hope chest and pulled it out many years later to discover the values of “freedom for the country,” “service,” and “patriotism” were higher on the list than other values like “family,” “career,” and “money.” With this knowledge, I can now better understand a lot of the choices he has made throughout life—including his decision to go into the Marines immediately after high school, and then, years later, to volunteer for the National Guard (knowing he would be deployed overseas) even after he had started a career and a family. It’s important for me to respect that his choices are based on his values, not mine or anyone else’s. We cannot live by someone else’s values because our own values are an essential part of who we are.
ie S f r o m
—Jill, senior children’s librarian When I was about 8 years old, I told my father that someday I would like to design an engine that out-performs all other engines in emissions, fuel economy, and power. I was happy that in October 2003 I was able to call my father and say, “It is complete and in production.” —Brent, systems engineer
—Elizabeth, construction project manager
Mile Marker 2: Your Core Components
I wanted a career that would promote community, freedom, and equality (there’s more activism and community building involved in public librarianship than many people know—think anti-censorship, grassroots education, and free information for all).
I’ve seen first-hand how important it is to have a safe, decent place to live. In this current recession and with the housing market crunch, more people than ever are homeless or fighting eviction. I decided a long time ago that creating affordable housing is a mission that I believe in and so I aligned my career with that goal. My mission is to work every day to help solve the housing problem and to build projects that I am proud of.
talents. What do you do better than most (or maybe all) of your friends? c. and training will do over time. It’s easy to overlook the things you are good at because they seem so natural to you. which is why it is important to take a close look at your skills before you really start shopping for your future career vehicle. that several other important factors line up. experience. while others might have a knack for repairing cars. Your natural skills and talents help determine your ability or capacity to fit into certain careers. too. because of your natural aptitude (or ability). Mile Marker Exercise 2. or preparing gourmet meals. remodeling homes. and the exercise below will help you identify and investigate them so you can more easily find the best match in your future career. What is so easy for you to do that you don’t even need to think about it? b. but tasks you think are simple might seem very challenging to others.2 MILE Assess Your Skills A musician must make music. A word of caution: just because you are good at something doesn’t mean that you should absolutely pursue it as a career. Though you may really excel at something. psychologist Some people have a natural ability to work with computers and electronics. —Abraham Maslow. Your natural skills. a poet must write. You will want to be sure (the other mile markers will help you figure this out). However.2. and abilities (those you already have) are part of your core components. an artist must paint. it may not be something you enjoy or get satisfaction from. there will be some skills that you will build on and/ or learn and master more easily. Of course you will gain skills along your journey—that’s what practice.2: Tools You Already Have 1. What are other people always asking you to do for them? 24 Test Drive Your Future . Here are a few questions to get you thinking about your natural skills: a. if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.
Star your strongest skills. Administrative Coordinating Delegating Directing Evaluating Following through Implementing Managing Motivating others Overseeing Planning Setting & attaining goals Setting priorities Supervising Having good spatial sense Being imaginative Improving things Making things Painting Performing Recording Sculpting Designing websites Visualizing abstract ideas Inspecting Investigating Meeting deadlines Organizing Persevering Record keeping Screening Sorting or filing Timing Troubleshooting Communication Hands–On Analysis and Research Analyzing Appraising Categorizing Breaking things into parts Collecting Comparing Compiling Comprehending Documenting Drawing conclusions Evaluating Examining Experimenting Gathering information Making decisions Observing people or things Predicting Seeing Patterns Synthesizing Using computers Articulating Communicating Comprehending Defining Describing Editing & condensing Expressing ideas Being imaginative Persuading Reporting Speaking Summarizing Translating Writing Creative & Visionary Artistic Being creative Being curious Developing new Ideas Experimenting with ideas Being imaginative Being innovative Being intuitive Being inventive Judging effectively Showing foresight Assembling Baking Building Constructing Cooking Designing Disassembling Driving Fixing Gardening Handling Installing Maintaining Preparing Producing Sewing Using tools Working with animals Interpersonal Having aesthetic awareness Appreciating beauty Composing music Decorating Designing Dramatizing Drawing Being expressive Detail & Completion Completing projects Computer programming Following instructions Functioning despite stress Implementing Improving Accepting Amusing Being a team player Showing concern for others Helping others Healing Listening Mediating Negotiating Being sensitive to others Being sympathetic Relating well with people Representing others Responding Serving Mile Marker 2: Your Core Components 25 .2. To help you expand your list of skills and talents. go through the inventory below and check any skills you think you might have.
5. playing instruments) Public speaking Teaching & Counseling Physical Motivational 3. 1. 10. 26 Test Drive Your Future . write the name of the category after the skill you listed. 7. 2. Put your list of skills in order starting with the one at which you are most skilled (#1) down to the one at which you are least skilled. Star the skills you would be interested in using as part of your future career. Encouraging Influencing Motivating people Having athletic ability Competing Being coordinated Having endurance Being quick Being agile Having strength Having good stamina Advising Assisting Coaching Demonstrating Empowering Encouraging Explaining Inspiring Instructing Leading groups Listening Mentoring Rehabilitating (restoring to health) Supporting Training Take your top ten skills from the last two activities and write them in the space below. acting. 4. If the same skill appears in more than one category.Leadership Accepting responsibility Acting quickly in emergencies Adapting to new situations Facilitating Identifying & solving problems Making decisions Motivating others Running effective meetings Self-starting Team building Trying new things Working without supervision Persuading Promoting Raising funds Selling (things and ideas) Settling disputes Presenting Numbers Learning Active listening Analyzing Exploring Memorizing Noticing Questioning & evaluating Reading. 9. 3. writing & computing Synthesizing Accounting & bookkeeping Being accurate Checking Counting & computing Creating & using budgets Estimating & appraising Managing money Investing Measuring Using statistics Appearing before a group Showing enthusiasm Demonstrating Helping others enjoy themselves Making presentations Performing (singing. 6. dancing. 8.
you should be a psychologist. “You’re good at listening. but I didn’t want to turn a wrench all my life. turned. pushed. check out the Skills Profiler at CareerOneStop http://www. St or ie S f r o m the r oa —Brent. and I wanted to be able to combine my practical expertise with my interests. “You’re good at __________. After you complete the questions about your skills. If any of the careers stand out. I decided on mechanical engineering because I was always interested in the way things worked. and hands. I used my knowledge of what my hands had actually touched. but I was successful in my career. Are there any special careers that fit your natural abilities? Ask a friend or family member to look at your list and help you translate your skills into possible careers. and enjoyed every day I went to work. Park these on your Career Lot. and communication. Ask a friend or family member to fill out the same skills and talents inventory for you (you can download another copy from the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. I was raised by a father who was very mechanically inclined. I became a successful automotive engineer working for a large automobile company. recreational vehicles— anything that moved. . This experience allowed me to grow in my career and then move on to the most rewarding job I have ever had. theories. the profiler will lead you to a list of jobs that incorporate your greatest skills. I could fix just about anything with an engine. You might learn something new about yourself through another set of eyes! If you discovered any new skills through this process. because often you don’t recognize your own skills and talents. attorney Mile Marker 2: Your Core Components 27 d My career has always been based on my skills.com). navigating the social mine fields. jot those down on your Career Lot. to the less obvious ones like drama and performance arts. Or think of a time someone has told you. for any items you don’t understand. getting along with difficult people. ask for an explanation. systems engineer Many aspects of my law practice build on skills we learned in high school—from the obvious skills such as writing. not because of intelligence (in fact most of my peers were smarter). Help from Family and Friends: Their Perspective on Your Skills and Talents Sometimes it is easier to get someone else’s perspective of you. and books. research. because of my practical side. I had touched. things others hadn’t. and examined with my own eyes. Going the Extra Mile: Check Out the Skills Profiler To get a better feel for how your skills can match certain types of jobs. Most of my peers used concepts. I left the automotive industry to create a military vehicle that was capable of protecting war fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan from IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and roadside bombs.”). and balancing school work with other activities—are all part of the foundation for a successful career later. By the time I was ten. Even the skills you don’t know you are gaining—for example. nose. there is a lot more math than I thought there would be! —Jennifer. Also. smelled. I wanted to be able to get my hands dirty and keep those skills. After they fill out the inventory.” (For example.acinet. add these to your list above and arrange them in order.org/acinet/skills/default. you should be a __________.aspx. I had a fascination with automobiles. I was a mediocre student in high school. or perhaps you are too shy to admit them. but because I understood how things work. I used working models to prove concepts instead of formulas and theoretical science.4.
and that history was more of a pastime. carpentry/woodworking. According to John Holland’s Theory of Vocational Choice.2. and computers all together. If the career vehicle you end up driving is not a very good fit. Chinese philosopher You are far more likely to be happy in your future career if it matches your values. which could make your day to day work experience rather dull.3: What’s Your Interest Score? 1. My top interests were automobiles/engines. —Confucius. Investigative. write your score here: Realistic: Investigative: Artistic: Social: Enterprising: Conventional: 3. but may be limited to those offered at Rutgers. I knew that baseball was out. systems engineer ivi ng tip Write down the five main things that interest you and look for a theme that ties them all together. people’s interests can be classified into six categories: Realistic. Enterprising. but discovered that an engineering career would tie my interests in automobiles/engines. and carpentry/woodworking.shtml After you have completed the inventory. and your interests.edu/PCCPinterests. it might not hold your interest. and Conventional (RIASEC). Social. take this free career interest inventory online at Rutgers Career Services: http://careerservices. Add any new careers you might consider to your Career Lot. baseball. To find your RIASEC score. maybe even downright boring! Let’s explore this core component and see where your interests lie! Mile Marker Exercise 2. history. computers. After you get your RIASEC Score from this website. click on your top three categories to learn more about college majors and careers that are related to each of your interest areas. 2. Artistic.3 MILE Uncover Your Interests Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. your natural skills.rutgers. dr —Brent. 28 Test Drive Your Future . Please note that the list of college majors and careers is extensive. Holland says there’s a much better chance you’ll be satisfied with your chosen career if you do something that is a match with your RIASEC interest score.
when you acknowledge your passions and make room for them in your life. They represent activities that make you feel incredibly excited about life.2. mountaineer Your passions are an extension of your interests. Figure out what you are passionate about and pursue it whole-heartedly. combining my passion with my work has made my life more complete. However. They are things you love to do so much that you could work for hours without noticing the time— things you would rather do above anything else. you can cut through fear and exhaustion and take the next step. As long as you believe that what you’re doing is meaningful. Mile Marker 2: Your Core Components 29 . If I could do anything with my day. change your life to follow your new passion. your passions are still represented here as part of your core components because regardless of the career you choose. And what a bonus if you do find a way to make your passion work as a career. this is the place to write down your thoughts.4: What Do You Love to Do? 1. —Elizabeth. your sense of fulfillment and satisfaction can soar off the charts... If your passion changes. I would. You may not have found anything you are truly passionate about yet. It certainly can be done! Mile Marker Exercise 2. writing about the things you love to do: dr ivi ng tip Time seems to fly when I.4 MILE Pinpoint Your Passions The real dividing line is passion. —Arlene Blum..... but if you have. but for me. and that’s just fine. construction project manager I feel excited about life when I’m. Complete the following sentences. There’s nothing wrong with having a job to earn money and pursuing your passion outside of work. You don’t have to incorporate your passions into your career—they could be something you do as a hobby in your spare time.
ivi ng tip Follow your heart with all your heart. I love books. It wasn’t what I really wanted so I quit my high paying job. founder and president of Living Lands and Waters. and I wanted to do something about it. conservation biologist 3. I clean up rivers. I was finally honest with myself and (decided) to take a chance and get back to doing what I already loved doing. visual development artist My career was the right fit for me—I love books. I made this choice after life took me in directions that just didn’t feel right. I’m sure there are many people like me who want to work in an environmental career because they have a passion for protecting the natural world that they love. I am super-charged about how I can make our country’s rivers better. But I get a lot of satisfaction when I wake up in the morning. —Melora. I had the simple mission of helping clean up the Mississippi River. St or dr ie S f r o m the r oa —Brett. I didn’t want to see it like that. all the stuff that people have dumped in the rivers or has been brought down by floods. fundraise. I mean removing thousands of barrels. I packed up and moved to LA and went back to school until I was noticed by a studio that wanted me to work at what I loved to do. so I wanted a career that would allow me to use my interest in those media to connect with and help other people. But mostly what it came down to was.2. I realized that a lot of what I read and thought about on my own time was books. and I wanted a career path that would see the value in the things I love. write that career down on your Career Lot. You CAN combine your passion with your work. but to be able to do that I have to run an operation and an organization. even after they tempted me with a huge raise to stay. I got a job in the industry and it was good for a bit. concept art. then write your answer in the space below. Don’t get distracted from that goal. If you could have a job that made you feel that good and involved some of the activities you mentioned in the answers to the questions above. Imagine what life would be like if you woke up every morning knowing you were going to spend your workday doing something you love. an environmental non-profit 30 Test Drive Your Future d I started Living Lands and Waters while I was in college. working with teens. I got a personal loan and went to college on my own dime. actually get out there and physically pull the garbage out. including website development and international development. I always knew I wanted to draw. All those different things are unique in themselves and they are all full time jobs. I also liked knowing that an MLS (Masters in Library Science) can be applied to jobs in many fields. and the details will fall into place. I really love what I do! It takes a tremendous amount of work and it took a long time for it to build momentum. thousands of appliances. each one of them. Does the picture you painted above represent an identifiable career? If so. and movies. There are so many aspects to what I do. young adult librarian —Chad Pregracke. . and motivate thousands of people to keep it all going. —Kate. and helping people. And when I say clean up. music. two other interests of mine. thousands of tires. what would it look like? What would you be doing? Take a few minutes to think about it.
you would ensure each vehicle you consider is powered by a high-quality engine and transmission—a reliable driving force. interests. Here is how Jim discovered his driving force: He identified his top value as “inspiration. it’s what’s propelling you forward on your journey through life.” Here are a few examples of student’s driving forces: • “My driving force is to reach. To get started writing your driving force statement.” and his passion as “living life to the fullest. and relate to people around the world through art and to always pursue and spread happiness.5: What Moves You Forward? 1. Can you think of any careers that could relate to your driving force? Drive those to your Career Lot.” (Steve) 2. Mile Marker 2: Your Core Components 31 . a dream. propelling the car forward. combine them into a statement that clearly defines what you think your life is all about. a vision. writing it down. This statement may incorporate some of your spiritual or religious beliefs if they are important to you. When you are in the market for a new car. interests.” His driving force statement became: “My driving force is to be inspired and to inspire others to live life to the fullest. and then posting it somewhere you will see it every day can help you stay motivated and inspired about life. and the transmission takes that motion and makes the wheels turn. It is your reason for getting out of bed every morning. Your personal “driving force” is what keeps you going. Discovering your driving force. skills. Mile Marker Exercise 2. skills.5 MILE Discover Your Driving Force Champions aren’t made in the gym. It could be related to one of your passions.” one of his favorite skills as “working with people.” (Shelly) • “My driving force is to help people be unique and laugh a little. Your driving force is your personal mission or purpose—what inspires you to do what you want to do with your life. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them—a desire. It usually involves something you want to accomplish or something you care about deeply. or values. remind yourself of the values. —Muhammed Ali. Once you have them in mind.2. and what keeps you motivated when the going gets tough. and passions you’ve identified so far. The engine creates motion. represent. Write your driving force statement below: My driving force is… 3. three-time World Heavyweight Champion The driving force of a car is its engine and transmission.
See if their driving force might inspire you. you may find that your driving force will change as well.4. graduate in community development To reach as many people as possible with my music. you can always revisit it and make changes along the way. Pacific Academy of the Healing Arts —Drew. —Samantha. Very often the people who are the happiest have a life purpose that is in line with what they do in their career. or showing them the way to prevent and recover from the use of drugs and alcohol in their lives. —Sarah. teaching artist. family member. empowerment. “You can contribute a lot and make a big difference in the world if you realize that the world you’re talking about might be very small. and savor every moment I possibly can with my family. Find your favorite companies or brands and look for their mission statements on their websites. or teacher. See if they have a driving force. take a look online at different companies’ mission statements.com) My driving force is to help children. or two people. and help people in any way I can along the way. But don’t worry. Mission statements usually very clearly and succinctly define a company’s purpose for being in business. St or ie S f r o m the r oa —Brent. —Dori. studying to become a substance abuse counselor. comforted. maybe one person. and resourcefulness for all clients I work with. Ask them how their driving force guides their career path and/or their life as a whole. She said. —Jason Parchert. Keep in mind as your interests and passions change. but my mission is to help make it a little more even. and you’ll make the people around you happy. mission. that they might be encouraged. —Cathleen. Going the Extra Mile: Find a Few Mission Statements For some extra insight. Help from Family and Friends: Share Your Driving Force Share your statement with a friend. or life purpose they can share with you. families. Think about how these statements might govern the way the company operates. . director of clinical services of a startup medication/treatment adherence company My mission is to create and facilitate theatre which arouses communication while enriching the human spirit. singer/songwriter (Beach–Cowboy. systems engineer My mission in life is to stay positive. —Wendy. work hard. playwright I think my driving force would come from Jean Donovan who was a Maryknoll missionary in El Salvador in the 1970s. Not everyone is on an equal playing field. licensed cosmetologist 32 Test Drive Your Future d My mission is to fight for social justice through advocacy. and communities by leading them. and entertained. registered nurse Do what makes you happy. director. To protect those who protect us.
—Wilfred Peterson. Mile Marker 2: Your Core Components 33 .” “values harmony. or psychology teacher who could administer a full test for you. 4. There are links in the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture.). Once you identify your personality type.” “works efficiently. A simple online personality test can be found at: http://personalitytype. Myself. write it below (there are usually four letters that make up your type like INFP or ESTJ): 2. but your personality traits generally stay the same throughout your life. Thinking/Feeling. interests. Make a list below of possible careers common for this personality type (if you took the test online there is a link you can follow to uncover some career ideas). guidance counselor. One of the most common tests.6: Me. identifies sixteen personality types which are made up of the following combinations: Introverted/Extroverted. If you don’t know what your type is. 3. and My Personality 1. career coach. the Myer’s Briggs Type Indicator. Intuitive/Sensing.2. These words and combinations will make more sense once you’ve actually taken the test. and Judging/Perceiving. or you may also be able to find a therapist. and values might change over time. so you’ll remember what your type represents (things like “great listener. Write a few words or phrases below that describe this personality type. Add the interesting careers to your Career Lot.com to other free online personality tests. That’s why some career counselors say your personality type is the best indicator for how you should choose your future career. There are certain personalities that naturally fit within certain careers.com/quiz. and personality tests help narrow down your type and suggest careers you might consider. author Your skills. passions. Mile Marker Exercise 2. go ahead and take a personality test.6 MILE Test Your Personality The art of being yourself at your best is the art of unfolding your personality into the person you want to be.” etc.
When I was in high school. people in supply chain. I found a way to honor all the aspects of myself: artistic. —Dori. Collegeboard.com also offers a subscription-based program called MyRoad. the choice to combine the two— theatre for education and outreach—was the natural next step. St or ie S f r o m the r oa —Carolyn. by Paul D. In many ways. I would say that my strong personality started to really come out. I work with buyers who buy our products. so I am currently doing the sales side vs. explore the careers that are the best fit. Going the Extra Mile: Personality Type in More Depth You can find more advanced tests for a fee by visiting the official Myers Briggs website at http://myersbriggs. that explores personality types in more depth. specifically theatre. playwright —Jessica. Or pick up a book such as Do What You Are. .” This was the type of personality that I needed to be able to open my own practice right out of chiropractic college. teaching artist. and compare this with their current career field(s).com/quiz. Afterward. director.Help from Family and Friends: Compare Personality Types Ask a parent or other family member if they know their personality type and then compare it to yours. which walks you through a more in-depth personality test and helps you match your personality with college majors and careers. associate category manager of a large packaged foods company 34 Test Drive Your Future d I have always loved watching commercials and I thought advertising and brand management would be fun. marketing and brand management. I was never one to just “go with the flow. and now I get paid to talk to people! I get to work with people all over the country in many different capacities.org. people in advertising. Marketing is a very difficult industry to break in to. I believe they have served me well since I am now a leader in my community. suggest they take the test at: http://personalitytype. production and even customer service. If it’s not known. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger. the advertising side of marketing trying to make a name for myself so that I can eventually fulfill my goals of advertising/brand management. and socially-concerned. Because of this I get to learn about all of the intricate details that happen between the production of a product and it showing up in your local grocery store. I have always been a people person. academic. chiropractor I grew up in two worlds: one which made me dedicated to social action (which stems from my Jewish background) and one in which I was drawn to the arts. I took many leadership classes in high school and college.
Mile Marker 3:
Your Style and Preferences
re you a really social person who would want a vehicle that has tons of seating for you and your friends? Are you super eco-friendly and would only consider buying a hybrid, smart car, or maybe even a bicycle? Are you an outdoorsy person who would need a four-wheel drive so you can go anywhere the adventure is? When shopping for your future vehicles, there are going to be some features that are “musthaves” for you—things that are non-negotiable, such as airbags. There will also be features that are simply “preferences,” things that fall into your “that would be great” category, but are not really essential—heated seats for example. Just as you would consider must-haves and preferences when buying a vehicle, you should take into account your workplace, geographic, and lifestyle preferences when choosing a career. These are things that may not be as essential as your core components, but, depending on how important these preferences are to you, they could be critical when making a decision about a certain career. Not only that, but your life can definitely be more fun and satisfying if you find a career that is a good match to what you like and how you want to live your life. For example, if you love to be around people, your preferences might include working in a bustling city in an office with an open floor plan where social interaction and teamwork are part of your everyday experience. Regardless of what your particular style might be, knowing your preferences will be really valuable later when you are perusing all the possible careers parked on your Career Lot.
Mile Marker 3: Your Style & Preferences
Identify Your Top Workplace Preferences
If you do not feel yourself growing in your work and your life broadening and deepening, if your task is not a perpetual tonic to you, you have not found your place.
—Orison Swett Marden, writer
The first set of preferences you’ll explore are your workplace preferences. What kind of physical environment or location do you thrive in? What kind of hours or schedule do you prefer? Do you want to travel in your job? How much responsibility do you like to have? Remember, you may not be able to have all of these things in place right away as you begin an entry level job, but it’s important to keep your sights on your preferences, especially the ones you absolutely can’t do without, your must-haves. For example, if you love to be outside in nature, then you might find that your workplace preferences suggest that you should have a career that involves spending most of your working time outdoors, rather than cooped up in an office all day. Before you choose your career vehicle you’ll want to see if it matches most of your workplace preferences, as the workplace environment will be a big part of your daily experience. Having a good match could make or break your satisfaction and enjoyment of the job.
Mile Marker Exercise 3.1: Your Ideal Workplace
1. Go through the list below and check any of the workplace preferences that apply to you. Star the preferences that are most important, your must-haves.
The Work Environment
Guaranteed salary Paid by commission Risks required to achieve Financial reward for hard work Tenured position Job funded on time-limited basis (for example, grants) Profit making environment Job security guaranteed Retirement plan Advancement opportunities
Well-established company Start-up company Your own company Small business Mid-sized company Big corporation Government job Non-profit organization For-profit organization
Office setting Non-office setting Outdoors Indoors Fast-paced Slow-paced Physical movement on the job Sitting at a desk Seasonal work Consistent, year-round work High-pressure Low-pressure Busy, active, loud Calm, quiet Have your own desk/cubicle Have your own office Have your own assistant Free from health hazards Formal workplace Relaxed workplace Chaotic atmosphere Easygoing atmosphere Clean workplace
Casual (everyday clothes) Business casual Business formal Uniform Can wear whatever you want
Many meetings a day Few or no meetings Mentally challenging Physically demanding Very little physical exertion Very predictable workday Unpredictable workday Taking on new projects nearly every day Interaction with co-workers Lots of interaction Little interaction Work daytime hours (9–5) Work evenings Work the nightshift Many tasks simultaneously One task at a time
Test Drive Your Future
Diversity of your Co-workers
Location of Work
Time for leisure activities Firmly fixed daily schedule Flexible daily schedule Overtime expected Must put in time socializing with colleagues Peak times, slack times Summers & holidays off Flexible vacation schedule Ample vacation time Set hours/days in the week Weekly schedule changes
Diverse cultural backgrounds Diverse fields of specialty Diverse political persuasions Diverse ethnic backgrounds Diverse educational levels Gender diversity Diverse income levels Diverse philosophical/religious beliefs
Big city Small city Rural Suburban Potential to transfer Job specific to one area only
Your Preferred Roles
Characteristics of Co-workers
Forty-hour workweek or less Between forty & sixty hours Sixty-plus-hour workweek Must bring work home Work stays at the office
Company life insurance plan Company health insurance Merit raises Stock options Profit-sharing Paid vacation & holidays Company organized activities Health & gym facilities Daycare available Educational opportunities Maternity leave available
Associates as close friends Competition with co-workers Serious co-workers Light-hearted co-workers People whose work is their primary interest People who: Work autonomously Like to collaborate Work well in a team Treat you with respect Have a sense of humor Socialize after work You only see when at work Are willing to work hard
Close relationship with boss Interaction with management: Limited interaction Constant interaction Little to no supervision Lots of guidance
Highly competitive field Non-competitive field Rapidly expanding field Slow & steady growth
Travel for Work
Frequent travel Occasional travel International travel Domestic travel Local travel Never leave home
Work close to home Work from my home Commute to work is: Less than 15 minutes 15–30 minutes 30–60 minutes 60+ minutes Public transportation by: Train Bus Carpool
Supervising others Instructing others Counseling others Mediating concerns of persons or groups Making decisions Having big responsibility Having little responsibility Persuading, selling Providing advice Defining problems for others Organizing others Dispensing information Healing others Coaching others Coordinating others Acting as a catalyst Managing a large number of employees Managing a small number of employees Instigating projects or ideas Solving problems Helping others: Elderly Adults Adolescents Students Children Low income Disadvantaged Physically ill/disabled Mentally ill In crisis Interacting with people: By phone or e-mail only Face-to-face Under five people/day Over twenty people/day Speaking in public
Mile Marker 3: Your Style & Preferences
2. Take your top ten workplace preferences and re-organize the list from most important (#1) to least important (#10) and write your top ten list in order below.
Read through your list of top workplace preferences and add any careers (or companies) that you think might match your ideal workplace environment to your Career Lot. If you need help with this, ask a friend or parent for input.
ie S f r o m
—Jessica, associate category manager of a large packaged foods company Currently, I engineer and manage the Department of Defense’s number one project, a new military vehicle that protects soldiers from IED’s (improvised explosive devices) and roadside bombs. My job is to provide the war fighter with the best possible equipment, allowing them to do their jobs safely so they can go home to their families. The challenge is to out-think
and out-smart the bad guys and continue to advance technology to protect the war fighter. On an average day I will receive a written request from a soldier, vehicle mechanic, or military officer asking for an enhancement, improvement, or a new capability, or a report of a defect or concern in relation to a military vehicle. I will work to find an engineering solution through analysis, modeling, or testing—taking the idea, thought, or requirement and finding the most practical way to incorporate it into the vehicle while keeping cost, schedule, and performance in mind. I will then test and evaluate solutions both on engineering workstations (3D models) and by physically implementing these solutions on prototypes. When I think the solution is correct and it meets all of the requirements, I will purchase or instruct a supplier to manufacture the components and work with the team to incorporate the solution into the vehicle. These projects can go from start to finish in a day, or can take years to complete. The most satisfying thing is knowing that I have designed, created, and built something that is protecting our soldiers. —Brent, systems engineer Being a teacher means wearing many hats. I teach most subjects at the grade school level, but there is so much more to my job than just teaching reading, math, etc. I also help the children learn how to solve problems and have good manners. I encourage them to be philanthropists and try to model how to help others and the environment. I even act as a nurse for minor injuries. It definitely keeps things interesting. —Michelle, 2nd grade teacher
Test Drive Your Future
When I was beginning my career I knew that I would not absolutely love every day I was at work, but I looked for a position and a company that I knew would keep me challenged and motivated. It was also important to me to find a company and position that I knew I could grow with so I would continue to be challenged and not get bored. I am currently not in my goal position, but I am working toward that position, and it is in my sight.
A few important categories to consider when thinking about the characteristics of the place where you would like to live are size. Star the preferences that are most important. Although.2 MILE Explore Your Geographic Preferences Generation Y is saying. however. If you don’t want to move that far away from home. meaning that you can be an engineer or an architect. most acting jobs are centered in New York and Los Angeles.” —Penelope Trunk. political climate. or if you have your heart set on living in a certain area. dance. “I can find a job anywhere. this process may also help you in your college or training program selection process. as your preferences for where you want to live may affect your career possibilities. choosing a career or choosing where you want to live? That really depends on which is most important to you. For example. and likewise. you’ll want to focus on careers that are possibilities in that area before you choose your ideal career. are not quite as place-centric. a chef or a school teacher (among thousands of other things) pretty much anywhere. Though here we focus on geographic considerations for your career down the road. Go through the list below and check any of the geographic preferences that apply to you. cultural opportunities. The point of this mile marker is not to choose exactly where you want to live (unless you already know for sure). Some careers may be very specific to their locations. Size Weather Cultural opportunities Small town Large town Small city Big city Rural Suburban Close proximity to a city Political climate Conservative Liberal Moderate Green Independent All four seasons Widely varied temperature Small temperature variation Lots of snow Mostly sunshine Little rain Lots of rain Warm all year Colder climate Mild Dry Humid Easy on my allergies Museums Art galleries Symphonies Concerts Movie houses Theaters (live performance) Higher education (colleges) Libraries Classes (art. more careers allow you to work from home.2: Your Ideal Place 1. with advances in technology. and geography. It’s more important to me to find a place where I fit in. Mile Marker Exercise 3. your career preferences may end up dictating where you can live. author Which comes first. music) Volunteer opportunities Recreational clubs Religious activities Social opportunities Sporting events Restaurant selection Parks Nightlife Shopping Mile Marker 3: Your Style & Preferences 39 . but to determine your preferences for the type of place you would like to live so you can take them into consideration later during the career test drive process and beyond. weather. Most careers. community.3. removing the need to live near your place of work.
10. don’t worry. Take your top ten geographic preferences and re-organize the list from most important (#1) to least important (#10) and write your top ten list in order below. 2. you’ll learn more about this in Section Two. 5. 3. 1. 7. 40 Test Drive Your Future . 9. 3. Are there any career possibilities you would like to explore based on your geographic preferences? Jot any new ideas on your Career Lot. If you are not quite sure. 8. 6.Community Geography Recreational Activities Local government Community involvement Low crime rates Safe secure neighborhood Eco-conscious Farmers’ markets Public transportation Good health care options Family-friendly Ethnically diverse Pet-friendly Near mountains Near ocean Access to rivers or lakes Near desert On an island In or near a forest On or near farmland Close proximity to friends Close proximity to family A specific city: ___________ A specific state: ___________ A specific country: ___________ Winter sports Warm-weather sports Outdoor sports Indoor sports Hiking trails Camping Bike trails Skate parks Gym or fitness center Outdoor playing fields Other Job Market Blue collar (industrial) White collar (business) High tech Tourism Agricultural Cost of Living Lower Average High-end ____________________ ____________________ ____________________ ____________________ ____________________ 2. 4.
writer Your “lifestyle” includes things like material goods (cars. While your preferred lifestyle will probably change over time. buses. recreation and travel opportunities available to you Material things available to you (books. other:_________________________________________ Mile Marker 3: Your Style & Preferences 41 . homes). etc. condition. electronics.) Leisure.3 MILE Check Your Lifestyle and Salary Preferences I believe you are your work. and basic needs available to you Education available to you (including private schooling or any groups or clubs you belong or belonged to. clothing. dentists. etc. safety. Don’t trade the stuff of your life. music. I’d like to have more buying power than my family. time. or lessons you may take or have taken) After thinking about your current lifestyle. etc. —Rita Mae Brown.3. I’d like to have a much more extravagant lifestyle than my family. neighborhood. health care. as the kind of lifestyle you will be able to live is usually directly tied to the hours you have to work and the amount of money you bring home from your job. price. opportunities for travel or leisure. one of the best ways to get a gauge on your current preferences is to look at your family’s present lifestyle or the lifestyles of the people closest to you. education.) Transportation available to you (cars. In addition to considering your workplace and geographic preferences. water. Think about your family’s current lifestyle in relation to each of the categories below: • • • • • • • Housing available to you (size. I’d like to have the same lifestyle in which I was raised. check off any of the choices below that best describe your family’s current lifestyle: Have enough money just to get by Live comfortably Have strong buying power Able to make large financial investments Very wealthy Other:_________________________________________ Now check off the statement that best describes your ideal future lifestyle: I’d like a less extravagant lifestyle than my family. and the safety and quality of your home or neighborhood. among other things. it is also important to take a look at your lifestyle preferences before you choose a career.) Quality or quantity of food. for nothing more than dollars. clothes. ability to own/rent) Healthcare available to you (including eye doctors.
Although in the past it has been taboo to talk with people about how much they earn. etc. as debt can make it look like someone is enjoying a lifestyle that is actually out of their reach. other family member. retirement plans. insurance benefits.3: Finding Your Ideal Salary 1. On the other hand their lifestyle could look richer simply because they are using those assets to provide for greater comfort now. or close friend to learn more about the relationship between salary and lifestyle: a. When trying to determine your ideal salary. but I think it’s even more important to love what you do. For example. There will never be a job that is “perfect”. Their lifestyle could look modest because they have chosen to make a key tradeoff—to sacrifice some comforts today to help save money for tomorrow. or to pay it off more quickly.When the Rubber Hits the Road—Relating Lifestyle to Salary Now that you are thinking about your future lifestyle. if they have a large amount of debt.)? b. What kind of savings. entry-level job before you are able to move up to your ideal salary. 2nd grade teacher ivi ng tip • I definitely chose something that I was passionate about. rental property income. c. so it might take you a while to achieve the lifestyle you enjoyed while living with your parents (plus you may have student loan debt). 42 Test Drive Your Future . What is the salary from your job? Do you have other sources of income (for instance. and their savings. keep these factors in mind as well: • You will likely start out with a lower-paying. Now is a great opportunity to talk with your parent(s) to get a basic understanding of how your family’s lifestyle relates to their income level. so you can begin to understand what salary level you would need to achieve your ideal lifestyle in the future. Appearances can be deceiving. For example. or investments do you have? This question is also important because again their lifestyle might look a particular way to you as a direct result of how much money they have saved or invested. but I wouldn’t want one that I hated going to every day even if it paid a lot. a job you do on the side. How much debt do you have. and vacations—with that glamour all owned by the bank! Alternatively. dr —Michelle. Here are some basic questions to ask a parent. It is important to find a job that will provide the financial support that you need. The salary you earn is one of the key components to maintaining your preferred lifestyle. their debts. Life’s too short for that! • Mile Marker Exercise 3. the cost of an average home will be higher when you buy one than when your family purchased a house (if they did). your family’s lifestyle might look very glamorous—fancy cars. dividends and interest from investments. The cost of living generally increases over time. or did you have? The importance of asking this question is to understand lifestyle in relation to debt. it’s important to connect the dots to understand how lifestyle relates to salary. it’s becoming more acceptable. if they have little to no debt it could mean that they have lived a more modest lifestyle to avoid debt. homes.
After all this talk about lifestyle. and is usually based upon your income. and how happy. These values represent the factors that make up your ideal quality of life. etc. utilities. material goods. transportation. For any guys reading right now.) Going the Extra Mile: On Your Own Two Feet We highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Manisha Thakor’s On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance and start playing with possible salary numbers so you’ll know how much of your future income will be paid into taxes. don’t be scared of the title—the money smarts in this book apply to you too! This book is an essential tool for every student and new graduate to understand the basics of money. comfort. If you feel uncomfortable talking with your family about money. we’ll double check this later during the test drive. and average home price of an area. Which of the careers that appeal to you might provide this salary level? Write these down on your Career Lot. yet have a very poor quality of life in terms of their freedom of time.com which might help you with this activity. make a guess as to what your ideal salary would be and write in the number below: Don’t look at just what you can earn in what you want to do. Pacific Academy of the Healing Arts 3.)? There is a downloadable budget spreadsheet in the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. healthy. entertainment. What is your cost of living (i. Enjoy what you do and also give your all to what you do. but maintain a moderate lifestyle. food. You can have a high quality of life. Lifestyle vs. and the necessities available to you. You can find cost of living calculators on the Internet (there are links in the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. —Wendy.com where you can find just about anything about a zip code including the average income. fun activities/items. You’ve probably heard stories about millionaires or celebrities who have all they could ever need monetarily. healthcare. 4. peaceful. and problems with relationships or drug use. and satisfied you are with life. average rent. which will allow you to figure out the cost of living in a particular location. This will ensure you maintain a high quality of life! Mile Marker 3: Your Style & Preferences 43 dr ivi ng tip . One recommended web site is City–data. $______________ per year.com). how much is spent each month on basic expenses: housing. their happiness and stability. In Mile Marker 2 you identified your top ten life values. or an extremely extravagant lifestyle but with very little quality of life. (Don’t worry. This might be measured by how much free time you have. “Quality of life” is much more subjective. how much should be put into savings.e. Don’t forget to balance your values with your ideal lifestyle when choosing a career.d. and how much you should spend on basic needs vs. how much time you get to spend with your family. but how your choice will affect your life and the lives of others. there are other ways you can get some basic information about salary and cost of living. studying to become a substance abuse counselor. Quality of Life Lifestyle is generally associated with the idea of being “successful. 2.” It refers to your level of wealth. This will help you get an idea of what you need to make to achieve your desired lifestyle.
Volunteering in Tijuana my senior year in high school had a big influence on why I ended up here. relationships. I knew that I wanted to go into teaching and I thought I’d end up traveling here and living in the States.. and wandering were my pursuits as a child. registered nurse —Shannon. health. We’ve come into contact over the years with a lot of people who go abroad to teach because they think it will be easy. Teaching as a fall back isn’t beneficial to anyone. Working as a ranger. Hiking. something that I wanted to do since childhood visits to Yosemite and the Sierras. free time. then I decided to get a master’s.. I love to experience different cultures and see the ways the rest of the world lives. I would like to be doing some long-term volunteer work abroad. or too much pressure to succeed? St or ie S f r o m the r oa —Pablo. Not just anyone. Currently. exploring. I was offered a job based on that and decided that one year was do-able. and resources. It’s not. Here I am still over four years later. I fell in love with Mexico and its people. I plan to be overseas for a couple years and then see where the wind takes me. I work as a ranger with the National Park Service. instilled in me by my father. which fits seamlessly with my ranger duties. then I married Ramon. and I think nursing is a great way to do that. you should look for the career that best fits you. Does their career contribute positively to their quality of life. etc. I must patrol miles and miles of remote backcountry wilderness to check on the status and condition of trails. Then I met Ramon. It’s hard and it takes a teacher to be able to teach. too many hours. Especially the students. then we had our baby girl. I decided to do my student teaching abroad. If you want to live abroad.Help from Family and Friends: Their Perspective on Quality of Life To get a better understanding of the difference between lifestyle and quality of life. campsites. At the end of my undergrad. My mantra has always been “If you don’t explore you’ll never discover”. 6th grade English teacher at an international school in Mexico 44 Test Drive Your Future d My love for the outdoors has always been my passion. So that guided the Spanish part of my undergrad. or does it add too much stress. In five years. I can rightfully say that I’m living my dream. . so jobs that would allow me to work outside in the grandeur and wonder of nature were high on my list. —Cathleen. sit down with a parent or other family member and ask them about their quality of life: their level of happiness. wilderness ranger It has always been my goal to travel. allowing yourself the opportunity to see the natural wonders across America. Ana Victoria. The beauty of working with the National Park system is that once you are hired it can be relatively simple to transfer from one park to another. too much time away from family.
look in the classifieds. there are a few places you might look before you go to a dealership: you might do some Internet research. Mile Marker 4: Expanding Your Options 45 . and you’ve brainstormed some career options through the exercises in the previous mile markers. In this mile marker. Now you are ready to “shop around” and explore other types of careers available beyond those with which you are already familiar. keep an open mind to possibilities you may not have considered. Even if you already think you know which career path you will pursue. you’ll explore your career vehicle choices using these plus many other different methods as well.Mile Marker 4: Expanding Your Options S MILE 4 o far you’ve learned a lot about what would make up your perfect career vehicle. as this mile marker is all about expanding your list of career vehicles. When you are shopping for a car. or talk to friends or classmates.
and if so. There are tons of money-making options in the surfing industry without being the one riding the waves in the spotlight.) Pull those onto your Career Lot. “You’ll never make a living playing video games all day!” Some people simply can’t believe anyone could make a living doing fun stuff like playing video games or surfing. you might dream of becoming a professional surfer. schedule an “informational interview” with them. inserting your hobby in the blank. videographers.com. and support staff. 46 Test Drive Your Future .4. Write down all the possibilities you find: 2. Then. Maybe it’s not the most practical choice (you have to be really good to get sponsored and make a living). public relations people. TV.2. ad salespeople.1 MILE Consider Your Hobbies as Career Paths The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation. whereas a job might simply be a means to get a paycheck. Search the Internet for “jobs related to _________”. author and humorist What could be more fun than turning your favorite hobby or pastime into a career? Perhaps you have heard someone say something like. photographers. a career is a path you choose as a lifelong pursuit or calling. swimwear. etc. The truth is: someone out there is doing those things for money right now! If you love to surf. do your research to figure out how to make it work for you! Mile Marker Exercise 4. watching movies. Think about how many businesses and jobs exist in the surfing world. see Mile Marker 8. or you can download the Informational Interview Checklist from the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. shopping. designing and testing new boards. or other gear. Get creative with it. There are movies and TV shows about surfing in need of directors. If you really like to be in the water. graphic artists. you can be an engineer. How about owning a small business to sell or rent equipment or to give surf lessons? You can easily find a career to support your favorite hobby. Help from Family and Friends: Connecting with Someone Who Turned a Hobby into a Career Talk to friends or family members and ask if they know anyone who really loves their work or is working in a field they once considered a hobby. Are there any jobs related to your hobby that you might consider as a career? (By the way. —Mark Twain.1: From Hobby to Career 1. tweeting. For specifics on how to conduct an informational interview. editors. but remember your career options in all industries are numerous. etc. Surfing magazines need writers.
Whether you feel inspired. choose ten people to ask. who is worthy of emulation. or disinterested could be a good indicator about whether you might want to pursue a similar path. 6. however: make sure to follow your own path instead of borrowing someone’s idea because you can’t think of anything (remember Beth’s story about majoring in psychology because her boyfriend was going to?). 5. —Paul Shafer. see if you can find someone you don’t know as well. or teammates about their future career plans. 9. classmates. A word of caution. That’s what this guide is for—learning about different types of careers to see what fits you perfectly. 7. Mile Marker 4: Expanding Your Options 47 .4.. 2.. 8. Write in their names and their answers below: 1. Starting with your friends. 10. interested.2 MILE Ask Around The most important single influence in the life of a person is another person.2: Survey Your Friends 1. “What do you want to do for a career and why?” If you already know the answer before you ask. “Late Show with David Letterman” One of the easiest ways to learn about possible career options is by talking with friends. 4. 3. Pay attention to your reactions to what they’ve chosen. band leader. Mile Marker Exercise 4.
family members. not just a hobby. all the way to going over the figures at the end of the day. My job is to zealously fight for my clients against their opponent. at a desk with seven computer monitors (and four more hanging above my head). prepare with witnesses. young adult librarian 48 Test Drive Your Future d In high school. do general office administration. help a patron find a good book to read.. And I always have. (My parents now blame me for picking that ONE time to listen to them)! I have always liked cooking. On any given day I might: research or draft a brief. teachers.. I would be set. choosing not to continue. talk on the phone to opposing counsel. so we discontinued. my family started running a weekly vegan café. It took me a couple years to realize that cooking actually could be a job. run my library’s Anime Club. I enjoy the whole process of running a café: from planning the menus. help a grandparent download a picture of his grandchild. Once I came to that realization everything happened very quickly. and other adults you know why they chose their specific career. where we talked about the experience and if we wanted to continue with the deli. Now I work from 11pm to 7am. I might help a high school student discover which colleges she wants to apply to. and what other career paths they considered. But from the experience I realized that I not only liked to cook. professional chef On an average day. attend a mediation. or any of a number of other things! —Kate. I don’t think you are going to be very effective if you don’t like what you do. help a patron find information on how to repair her car. That’s one of the great things about being a litigator. Every day is an adventure. attorney —Bianca. and spent a lot of time in the kitchen. St or ie S f r o m the r oa —Matt. A few years ago my brother thought he wanted to be a chef. I love doing what I do. As an experiment. answering phone calls. —Jennifer. but at the same time counsel them to achieve reasonable settlements of their disputes. meet with my director to discuss the renovation of our new teen space. 911 public safety telecommunicator I deal with interesting people in many different industries at one of the most stressful points in their lives. travel across the country to take a deposition or meet with an expert. Add any careers that interest you to your Career Lot. read some book reviews and decide which books I want to order for my library. or go to trial. attend a local bar committee meeting. update my library’s website. My brother decided that he was tired of it. Going the Extra Mile: Survey Some More Keep asking around! Ask parents. investigate facts. I don’t suppose I have average days. Which is a good thing because I spend an enormous amount of time at work. argue in court. After several months we went on vacation. In this field anyway. I don’t think I could dedicate the time and energy it takes to work in this high-stress field if it wasn’t a perfect fit for me. and the next thing I knew I had decided to move to Berkeley and was in culinary school! It was my dream coming true! . my parents once told me that if I could find a job where I stayed up all night sitting in front of a computer and talking on the phone.2. meet with clients.
3 MILE Scan the Local Yellow Pages There is nothing like looking. You certainly usually find something. or that there is probably a place in your town where you can buy artificial human eyes? (Look it up!) These are among the many businesses and services that you have probably never heard of that might be found in your local phone book. Phone books are also available online. but it is not always quite the something you were after. Did you know that you can hire a parking ticket contesting service to help get you get out of paying your parking tickets.4. Find a local phone book—if you don’t have one. author The Yellow Pages section of your local phone book is a great place to start when searching for different career possibilities. Can you think of any careers related to the categories or businesses you listed above? If so. that there are bakeries that specialize in making 3-D cake sculptures that look like your dog. which is why scanning through the Yellow Pages is the next step in expanding your list of possible career vehicles. —J. Mile Marker 4: Expanding Your Options 49 . but for this exercise.R. where they often have phonebooks from several local communities and possibly even a few from major cities around the country.R. Mile Marker Exercise 4. borrow one from a friend or neighbor. make a note of any people or businesses (and their phone #’s) that you might want to visit or interview later when you are ready for the test drive. if you want to find something. Write down any that pop out at you: 2. Tolkien. 3. put these in your Career Lot. Scan through the entire Yellow Pages section. or visit the public library. we recommend flipping through an actual book.3: Use the Book 1. While going through this exercise. focusing on each of the categories and sub-categories. if you look.
or toy design? What is “actuarial science” and how many people even know this major exists? Regardless of whether you plan to go to college or not. it is extremely rewarding. Patients generally dislike dentists and fear dental work. you might discover something you never knew existed.collegeboard. By closely examining a list. write them below: 4. dentures. When I can build a personal connection with them and make their dental experience enjoyable. . root canals. or get inspired to go on to college and pursue a specific degree. and following through with that treatment plan. and tooth extractions. restoration of dental implants. it’s a good idea to check out a comprehensive list of majors. 3.4: Browse Available Majors 1. Interacting with patients is definitely the most interesting and challenging part of dentistry. St or ie S f r o m the r oa —Brad. philosopher Even we were surprised by the number of majors available out there in the collegiate world. Go to the section “Major and Career Profiles” and view all the majors available. education is life itself.4. developing a treatment plan to address those problems.com. When you stumble upon an interesting one. I received my bachelor’s degree in biology and am in the process of receiving my DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery). deep cleanings. An average day as a dentist includes diagnosing problems in the mouth. take a few extra minutes to read about it. crown/ bridges. Mile Marker Exercise 4. The procedures I perform most routinely are fillings. If any college majors or subjects catch your eye. —John Dewey. dental student 50 Test Drive Your Future d Dentistry requires eight years of college. Which careers that appeal to you might be related to the majors above? Slip those into a space on your Career Lot.4 MILE Explore the Wide World of Majors Education is not a preparation for life. Become familiar with the wide world of college majors by visiting the College Board website at http://www. 2. Did you know that you can major in subjects like blacksmithing. makeup. find a subject that is a better fit for you.
5: Scanning Career Profiles 1. a recent college grad: Take the time to learn about your different options. which is why it’s important to become familiar with as many options as possible. After volunteering with Habitat for Humanity a lot in college. mom. —Werner von Braun. There are thousands of different jobs out there. manage all the finances of the project. and generally make sure the project stays on schedule and on budget. Some days I start seeing patients right when I show up. I get to watch two wonderful little boys grow and learn. I spent two years building houses for Habitat for Humanity through the AmeriCorps program and realized I wanted to make construction my career. . your Career Lot! or ie S f r o m the St r oa —Melanie. and it is amazing to see the progress he has made. I am in charge of managing everything that goes on at a building project. Yes. I start every workday at 7:00 AM. You don’t have to read every profile. Here’s some smart advice from Manisha. After college. I choose the subcontractors and write contracts for their work. far too often people get stuck in the idea that you must become a doctor. As a construction manager. work with the architect and building owner. or lawyer. I am paying bills and balancing the check register.5 MILE Check Out Your Career Options Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing. from treating patients to cleaning equipment. No two days are the same. clicking on each to see the breakdown of career sub-categories. 3. but if a career jumps out at you. then you might be even more amazed by how many different career fields exist! Your dream career might be something you’ve never even heard of. or create your own! Mile Marker Exercise 4. Being in private practice means that I do it all. scientist If the number of college majors out there surprised you.com and click on “Career Profiles. If there are any careers or categories that interest you from the “Career Profiles. you just have to search for them. professional nanny There is no average day in my office.” guess where to add those.collegeboard. 2. —Carolyn. Other days. cook. The youngest son is three and has had issues with delayed speech. No one will do it better than the owner.4. I realized I was much more interested in building buildings than designing them. It is so fun to see how this child has dealt with these issues and overcome them. chiropractor —Elizabeth. or business woman. spend a little extra time learning about it. I didn’t study child development in college. We have been working with therapists over the last year to help him. and playmate. My job is a mix of chauffeur. and help them along the way. teacher. Visit the College Board website again at http://www.” Scan through the list of careers. monitor safety at the job site. but I feel I am getting a hands-on lesson daily. maid. or engineer. construction project manager Mile Marker 4: Expanding Your Options 51 d I was always interested in building and went to college intending to be an architect.
Brainstorm how you could turn any of these passions or interests into an entrepreneurial idea (a shop. freelancer. 52 Test Drive Your Future . organic farming.4. solar powered cars. or analyst. and if so.com. see Mile Marker 8. List in the space below anything you are passionate about that you might be able to build a business around— designer purses. Going the Extra Mile: Entrepreneurial Exploration There are links in the Navigation Center to online tests which help you determine the type of entrepreneur you might be: business leader. product. Let your mind wander and imagine what kind of business you would run if you had all the resources and skills necessary. computer repair. Help from Family and Friends: Connecting with an Entrepreneur Talk to friends or family members and ask if they know an entrepreneur. 2. schedule an informational interview with that person. etc. or online business). You can be an entrepreneur for essentially any service. Many blogs and websites are run by entrepreneurs. licentiate. Park any of these ideas you would seriously consider as potential careers in your Career Lot. manager. service. Write down any entrepreneurial ideas you come up with below: 3.” An entrepreneur is someone who starts his or her own new business venture. Schuller.6: Building a Business of Your Own 1. they might inspire you to seriously consider an entrepreneurial path.6 MILE Think Outside the Classifieds What would you do if you knew you could not fail? —Robert H. as are many of the local businesses you discovered during the Yellow Pages exercise. To learn how to conduct an interview. Even if this person isn’t doing something related to your specific interest. home business entrepreneur. or event that you can dream up. author It is easy to find lists of possible careers—you’ve already looked at one at the College Board site—but most career lists focus on careers you would find in the newspaper classifieds under “Looking to Hire” (that’s actually another great place to look for career ideas. pet sitting. entrepreneurs are individuals who generate new ideas and are willing to assume the risks and responsibilities of owning and operating their own businesses. craftsman. In general. Entrepreneurship might be the perfect fit for you! Mile Marker Exercise 4. by the way!) Unfortunately these lists often miss a wide range of career opportunities that fall under the category “entrepreneur. Most major brands started out as the idea of a single entrepreneur before evolving into large companies with many employees.2 or get the Informational Interview Checklist from the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture.
Mile Marker 5:
Your Career Lot
f you were shopping for a car, after all your research, you would have a list of vehicles you would consider buying. Now let’s pretend you find a dealership that sells everything on your list and has all the vehicles in stock, parked on the lot, ready to be test driven. What would you do next? You would need to decide which ones interest you most, because you can’t test drive all of them at the same time. Your top few choices would be the ones you test drive first. The same is true for your career selection process. You should already have a number of different career vehicles waiting in your Career Lot from the activities in the previous mile markers. (If you haven’t done so yet, go back through Mile Markers 1–4 and pull out any career ideas you came up with throughout the exercises and move them to the Career Lot now.) Once you have assembled all your possible vehicles on your Career Lot, you are ready to prioritize and organize them into a list to determine which to test drive first in Section Two.
Mile Marker 5: Your Career Lot
In the spaces provided below, write any careers you discovered from the exercises in Mile Markers 1–4. You can download additional copies of the Career Lot from the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture.com.
Careers that Match Your Big Picture Mile Marker 1.1 (pages 12–13) 1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 2. 3. 4. Mile Marker 1.2 (page 14) Mile Marker 1.3 (pages 15–17) 1. 2. 3. 4.
Careers that Match Your Core Components Mile Marker 2.1 (pages 20–23) 1. 2. 3. 4. Mile Marker 2.4 (pages 29–30) 1. 2. 3. 4. Mile Marker 2.2 (pages 24–27) 1. 2. 3. 4. Mile Marker 2.5 (pages 31–32) 1. 2. 3. 4. Careers that Match Your Style and Preferences Mile Marker 3.1 (pages 36–38) 1. 2. 3. 4. Mile Marker 3.2 (pages 39–40) 1. 2. 3. 4. Mile Marker 3.3 (pages 41–44) 1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 2. 3. 4. Mile Marker 2.6 (pages 33–34) 1. 2. 3. 4. Mile Marker 2.3 (page 28)
Test Drive Your Future
4.Careers that Expand Your Options Mile Marker 4. 2. 2. 2. 3. but don’t worry. 3.3 to put the careers in order (decide between the first and second career which you would choose. use the same “either/or process” from Mile Marker 1. Use the space below to reorganize your list of careers in order of interest.2 (pages 47–48) 1. #1 being the one you are most interested in pursuing. 9. 2. 2. Mile Marker 4. 4.1 (page 46) 1. 3. 3. 8. Mile Marker 4. 1. If you need help. 2. 11. Mile Marker 5: Your Career Lot 55 . Mile Marker 4.6 (page 52) Mile Marker 4. 6. 4. 10. 4. 3.3 (page 49) Mile Marker Exercise 5: Organize Your Career Lot 1. 13. 2. 4. Mile Marker 4. 5. you will have the chance to test drive as many careers as you would like before you make your final choice! 1. then test it against every other career on the list until one stands out on top). 1. 3. At this stage you are just using basic information and intuition to put the list of careers in order.4 (page 50) 1. 7. 14. 3. 4.5 (page 51) 1. 12. 4.
The Test Drive
Just imagine, after all your preliminary research, you arrive at the car dealership. Several shiny new cars sit parked right in front of you. It would be easy in all your excitement to say you want all of them, but if you begin to look closely at each one you might realize that some vehicles are a better match for you than others. For instance, the mini-van—though tempting as it might be to have the space to haul around a group of your friends—is not really a practical match for you, and that you don’t really need—and might not be able to afford gas for—the king-cab, super-duty, monster-sized pickup truck. You realize that before you drive anything home you had better get behind the wheel and figure out exactly which of these vehicles truly suits you best. This is the test drive. It’s time to take a few vehicles for a spin, see how they handle on the road, determine which matches who you are and your current needs, and discover which is the most comfortable fit. In choosing your future career path, it is just as essential to get out there and test drive the paths you are interested in before fully committing yourself. As appealing as a career in phlebotomy may have sounded initially, you won’t get too far in that path if you get squeamish seeing blood fill a vial. Or let’s say you love small children and have dreams of being a pre-school teacher: a few full days spent shadowing in a classroom of 20 four-year-olds might help you determine you would rather work with older kids, or maybe even plants. The test drive is designed to help you spend a little hands-on quality time in a career vehicle now, before you commit to the amount of time and money it will take to pursue a particular career path. It is broken up into four parts: “The Walk Around,” “The Interest Inspection,” “Expert Advice,” and “Behind the Wheel.” Each part takes you a little deeper into exploring whether the career you are considering is a good fit for you. If you are ready to get started, read the instructions on the next page.
Then move on to the next career from your Career Lot. Be sure to jot down a few notes to help you remember why you eliminated it. 4.com. after any of the following mile markers. you lose interest in any career you are test driving (if it no longer feels like a match) you can stop test driving that career and cross it out on your Career Lot. the date. Choose the first career you would like to test drive from your Career Lot (from the list you made in Mile Marker Exercise 5 on page 55). You can also download the expanded version of the checklist from the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. Write at the top of the checklist your name. 3. beginning again with Mile Marker 6.Starting the Test Drive 1. 2.” Note: If along the way. You are ready to begin! Start with Mile Marker 6: “The Walk Around. and the first career you will be test driving. . Photocopy the Test Drive Checklist at the end of the book (so you have extra copies to test drive multiple careers).
your preferences. and your current needs before you spend any time driving it. The time you spend “kicking the tires” is your chance to take in basic information and get a feel for the car—seeing whether it fits your style. dings.Mile Marker 6: The Walk Around T MILE 6 est driving any car usually begins with a visual inspection. Mile Marker 6: The Walk Around 59 . Before hopping into the driver’s seat. while also looking for obvious nicks. and color. checking to see if you like its shape. size. This mile marker guides you through a walk around of a potential career to see if it will be worth your time to explore further. or other flaws. you walk around the vehicle.
” “Earnings. —Lao Tzu. iPod connector.” The OOH is a great place to begin. Will this work with your ideal salary and lifestyle preferences from Mile Marker 3. Then below your summary.1 MILE Get the Basics The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. or only in certain locations?) Write your answers on your Test Drive Checklist. you would look at that big sticker on the car window that lays out the main features of the car (size of the engine. answer the following question: Can you see yourself doing this type of work? Read the sub-section called “Work Environment” and write a three to five phrase summary of what you read on your Test Drive Checklist. Where would you start? At a dealership. but you want a little more information.gov/OCO/ and find the career you are considering. The same can be said for this part of the walk around: first you need to uncover a few key pieces of information for each career you are considering. The OOH contains comprehensive descriptions of all aspects of a career. 5. under such headings as: “Nature of the Work. all of the options (A/C.6. heated seats). visit the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture.1: Read That Sticker: What are the Features and Options? 1. Taoist philospher Imagine you are walking around a car lot looking at vehicles.” “Job Outlook. For example: • • • • What does the job involve? What is the workplace environment like? What is the average salary? How likely are you to find a job in this industry? The government has done most of the work for you already in the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH).com for tips.” Are there any geographic considerations for this career? (Is there a higher concentration of jobs in a particular area? Could you work just about anywhere in this career. Is this career a good match for your preferences? 2. Compare it to your workplace preferences (from Mile Marker 3. 3. the price. then compare these answers to your geographic preferences from Mile Marker 3. 60 Test Drive Your Future . Visit the OOH website at http://www. There are a few that look good to you.1).” and “Related Occupations. 4.” “Training. Read through the section titled: “Nature of the Work.” Write a one to two sentence summary from that description on your Test Drive Checklist. Does it match up with your ideal workplace? Under “Earnings.2. Mile Marker Exercise 6. type of transmission.bls. gas mileage).3? Explore the section called “Employment. and of course.” “Employment. and write your answers on the Test Drive Checklist starting on page 107 (an expanded version of the checklist is available in the Navigation Center). Follow the instructions below. If you need help navigating the OOH.” find the beginning and average salaries for this career and write them on your Test Drive Checklist.
and weeding. director. and helping someone who has walked into the police department. making my days multifaceted. Occasionally.org is a very helpful website maintained by the state of Minnesota (and you certainly don’t have to live or plan on living in Minnesota to use it). Office Day: writing grant proposals. then get to work at 10am. and art galleries until my hand is tired or my wife complains! Lather. getting more fire departments to come to a call that was already going on. Investigate the information provided under “Job Outlook” and “Projections Data. conservation biologist Mile Marker 6: The Walk Around 61 d I sit at a big desk with a lot of computer monitors looking back at me. paramedics to a second emergency. so I put two phones up to my head and talk to several different people at the same time. I’m the only one working. taking photos. repeat! —Brett. etc. I also keep track of what time ambulance and fire department calls are responded to. This means that I mostly freelance. travel to schools. Check out the section called “Related Occupations” and write on your Career Lot the names of any additional careers that appeal to you. I have meetings and do artwork until 6pm (this includes art discussions. teaching artist. how many people are employed in this field. book publishers. as a teacher and a director. watch shows. Some days I will write lesson plans. directing a junior artist. and much more. This site even has short videos describing each career! or ie S f r o m the St r oa —Matt. Later.” Write a couple of phrases on your Test Drive Checklist to describe the job prospects. and teach. and observe post-show workshops. 911 public safety telecommunicator I warm up by sketching at 8am. flagging trails. which focuses on education—and so I would greet students to matinee performances.org. visual development artist —Dori. Then when I’m done with my “day job” I do freelance art for companies. director. Field Day: setting up plots. I was in six different classrooms.. 8. all at the same time. 3. how much they earn from state to state.org CareerOneStop. If you are interested in comparing how many jobs there are in your state with the national average. Here you can explore the ins and outs of a variety of careers: descriptions of the daily activities. planning a nature camp. When officers call out information over the radio. playwright Every day is different! Here are three different sorts of days that I have now: 1. presenting to a community group. Every person is different. you can go back and test drive them if you’d like. I get to learn something new everyday! This spring I taught Shakespeare to both teachers and their students. checking fence lines. checking in with what others are doing. “GPS-ing” the locations of species. In the past I have also been fortunate enough to apprentice in a theatre company.6. dispatching police officers to one emergency. answering the phone and typing information into various computer systems. I have to find a different way to connect with every person. and writing plans. I enter it into the computer and make sure the people they are dealing with aren’t dangerous. and taking a club on a field trip. and playwright. List any pros or cons you may have uncovered about this career on the last page of the checklist. Other days I’m rewriting my new play and rehearsing it in the evening. there are days when 911 calls all ring at the same time. making maps on a GPS. It’s challenging but incredible to open myself up so much! . degree or training requirements.). visit CareerOneStop. and expected job growth in the industry. employment projections. and so. 2. editing environmental assessments. Outreach Day: creating brochures. I am a teaching artist. —Melora. 7.. rinse. Going the Extra Mile: Check Out CareerOneStop.
lose interest. Read “Certification and Advancement. former President of South Africa The next step in the walk around is to understand the educational requirements for each career you are considering. Visit http://www. You’re going to use the OOH again to uncover a little more information about this career.) and how do most people advance in this career field? • Do the opportunities for advancement match your workplace preferences in Mile Marker 3. • Does this career require a college degree and if so. what degree is required? • How many years does it take to get this type of degree? • Are you willing to go to school for the number of years required? 3. revisit Mile Marker 2.2. 5. four. Go to the section called “Training.bls. etc. get frustrated.” Look under “Education and Training. —Nelson Mandela. you might run out of money. or eight years of training before you would be qualified to work within your chosen career field? If you don’t have a realistic time frame in mind. Other Qualifications. Then. 6.gov/OCO/ and find your career field. or quit completely before you complete your training. 62 Test Drive Your Future . This is kind of like knowing what the monthly payments will be on a car before buying it—allowing you to prepare mentally and financially for the commitment involved.2: Read That Sticker. and Advancement. trading up to a better job. and personality characteristics required or recommended for this career. talents.” Answer the following questions on your Test Drive Checklist: • Does this career require specific certification? • What certifying organizations are most common? • What is the likelihood of advancement (getting a promotion. Part Two: The Fine Print 1.6.” Answer the following questions on your Test Drive Checklist: • What is the college major(s) or training program best related to this career? 2. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know from the beginning if you need two.1? 4. or. do you think you have the ability and willingness to learn them? Now take a look at your personality type or profile (Mile Marker 2.2 MILE Understand the Requirements Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Answer the following question on your Test Drive Checklist: Do you have the skills or talents required for this career.6). Mile Marker Exercise 6. Answer the following question on your Test Drive Checklist: Does this career fit your personality type? List any pros or cons you may have uncovered about this career on the last page of the checklist. Look under “Other Qualifications” for the skills.
which is nice because especially at the FBO. Did I mention I am also a pilot? . and I know for a fact that I would not have moved through the ranks as fast as I did had I not had those college degrees and the desire to be more than just a line fueler. but think about what skills you can practice. I had the benefit of taking eight weeks at a time to study a subject that officers were given 16 to 24 hours of instruction in. 911 public safety telecommunicator Mile Marker 6: The Walk Around 63 d To work at a fixed base of operation (FBO) or airline like I have done. I have a bachelor’s in general studies and a master’s in public administration. hostage intervention. you can earn a good wage and have a nice life. Some of our best employees are fresh out of high school. you can’t start practicing medicine on your friends and family. If not. St or ie S f r o m the r oa —Steven. After being trained in the communications center. and it is between you (the college grad) and someone who does not have a degree. I knew more about the state’s criminal code and traffic laws than my other coworkers. Even if you just work part time while going to school. you will get the job. and so much more. I did go to college. don’t get discouraged. those real life skills are invaluable. I found other specialties to receive certifications in. so it may be helpful to ask friends or family members for insight. line manager for an aviation fixed base operation company No college was required for my position to qualify. Do they think that you have the skills or talents required for this career or the ability to learn them? Do they think your personality matches this career? Going the Extra Mile: Start Practicing Now Test out the skills related to this career in your own backyard. but where else do you get to work with multi-million dollar aircraft every day? Colleges will tell you that if you apply for a job after graduation.Help from Family and Friends: Do You Have What It Takes? The last couple questions might be a little tricky to answer yourself. However. Sure. you do not have to go to college. this may be an easy fit. and you are totally marketable. such as suicide negotiations. you could be a waiter or waitress. your skills can improve with practice and training. couple that degree with four years of on-the-job experience. —Matt. which showed members of the command staff what an asset I could be. If you are interested in being a therapist. both with an emphasis in aviation administration. In my case. What colleges do not tell you is that if it comes down to you (the college grad who has never worked in the industry) and another person (who has some industry experience) that the college degree will not amount to as much. Many of my criminal justice classes were taught by instructors of the police academy. but it certainly helped me a LOT. you might sign up to be a peer counselor at your school or practice your listening skills with friends and family. domestic violence intervention. Obviously. Pay attention to how well you practice these skills—does it feel natural? If yes.
you can either go back to your Career Lot. Help from Family and Friends: Is Your Idea Consistent? Have a friend or family member take a look at your must-sees. 64 Test Drive Your Future . —Mohandas K. and what you do are in harmony. Answer the following questions on your Test Drive Checklist: Is this career choice consistent with your driving force? (For example.5). Mile Marker Exercise 6. and Driving Force Happiness is when what you think. a job that requires you to frequently “stretch the truth” would be inconsistent. including your skills. choose the next career on your list. what you say. if part of your driving force involves cleaning up the global environment. your values. 4. It is also important to check how it holds up to your must-sees. or do you want to walk around the lot and check out a few more careers before you proceed? Based on your experience with this section so far. Answer the following questions on your Test Drive Checklist: Is this career choice consistent with your values? (For example. but will most likely have the same effect on other parts of your life as well. and run it through Mile Marker 6. With this in mind.) Which values does it match the most.3). do you feel ready to move on to the next part of the test drive. political and spiritual leader from India By now you’ve compared your prospective career path with a number of important components from Section One. or you can continue with the career you are currently test driving and move on to Mile Marker 7. 3. Your career will likely take up between one third and one half of your waking hours between graduation and retirement. Check this career against your top ten must-sees (Mile Marker 1. and interests. 2.3 MILE Check Your Must-Sees. and with which values might this career not align? Check this career against your driving force (Mile Marker 2. and your driving force.2). Doing so early on will not only make your career(s) more enjoyable and satisfying.6. Answer the following questions on your Test Drive Checklist: How does it stack up against your career related and general must-sees? Will it contribute to or take away from your ability to accomplish them? Check this career against your top ten life values (Mile Marker 2. Check In So how did the walk around go for you? After taking a good look at this career vehicle. Values. it’s a good idea to find a career that is consistent with all three of these important elements. values. Gandhi. and ask them if they think your career idea is consistent with all three. taking a job with a company that has a weak pollution policy would not be a good match for you—unless you were being brought in to help them clean up their act!) How does this career choice relate to your driving force? List any pros or cons you may have uncovered about this career on the last page of the checklist. workplace preferences. if you value honesty. and your driving force.3: Consider What’s Most Important 1.
so you’ve done the initial walk around of the vehicle you’re considering. but hold on. it is important to ask the salesperson a few more detailed questions like: Is there a high rate of customer satisfaction among people who have purchased this car? What type of person seems to gravitate toward this car? Soccer Moms? Business people? People with long commutes? What kind of feedback have you heard from customers about this car? Even if you have done plenty of research before arriving at the lot. it is always good to ask questions and get more information from those in the know. and talking about. This mile marker is all about gathering more detailed information about what professionals in your chosen career field are doing. reading. Ready to see how your interest holds up? Mile Marker 7: The Interest Inspection 65 . Just as you would with a prospective new car. Pay attention to your feelings and instincts as you hear what others have to say. let’s dive a little deeper and learn even more about this career to determine if it can maintain your interest over an extended period of time. A word of caution: just as you would be careful not to be swayed by a car salesperson’s enthusiasm for a particular vehicle.Mile Marker 7: The Interest Inspection O MILE 7 k. don’t be completely convinced a career is right for you just because someone tells you it is the greatest career in the world. you’re not quite ready to hop in the driver’s seat yet! While you might really like the car and are probably itching to get behind the wheel.
You can also find suggestions for professional associations and organizations in the career listings in the OOH under “Sources of Additional Information. BUT. (For example. a blog. the American Medical Student Association provides information and supports students going into medicine. (For example. 3. Then below your summary. Some associations provide certification for a profession. and art will be the most rewarding endeavor you can challenge yourself with.) Some of these organizations require membership. and the chance to network with other professionals. There has never been a better time to be an artist than right now! There are plenty of amazing books.) You can even find associations specifically for students who are studying for a particular career. but the really great make you feel that you too. you can become a “Student Affiliate” of the American Institute of CPA’s. Does the material offered hold your interest. or run a different search. or a newsletter that provides an inside look at the field you are considering. and many offer advocacy. remember this is a career.1 MILE Find a Professional Association Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. visual development artist ivi 2.1: Browse a Professional Website 1. and online art forums that can teach you new things and help you get really good. Small people always do that. 66 Test Drive Your Future . continuing education. —Mark Twain. Don’t get discouraged or fall into the “I want it now” mentality. even if it seems a little “over your head”? If the site doesn’t offer much content. Do an internet search for “professional/national/international association of _________” (add the name of the career you’re testing). but most offer free information. Mile Marker Exercise 7.7. ng tip 4.” Spend some time (at least 20 minutes) on the website of a professional association you have found. see if there is a free newsletter you can subscribe to. author and humorist There are professional associations and organizations related to just about every type of career. Art takes knowledge and commitment. can become great. DVD’s. answer the following question: Were you interested in and excited about what professionals in your potential field were discussing? List any pros or cons you may have uncovered about this career on the last page of the checklist. There are often multiple associations for the same career field. Often professional associations allow for you to sign up as a student member. Just keep drawing and use your imagination. which may include additional career and college guidance. Art takes time. dr —Brett. it will span your entire life and touch all of its facets. Write a three to four sentence summary on your Test Drive Checklist of what you learned while exploring the association’s website. entitling you to special benefits.
4. 3. Consider Beth’s experience: After I graduated from college. I had all kinds of medical books on my shelves. firmed up my decision to become an acupuncturist. Mile Marker Exercise 7.2 MILE Start Reading The more that you read. Seuss. or see if you can find recommended reading lists for an entry-level college class (you might be able to find a list on your prospective college’s website). or online. Read the book in as much or as little detail as you need to get a feel for whether or not you find the material interesting. the more places you’ll go. Then below your summary. if you still have an interest in reading it. 5. so go for it! Mile Marker 7: The Interest Inspection 67 . Going the Extra Mile: Keep Reading After glancing through the book. Write three to four sentences summarizing what you learned while skimming through this book on your Test Drive Checklist. but one day. the more things you will know. The more that you learn. You could also do an Internet search for “books about _________” or “best books about _________.4. Answer the following questions on your Test Drive Checklist: Is this career choice consistent with your interests and passions? Which of your interests or passions match this career? List any pros or cons you may have uncovered about this career on the last page of the checklist. even if it seems “over your head”—can help you discover the depth of your interest in the subject. focusing on the chapter titles. what are you waiting for? Don’t get overwhelmed.7. you will still get through an average-sized book in just over a month. This. learn more? Take a look at the interests and passions you uncovered in Mile Markers 2. You may be able to find a reading list on the association websites. combined with the other steps of the test drive process. I wanted to go back to school to become a doctor. Familiarize yourself with the table of contents. Make a list of five books on a subject related to the career you are test driving. Jim gave me a copy of The Complete Book of Chinese Health and Healing by Daniel Reid. headings. This book was fascinating to me and helped convinced me that Chinese Medicine was something I was very interested in studying. If you read for only ten minutes a day.3 and 2. and anything in bold or italics. 2. writer and cartoonist Have you ever read a book related to your career of interest? Do you know what the experts in this career field are reading and/or writing about on the subject? Reading something related to your future career field—again.com. Pick up one of the books on your list from a local library. bookstore.2: Discover What the Experts are Reading 1. but didn’t know which type of medicine I wanted to practice. answer the following questions: Are you interested in what you read? Did reading this book make you want to read more. maybe even in e-book format.” Search for your subject on Amazon. —Dr.
you might have trouble finding job listings—and if you do. In this mile marker. While it is very possible that the jobs you find won’t match the job you’ve been dreaming about. answer the following question: Are you interested in what professionals in your potential career field are actually doing? List any pros or cons you may have uncovered about this career on the last page of the checklist. state. choose the next career on the list. or try your search on a different career website.3 MILE Explore the Job Market Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit. you can go back to your Career Lot. As the director. and because of this they are often depressed and unmotivated. 68 Test Drive Your Future d I am director of clinical services for a start-up company that helps people who are undergoing treatment for diabetic foot ulcers. Part of my job is helping people who are not ready to change. you should have a good idea of what some of the jobs in the career you are test driving might look like. 3. St or 2. .com. and the actions they are willing to take to help in the healing process. not only will you learn about the specific tasks involved in each job. fears. I make about 15 phone calls a day to people all over the country who are having this treatment. Go to one of the job bank sites recommended by CareerOneStop. Mile Marker Exercise 7. —Frank Borman. Then below your summary. Now it’s time to get more specific information by exploring actual positions for which companies are hiring right now. Some of them are facing the possibility of a leg amputation. Keep in mind that if you are looking at a highly specialized or rare career path. If the first listings you turn up don’t offer much information about the job. the educational and experience requirements. and begin again with Mile Marker 6. remember that the real purpose of this exercise is to see what kinds of jobs are available within this career field so you can get a good feel for whether or not they will be able to maintain your interest for an extended period of time.3: Discover What’s Out There in the Real World 1. widen your search by using a broader career category. Find at least five different jobs and read through the entire post for each. Search the site for jobs within the career field you are test driving and choose whether or not you would like to narrow the search results to a particular city. If the career you’ve been test driving still holds your interest.7. astronaut After exploring the OOH. part of my job is to figure out how we will move forward clinically. a larger geographic area. and the expected salary range.org—we suggest CareerBuilder. and to write clinical manuals and papers to help publicize the business—but I also get to work directly with the clients my company is serving. ie S f r o m the r oa —Drew. Write a three to four sentence summary of what you learned while reading the job descriptions on your Test Drive Checklist. or zip code. embrace change by talking to them about their hopes. 4. click around until you find posts that have more detailed descriptions. you’ll get an inside look at the companies that are hiring. director of clinical services of a startup medication/treatment adherence company Check In Is this career still maintaining your interest? If not. proceed to Mile Marker 8.
The same is true for your career decision process. It is absolutely essential to speak with professionals who have walked the path before you—people who could provide you with valuable information and insights about the career you are test driving. including experts who are trained to help you with career decisions.Mile Marker 8: Expert Advice H MILE 8 ow helpful would it be to talk with someone who owns the same car you’re looking to buy? You would probably get a lot of inside information about how it drives. Mile Marker 8: Expert Advice 69 . its special benefits and challenges. and reliability—basically a whole lot about his or her personal experience owning this vehicle. This mile marker guides you through doing just that and will put you in contact with a number of different professionals.
You should not go all the way through the test drive process without the benefit of some personalized. or apprenticeships in this career field? On your Test Drive Checklist write a three to four sentence summary of what you learned from your meeting. graduate in community development 70 Test Drive Your Future d I was not sure when I first started college what subject area I was interested in. 4. playwright Have you had the chance to speak with a career or guidance counselor about your future career path? Career counselors know the right questions to ask about the career path you are considering. Can he or she suggest people in the area whom you could interview or shadow? Is he or she aware of internships. ie S f r o m the 2. Share your career interest with the counselor and ask for feedback and resources. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. so talking with a career or guidance counselor is the first step of this mile marker. I met with a career counselor and she suggested community development. Then below your summary. check your local phonebook for a career center or career counselor in your area. St or r oa —Samantha. Schedule an appointment with the career or guidance counselor at your school. The more I looked into the courses being offered and the job opportunities. my hope in choosing this career path is that I can help other individuals build and create communities in an age where communities in the traditional sense are fading. If you don’t have one at your school. Having grown up in Vermont. the more I realized this was the career path for me. 3. answer the following questions: Did the counselor think this career would be a good fit for you? Why or why not? List any pros or cons you may have uncovered about this career on the last page of the checklist. where I felt a strong sense of community.8. but I did know I wanted to do something to help individuals. Mile Marker Exercise 8. and they also have access to tools designed to help you narrow down (or expand) your options if you are having trouble making a decision.1 MILE Meet with a Career Counselor To accept good advice is but to increase one’s own ability. professional advice. volunteer opportunities.1: Feedback from a Professional 1. . or for an additional opinion.
2: Getting an Informational Interview 1. which will come in handy when you interact with college professors and future employers. —Dori. Use all of your resources— teachers.8. Use what you have to to do what you want to do… Surround yourself with good. In this step you’ll conduct an informational interview. ask if they can put you in touch to schedule an interview. family. Download the Informational Interview Checklist from the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. Informational interviews also provide a great opportunity to begin networking with people in your local community. The more people you know. People love to share their wisdom. It’s wonderful to create connections with more experienced individuals who can serve as mentors in the future. supportive people. in the near future or further down the road. If so. (Did you list anyone in Mile Marker 4. about 70–80% of jobs are found through networking. community. Also.3 or 4. which will give you a chance to see your prospective career through the eyes of someone already working in the field. Your guidance or career counselor may be able to help you with this by providing a list of companies or professionals in the area. or even college. 3. Networking is important because: • It helps you become comfortable conversing with adults. Don’t try to do it alone. the more opportunities you will have. director. Mile Marker Exercise 8. and how to get the most out of it. Ask questions.6 whom you wanted to contact?) 2. You’ll have a chance to listen to professionals’ stories about what they do in their job. playwright • It could help you find a job. friends. what led them to their careers. According to Lindsey Pollack. Mile Marker 8: Expert Advice dr 71 . It’s a great way to gain experience and to create connections. You might not hear much about networking in high school. what questions to ask. look in your local phone book for businesses that might have owners or employees who work within your area of interest.com for step-by-step instructions on how to get an interview. Read a lot. Identify three people who would be willing to speak with you for 10–20 minutes in an informational interview. or make a connection with someone who will increase your chances of success on your career path. Make opportunities for yourself! There are so many summer internships/apprenticeships/summer stock experiences out there—grab one for yourself. author of Getting from College to Career. but networking is a great way to widen the circle of people you know—and who know you—in your chosen field. and will feel honored that you asked. Talk to friends or family members and ask if they know anyone who works in a career field similar to the one you’re test driving. —James Malinchak. motivational speaker ivi ng tip Talking with professionals working in your potential career field is one of the BEST ways to confirm your interest and narrow down your list of career possibilities. internship. You will glean information and insights hard to find anywhere else. and the biggest benefits and challenges of their work. teaching artist. The purpose of these interviews is to get an inside look at the career you are considering to help you decide if it would be a good fit for you.2 MILE Interview Professionals People are the shortcut to success in the real world.
List any pros or cons you may have uncovered about this career on the last page of the checklist. write on your Test Drive Checklist the name and job title of the person you interviewed. Put yourself in the best possible position to understand what opportunities are out there and then get out there and start doing things related to it: shadow someone in this position.com). and inviting them to a pretend interview. Be sure your own e-mail address is appropriate (not luvs2party@yahoo. singer/songwriter (Beach–Cowboy. Did your interview with this person energize you and generate more interest in this career field? Circle your answer on the checklist. there is just one more step to the test drive: Mile Marker 9! 72 Test Drive Your Future d College and networking were huge players in how I landed a job with the company I work for. but in my line of work it is essential. After you complete each interview. Be sure to find out his or her title and role within the company. and met many interesting people from all over the world who have encouraged me along the way. Bring along a parent or friend to sit nearby (but not at your table) if you are especially nervous. 7. I was able to land an interview with my company only because I knew someone through a college organization that was able to recommend me. • You could make your initial contact by e-mail instead of calling. introducing yourself. Schedule the interview in a public location (a quiet coffee shop or restaurant). If you feel ready to move forward. One of the most interesting parts of my job is the network of people I have met while performing. • Research the professional before you contact him or her. and write your message as clearly as possible. —Manisha. medical student 6. record the interview so you won’t get distracted by taking notes. associate category manager of a large packaged foods company —Jason Parchert. this part of the test drive took a lot of courage to complete! By now you should have a much better idea of whether you want to continue moving forward and get behind the wheel or head back to the Career Lot and begin another walk around with Mile Marker 6. By searching his or her name on the Internet. the less nervous you will feel. punctuation.com) Check In Congratulations. My company. and TALK to people who have been through it all. • • • • Write out your questions for the person in advance. and a three to four sentence summary of what you learned. . talk to people who do that exact thing or something similar and find out what it would be like! These individuals will be your best resource in finding out what your future career will look like. If the professional allows it.4. The more prepared and informed you are. and they look closely at college students who come with recommendations. I have done TV and radio shows. dr 5. the date of the interview. like many others. use correct grammar. traveled to Europe for my music. read about the different issues in this field. and complete sentences when writing. here are a few tips that might make it easier: • Practice calling a friend or family member. If you feel nervous about talking with people you’ve never met. ng tip ivi • Try interviewing someone you know first (or start with a contact recommended by a friend or family member). Every success that I’ve had can be traced back to someone I met along the path my life has taken me. only recruits college students. St or ie S f r o m the r oa —Jessica. you might learn of that person’s professional accomplishments. This will make it easier when you are ready to actually call a professional. Networking is important in any business. If you find something you think you may be interested in.
This part of the test drive will be the most time intensive so far. after all the time you’ve put into researching.Mile Marker 9: Behind the Wheel F MILE 9 inally. and reading about your chosen vehicle it’s time to really test drive it! You are excited. and volunteering. The salesperson hands you the keys and now you can experience for yourself how this baby drives! This mile marker gets you behind the wheel of your chosen career—taking classes. Ready to get behind the wheel? Mile Marker 8: Behind the Wheel 73 . interviewing. but also the most fun because it brings you the closest to experiencing your chosen career first-hand. job shadowing. Because of this it should also be the most helpful in determining whether this career is a good fit for you.
r oa I chose dentistry because I love science. I made this choice after shadowing my family dentist. dr ie S f r o m the 5. an entire day. job shadow dentists you know. Help from Family and Friends: Shadow Your Family Have you ever shadowed your parent(s) or another family member at work? It may not be the perfect career fit. —Yogi Berra. or longer. Mile Marker Exercise 9. the date of the job shadow. and what skills he or she uses. “Shadowing” is the act of following and observing a person in his or her workplace— being that person’s figurative shadow—for a certain amount of time. That’s the best way to get an idea of what goes on. Going the Extra Mile: Virtual Shadowing It is also possible to do virtual job shadows online. the low-key environment of a small.1 MILE Job Shadow Someone at Work You can see a lot just by observing. The treatment challenges involved with every new case. friendly practice. Answer the following question on your checklist: After your job shadow experience. Download the Job Shadow Checklist from the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. and a three to four sentence summary of what you learned. 4. can you see yourself working in this career field? St or 2. You might shadow someone for a few hours. but the experience could give you a nice inside perspective on the working world and what types of workplaces you are most (or least) interested in.1: Observe and Report 1. visit the Navigation Center. consider asking that person first. and the joy of building connections with a community of patients inspired me to follow in his footsteps. write on your Test Drive Checklist the name and job title of the person you shadowed. —Jill. working with my hands. Set up a job shadow where you can observe someone for four to eight hours. and interacting with other people. My advice to high school students is to work hard in school. and try to interview one and ask them your real questions. 74 Test Drive Your Future —Brad. Absolutely go volunteer or ask if you can shadow a librarian for a couple of days. through a professional association. senior children’s librarian Find someone you’d like to observe at work and ask: “May I shadow you at work for a day to learn about your job?” If you had a positive interaction with one of the people you interviewed. Shadowing allows you to see what that person does on a given day. depending on the person’s availability. After you complete your job shadow. professional baseball player ivi ng tip Job shadowing provides an excellent opportunity to get a first-hand look at the career in which you are interested.com for a list of things to keep in mind before and during your job shadow. 3. For links to these resources. or local Junior Achievement office. and get involved with dental organizations in your community. You might also find people to job shadow through your guidance or career center.9. with whom he or she might interact. . local Chamber of Commerce. number of hours. dental student d List any pros or cons you may have uncovered about this career on the last page of the checklist.
2: Getting a Volunteer or Intern Position 1.9. etc. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a volunteer or intern position: • You may not find an internship or volunteer position doing your dream job. volunteering or interning can definitely give you a broader picture. They might be able to make use of volunteers. Again. but a local real estate business or newspaper (both of which involve a lot of advertising) could have similar office settings. or if you are looking to build your resume. Answer the following question on your checklist: After this experience. followed by a few more hours of observing a naturopathic doctor and helping around her office. 4. Remember you are putting yourself in a position to help them.2 MILE Volunteer or Intern The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. see if you can match this interest by volunteering to work on the organization’s website or advertising flyers. the date completed. however. and a three to four sentence summary of what you learned from your experience. Mile Marker Exercise 9. flexible. so you may have to get creative. For example. which was the final step in helping me determine that I preferred Chinese medicine over naturopathic medicine. and it just so happened that they were both looking for help! So for several months I apprenticed with an acupuncturist for four hours every Friday morning.1). your school’s guidance or career office is a great place to launch your search (as well as the other places suggested in 9. Gandhi. if your dream intern or volunteer job is not available. If you are interested in graphic or web design. consider making the most of this opportunity by finding a non-profit organization doing valuable work related to your career interests. political and spiritual leader from India One day on the job will probably not reveal all of what goes on behind the scenes of your prospective career. Many companies (especially small businesses) may not have official positions available. 2. studio. After you complete your volunteer/intern experience.) doing similar work to what you might expect later. try to find a place with a somewhat similar work environment (office. for example. At the very least you would be able to get an inside look into office life and decide if it fits your personality and workplace preferences. After my interviews. . Emphasize your desire to volunteer in an attempt to learn more about this career field and to help you make a decision about your future. I asked the professionals if there were any opportunities to volunteer or apprentice in their clinics. but they may still be open to having help. and eager to learn. especially if you are pleasantly persistent. number of hours. Find a volunteer or internship opportunity that somehow relates to the career you are test driving. write on your Test Drive Checklist the name of the company. shop. • If you have to do community service to meet a school requirement. A short-term volunteer or intern opportunity (at least 10–20 hours) will help you get the experience you need to make an educated decision about whether or not this is the right career path for you. • Again. Mile Marker 8: Behind the Wheel 75 3. can you see yourself working in this career field? List any pros or cons you may have uncovered about this career on the last page of the checklist. your position or role. Consider Beth’s experience: I turned two of my informational interviews into intern positions just by being in the right place at the right time. Most people will be willing to accommodate you. maybe you can’t get into a big advertising agency. —Mohandas K. This gave me a chance to see each doctor in action.
wilderness ranger 76 Test Drive Your Future d To a great degree. I got my degree in Criminal Justice. we were allowed to ride along with them during their shifts. classroom management skills are not really something that can be taught in school—you just need to get out there in real situations so you can learn how to handle them. 911 public safety telecommunicator A key step in becoming a National Park Ranger is spending a season at a national park as an intern. my career path chose me. Attend community events. They were. If you think you want to be a teacher.Help from Family and Friends: A Foot in the Door Talk to friends or family members and ask if they know of any companies or non-profit organizations taking volunteers or interns. and two weeks later they offered me the position. They sent me for a physical. and I love what I do. I was devastated. join clubs and groups that interest you. law enforcement. 2nd grade teacher ie S f r o m the St dr ivi ng tip or r oa —Matt. attorney What would be even better than getting an unpaid internship or volunteer position to help test drive your future career? How about a PAID position? Don’t discount the possibility that you might actually be able to make some part-time or summer income from a job related to your potential future career. You will draw on the connections you are making right now throughout your career. You never know where the next opportunity may come from. Look for opportunities everywhere. volunteer. . rehabilitation. having a summer job working with children will definitely help you figure out if it will be a good fit for you. I knew what I wanted to do for a living. We started off by learning what the police did and doing training scenarios. This short-term investment will open you to a myriad of opportunities to work in the national park. —Jennifer. duties. I was the first person to fail the test in 20 years. You need to be around kids all day to see if you really want to teach them. Going the Extra Mile: A Paid Test Drive Work diligently in whatever you are doing. etc. You might also consider getting experience closer to home by finding a position at a parent’s or other family member’s workplace. After almost two years of testing. Volunteer for an internship. which included an eye exam. Three days later I went to City Hall to get a registration sticker for my vehicle. interpretation. which is what many teachers find to be the most overwhelming part of teaching. I was about to be hired by a county sheriff as a deputy. These three to four month positions typically expose the student to the roles. and responsibilities of seasonal or full-time rangers. Once the police felt we were taking it seriously. apply to work for a professor. You might have an easier time scoring an opportunity at a company or organization where you have a foot in the door than at a place you call out of the phone book. This helped me a lot with the classroom management side of things. or student hire. I applied. trail crew. —Pablo. By chance. and started testing for police departments. —Michelle. They discovered a vision problem that would prevent me from becoming a police officer. resource management. The first time I got to ride with an officer. wherever you are. Here’s how a now experienced teacher used her summers to test drive a teaching career: I spent my summers working at day care centers with programs for school age children. It’s been over 10 years now. including in fire crew. My best friend in high school got me involved in a local police department’s Law Enforcement Explorer program. Unfortunately. I walked over to the police department and asked if they were hiring for their 911 call center.
the date completed.3 MILE Take a Class Study as if you were going to live forever. So don’t throw out a major because the —Jason Parchert. or even Any opportunity you have to practice or career paths. classes as possible to further your knowledge about the instrument(s) you play. Most educational advice of your elders and always follow pathways are going to lead you from general information slowly your heart. This mile marker will verify your interest level in your perform your music. Listen to the go into enough depth to touch on your interests. Mile Marker Exercise 9.com) higher level courses later on. Try Please keep in mind that most introductory classes are designed to play with more experienced musicians. write on your Test Drive Checklist the name of the course. the University of Massachusetts offers a High School Health Career Program for sophomores and juniors interested in healthcare and science professions. For example.9. you might find an “Introduction to Journalism” course at a community college near you or maybe a class like “Writing for Magazines” at a community education center. After you finish the course. astronomer Before you decide on your future career. if you think you want to pursue a career in journalism. so stick with it if the career genuinely interests you. singer/songwriter intro class seems boring! Most of the “hands-on” stuff appears in (Beach–Cowboy. dr 3. Take as many career path. 2. at a community college. helping you make the most informed decision. Answer the following question on your checklist: After taking the course.3: Complete a Course 1. Mile Marker 8: Behind the Wheel 77 . online. or at the college you are planning to attend. if your prospecYou can learn a lot from them. either in high school. and a three to four sentence summary of what you learned about the major or career you are test driving. live as if you were going to die tomorrow. does this major/career still excite and interest you? List any pros or cons you may have uncovered about this career on the last page of the checklist. 4. schools. Going the Extra Mile: Summer Opportunities Make the most of your summers! Check out schools in your area for summer study programs related to your career field of interest. do not rule anything out. we absolutely recommend you take at least one course related to it. to give you a broad overview of a subject. Find and enroll in a course related to the career you are test driving. by reducing the likelihood of changing majors. an introductory course might not all. ng tip ivi Why would you want to do this now? Spending a little time and money taking a class or two now could save you time and To someone just starting out in music money later on. take it. —Maria Mitchell. through a community learning center. Therefore. the number of hours. Most of tive career is highly specialized. For example. not to mention preventing many future headaches I would say to do it as much as possible. into more specific training.
what do we mean by “passed”? Just because you got through all of the steps doesn’t mean that the career passed. if you discover the career doesn’t pass when all is said and done. you can always continue to test drive other career ideas until you find a better match. congratulations. and volunteering or interning—you’ve had an extensive look at what the working world is really like. you have completed the test drive! A few things running through your head when pulling a car you have just test driven back onto the lot might be: Was it a smooth ride? Did I like how it handled? Was it comfortable? Did it have enough “pick-up” for me? Was I impressed with the stereo system? Just by going through this process with your potential career—researching. Don’t worry. and if you read on. Even if the first career you test passes. interviewing. Imagine how many connections you will make. you’ll learn how to score the test drive to find out if you’ve got a winner or not. how much you will learn about the working world. but will also help you choose a career vehicle. job shadowing. and how much more experience you’ll be able to list on your resume if you test drive more than one career! Mile Marker 10 will not only help you score the test drive. and introduce you to an extreme test drive called a gap year. Mile Marker 10: Passing the Test Drive 79 . there are benefits to test driving multiple careers. Now it’s time to determine (if you don’t already know) whether the career(s) you have driven passed the test drive. First of all. networking with professionals.Mile Marker 10: Passing the Test Drive I 10 MILE f you’ve made it to this mile marker.
Are any of the NO’s deal-breakers (meaning that this career failed the test drive)? If so. 4. If YES’s greatly outnumber NO’s you may have a winner on your hands. you might discover that even though you’ve answered YES to most questions. which one(s)? Write these answers on your Test Drive Checklist. and getting a certain score doesn’t automatically determine whether a career passes or fails—that will be determined by your answers on the checklist and the overall feeling you have about the career at the end of the test drive. you may still feel that the career is not a match for you in some way. So.1: Find Your Score 1. If there are any questions to which you answered NO but still want to consider this as a possible career field. you may have found a career that will be a perfect match for you! However. and unafraid whether right or wrong. If you have answered YES to almost every question. how would you get around or justify the NO’s? Write your answer on your Test Drive Checklist. you would want to look closely at why you answered NO and determine whether or not the reason is a deal-breaker. —Irving Wallace. Start by adding up the number of YES’s and the number of NO’s on the Test Drive Checklist and write the results at the bottom of the checklist. Pay attention to that feeling. Take a look at your YES to NO ratio. 3. In this case.3. 5. Take a look at the NO’s. 80 Test Drive Your Future . you might be able to look past NO’s that were triggered by an interview with someone whose personality conflicted with yours in Mile Marker 8. You will start this mile marker by adding up the YES and NO answers on the Test Drive Checklist. did this career pass the test drive? Note your answer on your Test Drive Checklist. is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformity. with all of this in mind. you might want to explore the next career on your lot. To score the test drive. you might have a tougher time getting around that. It is also possible that even if you’ve answered NO a significant number of times. in some cases. What is a deal-breaker? It’s a NO that you just can’t get around. complete the exercise below: Mile Marker Exercise 10. If the opposite is true. if you found that in 6. There are no right or wrong answers.10. For example. that you will still feel drawn to that career. screenwriter Scoring the test drive is not like grading a multiple-choice quiz. 2. But keep in mind that though the YES to NO ratio should give you a good idea of whether or not this career is a match for you. your true answer will always come down to how you feel about the results as a whole. the career does not align with your values or your driving force. However. or if you took a class with an uninspired professor in 9.1 MILE Score the Test Drive To be one’s self.2.3.
so all you need to do right now is find your next vehicle. If you chose D or E. follow the instructions below to figure out what to do next.10. read “If More Than One Career Passes the Test Drive” on the next page. read through Mile Marker 10. I feel confident about this career being a good fit for me and I’m going for it! B. and then check the appropriate box at the end of the Test Drive Checklist. E. select a different career from the Career Lot and run it through the test drive beginning with Mile Marker 6. You may also want to consider taking a gap year to do an extreme test drive! See Mile Marker 10. Martin Kohe. If the Career Vehicle Passed the Test Drive: dr ivi ng tip Congratulations! If you have a career that passed the test drive. Maybe. and first-hand experience.3 to learn more. If you are curious about taking an extreme test drive in the form of a gap year. and by test driving it.2 MILE Choose a Vehicle The greatest power that a person possesses is the power to choose. No. you are ready to move on to Section Three. If you chose B. I’m not interested in pursuing this career. Read through the following statements and choose which one best describes how you feel about the career you’ve test driven. Maybe. Don’t forget to sign and date the checklist. C. or do you want to keep shopping for a better fit? Based on the results of the test drive (whether or not the career vehicle passed). —J. D. but I’m having trouble deciding between two or more careers. writer and psychologist You have the results of your first test drive—so what do you do now? Are you ready to drive a new career vehicle off the lot. job shadows. If you chose C. you’re ensuring that it’s the best next vehicle for you. Remember that the career vehicle you choose now is not necessarily the vehicle you’ll drive forever. and look for additional interviews. but I need to get more experience in this career field before making a decision. Yes. Maybe. but I’d like to test drive another career first. Like we said before. you’ll probably have a number of different careers throughout your life. • Mile Marker 10: Passing the Test Drive 81 . you should be feeling really confident about choosing this vehicle because your decision is now backed by hours of research. consider spending some more time with the activities in Mile Markers 8 and 9.3 before you continue. Follow the instructions below based on which answer you chose: • • • If you chose A. interviews. A. or internships to get more experience.
Perhaps you’ll even find a career that is a “hybrid engine” of sorts! Check out Manisha’s example on page 92. a little too impractical? While you might be tempted to choose a more practical path over your dream career because you’re afraid you won’t succeed or because you are worried about what your family. wasn’t based on money. Or perhaps you could work both ideas into a double major or one into a minor. but how heavily you weigh each one. and sort out your preference by taking courses in each and through continued interviews with people in these careers. senior children’s librarian Your Dream Vehicle Is there a “dream vehicle” sitting in your Career Lot? A career that you’ve been dreaming about. professional 82 Test Drive Your Future d I formally decided to be a librarian when I reached a point in my life where I realized that whatever other goal I was purportedly pursuing (and there had been several).If the Career Vehicle Didn’t Pass: If the first career you tried didn’t pass. but I changed my mind midway through school and am now a children’s librarian with the public library. gave me the freedom to be creative. or teachers expect from you—keep in mind that if a dream isn’t explored. dive back into the activities in Section One to come up with more ideas. I’d had a hard time deciding on anything. To do so. Sometimes one pro or one con feels much more important than another. You might also consider a long-term opportunity like a gap year to gain more perspective or experience (see 10. don’t worry.3). St or 2. You could even do this for two careers simultaneously until one path clearly stands out to suit you better. If More Than One Career Passes the Test Drive: What do you do if you can’t decide between multiple career paths? If you have two or more careers that have passed the test drive (meaning you have completed every step). that seems perfect for you but a little out of your reach. and you still can’t decide between them. If the careers follow a similar educational path (major. and see if one career stands out from the other. I kept ending up working in libraries. It’s not necessarily about which one has more pros or more cons. maybe I should pursue this for real. internship. friends. and work with kids without having to spend so much time disciplining them or grading papers. there are so many others to choose from! You can run the test drive as many times as you need until you find the perfect fit. was somewhat casual. My original goal was to be a school librarian. but this made sense. we see three possibilities: 1. degree. first look in your Career Lot to see if you have another career vehicle that you would like to test drive. Take a look at the pros and cons lists you have been assembling for each career throughout the test drive. 3. it may someday turn into one of your biggest regrets. If not. Then I thought. You could try to gain more experience in each career through extended volunteer. I thought about the different things I knew I wanted in a job—something that helped the community. After I had that realization and thought about what I really enjoyed versus what I’d imagined I would enjoy. There are countless examples of great thinkers. . hey. and this evaluation may help one choice clearly emerge as the winner. course requirements) you could begin your studies with both paths in mind. be around books. or job opportunities in one or all fields that passed the test drive (more than the ten hours suggested by the test drive). ie S f r o m the r oa —Jill.
you’ll land among the stars.” Consider the story of singer/songwriter Jason Parchert: It was not until after I spent a year in college and considered other more “logical” career options— I went to school to become an architect—that I decided to give a music career a shot. I knew I had to give that dream a chance or I would always wonder. As author and motivational speaker Les Brown once said.athletes. I believe we all have a place and a purpose. and throughout his life he was critiqued as not having a “logical mind.” Oprah Winfrey was fired as a news anchor because executives “didn’t like her look. “Shoot for the moon. or a professional baseball player. or Alex Rodriguez doesn’t mean that you can’t have a lot of fun and make a great living doing what you love to do. Leo Tolstoy (author of War and Peace) was described by his teachers as “both unable and unwilling to learn. Here are a few: • • • • • • • • • Cyndi Lauper (singer of hit “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”) was told that she had a “ruined voice” and would never be able to sing. someone has to become a bestselling author.” Comedian Jim Carrey was booed offstage when he was fifteen years old. Now she’s a Grammy Award-winning singer.” Walt Disney was fired for having “no good ideas. but I’m sure I would not have been at peace knowing I could have done something I loved even more. The feeling that I was meant to play music was the biggest factor in my decision to pursue this career path. Mile Marker 10: Passing the Test Drive 83 . just because you might not be the next Brad Pitt. “What if?” So. I would have very much enjoyed being an architect. After spending a weekend in Nashville I knew that’s where I needed to be. Even if you miss. Director Steven Spielberg was rejected from UCLA Film School. I was working as a DJ spinning other singers’ records— yes. and we will never be content until we find that. Rowling.” While it is true that achieving super-stardom is a long-shot for most of us. Colonel Sanders was told that he was “too old” to start a business and was rejected hundreds of times before selling his chicken recipe that led to KFC. J. Once I realized how long it would take me to get my architecture degree I changed my major to broadcasting and learned about radio for a semester. but they went for it anyway. so why couldn’t it be you? Besides.K. and rockstars who were once told they didn’t have the talent to achieve their dreams. at the age of 20 I rolled into Music City with all of my earthly possessions crammed into the back of my 1986 S-10 pickup truck. I wanted to see if I had what it takes to be the one on the cd being played on the radio. we even still had some vinyl in those days—when I got my first close look at the country music industry. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. a Hollywood actor. When Albert Einstein was a young boy. he was thought to be mentally retarded.
10. and ready to learn since they’ve already discovered what they are truly passionate about. During my own gap year. or apprenticing with a local artist or small business—the possibilities are endless! Many gap year participants find an opportunity that is right for them through a gap year placement organization. consider taking a gap year. On a practical level. president of the Center for Interim Programs Becoming a ski instructor in Canada. —Campbell Sallabank. They may have determined what kind of work they want to do in the world. and lecturer If you want to learn as much as you can about a possible future career path. A gap year could include things like traveling independently or with a group. If you are not ready to go straight to college after high school—either because you can’t decide on a major.3 MILE Consider an Extreme Test Drive Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. more mature and to that end. more worldly. —Holly Bull. these students (gap year participants) have a better idea of who they are and what they can handle away from the familiarity of friends. You could spend time working with endangered animals at a nature preserve in Africa. energized. would see all of those things as a great benefit. political activist. or volunteering with a non-profit or government-sponsored service program. a better leader. family. More colleges and universities are looking favorably upon students who have taken gap years because these students consistently come to school more mature. focused. A gap year is like an extreme test drive because it gives you a chance to “get your hands dirty. Gap years are becoming more popular in the United States. teaching English in Cambodia or helping run summer camps in Russia…would make you more confident. Within three weeks. author.au How to Know if You Should Consider a Gap Year 1. particularly the more progressive ones. I spent four months in Hawaii doing aquaculture research with visions of becoming a marine biologist. and see a career in action over an extended period of time. I realized I had no patience for field research. and culture. On a personal level.” gain some experience. This is not the kind of knowledge one can easily glean from a classroom setting. or at least have a sense of work environments that may or may not suit them. and several are recommended in the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. If you are pretty sure about a particular career path. CEO of career and networking site Linkme. they are building a resume before they hit college. This excitement often results in students graduating from college in less time and launching into their careers earlier and with greater success than those who don’t take a gap year. —Helen Keller. or school and career. but need some more real-world experience before you make a decision. Most employers now. interning with a company. college and graduate school.com. a better employee. or because you need a little break from sitting in a classroom—a gap year can be a time to rejuveTest Drive Your Future 84 . consider taking a gap year. Many colleges and universities allow students who have been accepted to defer for a year before beginning their studies. Here’s how a few experts explain the benefits of a gap year: Weeding out what is not of interest is as helpful as discovering what is. 2. although they have been common for young adults in other countries like England and Australia for many years.com. A gap year is a period of time off—it doesn’t have to be a full year—between high school and college. tutoring inner-city kids through AmeriCorps.
I formed a band. helped paint signs to aid in a mayan ceremony. and while in Guatemala I bought a cheap acoustic guitar just to practice and keep writing. I taught music class and created my own curriculum. that we want to support your gap year vision. and I realized that I wanted to seriously pursue my music. that I realized my dream had come true. visit the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. and explore your future career possibilities with real tangible experiences. marketing. including some of our Gap Year Scholarship applicants. Excerpt from Yearout. I was one of a 40-strong European team of young explorers working with experienced scientists from the University of Peru to carry out biodiversity studies to aid the ongoing battle to preserve the Amazon Jungle. and then the next we were playing wheelchair basketball! For about five weeks we did projects in San Juan la Laguna. and gave me the abilities to basically be conversant down there. I think because of all that time. There was a lot of time for personal reflection. So. I am a songwriter/composer. Planning an Extreme Test Drive If the possibility of taking a gap year excites you. Magic Carpet Rides. learn more about yourself. . but it’s one of those things that you usually dream about rather than do. I really have a good portfolio put together for music school in the future. and try a completely new experience— a gap year can provide this sort of adventure as well. advertising the band. designing and printing merchandise like t-shirts and CDs. but we haven’t seen many that will help you with your travel. playing gigs. and very diverse. 3. taking vocal lessons. If you need to spread your wings. It was only when traveling up the Amazon River. We believe so much in the idea of taking some time to see the world. designing logos. picked songs to teach. recording. The activities that my gap year organization. had the kids make instruments one day. we climbed Mt. —BSES Expeditions Participant. and really honing in on my composition skills as well. Pacaya volcano. planned were great. did a little trail work.com. volunteer. leadership.nate and get clearer about what you want to study before you continue your schooling. please visit our website TestDriveYourFuture. links to a wide range of gap year organizations’ web sites. St or ie S f r o m the r oa —Bill Doerrfeld. meet new people. Winner of the Test Drive Your Future Gap Year Scholarship 2009 Exploring the Amazon Jungle has always been an ambition of mine. lead singer of Fit for Hounds. One weekend while staying in Antigua.com Mile Marker 10: Passing the Test Drive 85 d My gap year program in Guatemala gave me a wealth of cool experiences! The month long Spanish course in Antigua was intense. and stories from students who have taken gap years. get beyond your comfort zone. I also taught English to artists. creating a month-long summer school/camp for the local kids. and taught basic music principles. after I got back to the United States. Gap Year Scholarship There are tons of scholarships out there to help pay for college.com for more information about how to plan a gap year. surrounded by curious dolphins and overwhelmed by the resonating sounds of howler monkeys. and took photographs of products for a weavers association to help them create an advertising packet. For an application or to learn more about our Gap Year Scholarship. and adventure goals. and for the second semester basically did a lot of songwriting. practicing.
87 . Likewise. and this means you have the freedom to choose exactly where you want to go with your new career vehicle. you have signed the papers and the car salesperson hands you the keys.Driving Away in Your New Vehicle Imagine. even if you are a bit nervous. we hope you feel prepared. and pull out of the lot. The vehicle you have thoroughly researched and test driven is now your very own. Where will you go first? Whom will you take for a ride? You are both excited and a little nervous as you plug in your iPod. now that you’ve test driven your future. It’s real. where will you go? Section Three will give you the tools you need to best navigate your career path and will also leave you with some last minute advice to help make your journey as smooth. turn the key in the ignition. and excited about your journey! You are in the driver’s seat for real now. So. fun. confident. and successful as possible.
Let’s take a look at a few things that will help you navigate your journey as successfully as possible. maps.Mile Marker 11: Navigation Support M 11 MILE any types of navigation support are available to you when you need to drive somewhere—you might have a GPS. Mile Marker 11: Navigation Support 89 . or a friend in the passenger seat to keep you on course and help you get where you want to go.
I would like to see myself working with communities. professional chef I am hoping to work for a non-profit organization that deals with rural development or immigration. but the key is to keep your destination clear and succinct so you can remember it. You could walk in and get freshly made ice cream. what is your destination? In this mile marker you’ll write a “destination statement. pies. and other dessert foods. professional basketball player Remember back at the beginning of the book when you pinpointed your location with the “Where You Are… in 50 Words or Less” exercise from Mile Marker 1. You can phrase your statement however you like. followed by dessert of course! —Bianca. but also your desired destination. —Brad.11.1 MILE Declare Your Destination I visualized where I wanted to be. dental student My dream and goal is to have a vegan café by the time I turn 25. Write your destination statement here: 90 Test Drive Your Future . and so that others can understand and envision your destination easily.3 or your driving force in Mile Marker 2. and part sit-down cafe. and I focused on getting there. ten years. —Samantha. Think about where you want to be in the future: in five years. cakes.5 for help in writing your statement. bringing individuals together to meet common goals. You may find that you want to revisit your must-sees in Mile Marker 1. graduate in community development 2. Mile Marker Exercise 11. For it to work properly. cupcakes. or beyond.1: Writing Your Destination Statement 1. but also make it easier for others to assist you along the way.2? Now you are going to fill in the other half of the equation. either nationally or internationally. I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Or you could sit down and have a meal. So. I want to build strong relationships with families that are maintained throughout my career. now that you’ve chosen your new career vehicle. what kind of player I wanted to become.” which will not only help you navigate your journey. See the examples below: My mission is to open up a practice in a wonderful community and serve that community by providing dental care. Part old style ice cream parlor. a GPS unit requires not only your current location. Jot down your thoughts then organize them into a clear statement as you did with the “where are you?” exercise. In five years. clearly state it to others. Hopefully I will be enrolled in or have completed a master’s program as well. —Michael Jordan.
or a specific certification or professional license to practice. Mile markers are essential to successfully navigating your career journey. Choosing a Major and Degree If one of the prerequisites for your chosen career includes getting additional training. If the career you’ve chosen requires some form of training or college education (which most will). Keeping track of your requirements along the way will save you from big surprises down the road. special exams. Have a goal. —Thomas Edison. —Jason Parchert. but the key is to make the best of the situation you are in. Is there more than one degree that could lead you to your career of choice? For example. Below are some examples of future mile markers: Deciding on a major and a degree program Choosing the colleges to which you will apply Completing your college applications Applying for financial aid Getting accepted into one or more colleges of your choice Selecting the school you will attend Starting classes Completing an internship Graduating with a degree Getting nationally certified in your profession Getting a professional license to work in your career Beginning your first job in your new career Getting your first promotion Starting your own business I think it is vital that people choose a career they will love. We will all have jobs along the way that we do not love. Knowing what is expected of you from the beginning will allow you to lay out all of your requirements as college and career mile markers that you can integrate into your overall plan. singer/songwriter (Beach–Cowboy.2 MILE Your Future Mile Markers Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. to become an accountant. internships or apprenticeships.com) Identifying Your Requirements Most careers will have some prerequisites—these requirements could include a particular degree or major. specifically the mile markers which will help you reach your career destination. many of your first mile markers will be related to things you have to do to get through school. a student could either major in accounting or a related major such as business. but many others allow you to choose from several different majors or degrees to reach the same career goal. As you may have learned during your test drive research. on-the-job training. Here are a couple questions to think about: • • Is there more than one major that could lead you to your career of choice? For example. Eventually you will find yourself in a career that fits you and you will look forward to going to work every day. many careers have very well defined training programs. and do at least one thing every day that helps you attain that goal. Mile Marker 11: Navigation Support 91 dr ivi ng tip . inventor and scientist We’ve walked you through ten key mile markers on the road to choosing a career. this may require a particular major or degree. a student wishing to become an architect could choose either a five-year bachelor’s degree program or a path that includes a four year bachelor’s degree and a two year master’s degree. and now it’s time for you to determine what your next set of mile markers will be.11. because they help break the journey up into smaller more easily-accomplished goals or tasks.
do what you want to do. I always knew I wanted to become a doctor. However. I went for coffee with a girlfriend of mine. I realized that I was very interested in all of the courses required. I also knew that I wanted to help out overseas and not simply practice medicine in the United States. There are many great resources online to help you search for and narrow down a list of colleges. its connections with companies in your field of interest. Keep in mind that it is normal for your interests to evolve over time. Just because you want to become a doctor. but now that I’m done with school I know it was the best choice for me—I’m 20 years old and starting my career! Follow your passion! . and she worked with a company that was attached to a children’s salon. I got a job as a receptionist at the kids’ salon and that’s how I got my job there as a stylist right out of school.Here’s some advice about choosing a college major from Manisha. you can apply to medical school. Their website has a feature called the “College Navigator. and during my first quarter. After looking through the requirements for both majors (biology and international studies). Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. it is important to have an interest in at least a majority of the courses.” where you can enter your choice of major and your preferences for location. It is better to make a change early while you are still in school rather than finishing a degree that you don’t want. You can become an art major if that is what you love. and I told her that I had been doing my own and other people’s hair for a couple years. as well as something that will help you grow as a person and aid you in the future. and as long as you fulfill the pre-med requirements (a certain number/type of classes) and take the MCAT. so if you change your mind halfway through your studies. so I kept putting off registering. Don’t do what everyone expects of you. often times students choose a major/ area of study they don’t truly enjoy. and then having to return to school later to pursue your new interest. and I realized that I was going to have to take some math and science classes. housing options and several other search criteria. which are not. If you find a new winner. I felt like I was a disappointment for not choosing to go to a traditional college. licensed cosmetologist Choosing a College That is Right for You We just talked about what you are going to study in relation to the career vehicle you’ve chosen. and later down the road they end up regretting it. I really enjoyed it. A great place to get started is the U. don’t be afraid to shift onto this new path. It is important that while in college you choose something you enjoy learning about for those four years. go back to the College Board website and read about your chosen major under “Major Profiles. I thought about both of these goals when deciding my college major. a medical student: As a young girl growing up. This is very true for many different career paths. The school’s reputation. it came time to register for the next quarter. and its ability to help place students in jobs are all factors that could greatly influence your success upon graduation. trust me there were a few I couldn’t stand. something I enjoyed. taking mostly art courses. I checked out the Gene Juarez Academy and I was enrolled and started about a month later. and never have been. test drive your new major and career ideas. Before you decide on your course of study. and she said I should look at beauty school. Although you may not love EVERY course within your major. Sadly. 92 Test Drive Your Future d I started college to pursue interior design. price. the quality of the department for your chosen major. The College Board website has a similar feature called the “College Matchmaker” which walks you through the process of comparing colleges to determine the right fit for you.S. After that quarter was over. does not mean you HAVE to become a biology major. The salon manager joined us and was telling me about doing hair there. but it’s equally important to keep your career plans in mind when choosing where to study. This is VERY important.” Then be sure to look under “Related Majors” to see if there is something that might be an even better fit for you. eS fr St or i om the r oa —Sarah.
Mile Marker 11: Navigation Support 93 dr Mile 5: Get a great internship with an architectural firm ivi ng tip . but keep your perspective. If you would like help laying out your mile markers and steps.com. The easiest way to approach your mile markers is to break them down even further into steps (like we did with the mile markers throughout this book). and most even help with the entire application process. attorney 3.You may also want to find a professional college planner or coach to assist you. or check back with the OOH under “Training and Education” for a description of how most people achieve the career you’ve chosen.2. Here are some mile markers for a student who wants to become an architect: Mile 1: Choose the top six colleges to which I want to apply Mile 2: Get accepted to three of my top college choices Mile 3: Make a financial plan for how to pay for college Mile 4: Decide which college to attend Mile 6: Graduate with a professional degree in architecture Mile 7: Complete my internship Mile 8: Pass the Architect Registration Exam Mile 9: Get my architect’s license 2. and other resources. programs. but some offer assistance getting financial aid. List your top eight to ten career mile markers in the space below: Keep your eye on your goal. Professional college planners will not only help you select a school. but don’t sweat the small stuff. For links to our recommended coaches. What are your career mile markers? For help with this. —Jennifer. Mile Marker Exercise 11.2: Identifying Your Career Mile Markers 1. and you will have to work hard towards your dream. It is a long road. you can download the College and Career Mileage Map from the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. you might want to revisit Mile Marker 6. visit the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture.com or check out our recommended GTD (Getting Things Done) programs or web sites.
gov) provides a comprehensive list of the mile markers and steps you need to do each year in high school to prepare for college. St or ie S f r o m the r oa —Elizabeth. writing reports. the Federal Student Aid Information Center (http://studentaid. I wanted to go to school somewhere that was at least relatively close to my friends or family—I didn’t want to be on the other side of the country from everyone I knew.1 Read through a list of schools accredited by the National Architectural Board 1. and probably most importantly. 1. registered nurse I went to a small Division III liberal arts college in the Midwest to study geology and geography (two outdoor professions).” into the following steps: 1. First.8 Interview a graduate or current student from each of my top ten colleges 1. but we ranked really well for a school and a team that had never before participated in that competition. I also looked for programs that had an accelerated portion so that I would be able to start working in the nursing field quickly. Six other seniors and I convinced the school to allow us to compete in a Society of Automotive Engineers competition. —Brent. I looked at the reputation of each of the schools that I applied to so that I was sure they produced good nurses. It was the first time I could put my practical and theoretical skills into a project that allowed me to show my true talent. I went to college for urban planning but then spent some time doing construction work in the field.ed. My previous experiences in science-based jobs and in the visitor industry have helped me succeed as a ranger. student population. To make a long story short. rather than a second bachelor’s degree. construction project manager I went to college to get a mechanical engineering degree but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my degree for most of the time I was in school. I knew that since I already had my bachelor’s degree. so instead of completing the same old senior design project.5 Narrow down my list even further by cost.6 Visit my top ten schools’ websites to read more about their programs (and double-check each is accredited by the National Architectural Board) 1.4 Narrow down my list to 15–20 schools by major and location 1. cleaning up hazardous waste sites. I wanted to move forward in my education and get my master’s degree. available activities. To become a construction project manager. At the competition. Others go to college for an architecture or construction management degree. and getting well paid for my work. If you need specific help with mile markers related to applying to college or for financial aid. I worked in consulting for ten years. Finally. size of school. Initially out of grad school. I broke the mold and went after something that really interested me.The student above who wants to study architecture could break her first mile marker. You can find a link for this list in the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. —Pablo. You should also be able to get a college preparation checklist from your guidance or college counselor. From there I continued my academic studies in graduate school receiving a Master’s degree in environmental science. wilderness ranger 94 Test Drive Your Future d It was a really difficult choice for me when it came to nursing schools.3 Set up a “College Matchmaker” account at Collegeboard. At the end of my junior year it was time to select a senior project. “Choose the top six colleges to which I want to apply. I was approached by multiple companies with offers to do the same type of projects as a career.7 Talk to my guidance counselor about how my transcript matches with the schools on my list 1. . I would be able to get my mind off school and experience the city. I wanted to live somewhere that had lots to do. I used my knowledge base and study habits to land an entry-level job in environmental consulting. systems engineer —Cathleen. we finished 29 out of 51. some people work their way up from being a construction laborer or carpenter.com 1.com.9 Create a pros and cons list of my top ten schools and narrow it down to six choices 4.2 Decide on the region or state where I want to go to college 1. etc. I wanted to do something that was different from what had been done at the school before. so that when I did have some free time.
3 Think About Debt Before You Acquire Any 1.3 MILE Financing the Journey Too many people spend money they haven’t earned.11. grants. Two-thirds of all college students take out student loans and graduate with debt to repay. Maybe you’ll be more motivated to make the most of your classes if you know how much they cost! But don’t get too stressed about the money stuff.800 for those attending a private school) and plug them into the loan calculator at http://www.” “loan terms. you will need a plan for how you will pay for your future training and education. leave the fields for “interest rate. and that they even made interest payments on my loans while I was in school. work-study. For now. too.finaid. Here are some of the things that are important for you to know about your future finances: The amount of financial aid you qualify for (or have already received) The total repayment amount of your student loan over ten years (plus interest) The salary you will need to earn after college to repay your student loan The amount of help (loans. and then come up with a plan for how you (and/or your family) are going to pay. and after that point I was fully responsible for making the payments myself. you’ll need to start paying attention to how much money it will take to finance the college part of your journey.000. —Will Smith. Having this information before you go to school should really help you make better financial decisions about school.700 for public school students. During my four years in college. I didn’t give much thought to the amount of debt that was accumulating or who would be responsible for the debt after I graduated. Here’s a quick story from Beth about her experience with student loans: I was very fortunate that my parents paid for the college expenses that weren’t covered by student loans.phtml. etc. actor If your chosen career requires some form of training or further education. gifts. to impress people they don’t like.) Mile Marker Exercise 11. I had a grace period of six months until the payments began. Whether you take out student loans or not. etc. $23. just gather all the information you can so you can make informed decisions. Take the current national averages for student loan debt from the introduction ($17. scholarships. Having a long-range plan will help you make smarter money decisions now and avoid accumulating excess debt in the future. I remember very clearly the day my parents and I sat at the kitchen table after graduation and they told me that my student loan debt was about $20. Yikes! Our advice to you about student loans: sit down with your parent(s) and ask as many questions as you can.” “loan fees. Mile Marker 11: Navigation Support 95 . Empower yourself with the knowledge of how much your education will actually cost and what kind of loan payments you will be responsible for both before and after graduation.) you will be getting from family/friends/other sources The percentage of the loan amount that you will be responsible for repaying When your loan payments start Other ways you plan to pay for your education (employment. so there’s a good chance you might.” and “minimum payment” with the numbers that the site puts there automatically. to buy things they don’t want. Hit the “calculate” button.org/calculators/loanpayments.
If you need even more help you might consider talking to a Certified College Planning Specialist (CCPS) who can not only make the process a whole lot easier. Now. just for fun. 5. Visit the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. and base your eligibility for financial aid on how much money they make and how much THEY have in the bank. but change the “loan terms (years)” to 25 (which is the maximum amount of time you can take to pay off some loans) and see what happens to the “cumulative payments” and “total interest paid. Go to http://www. Total repayment: b.” They went way up. the banks automatically assume that they will. Don’t pile up a bunch of debt in the process if you can avoid it. your opportunities will often be as broad as if you’d gone to a more expensive one and ended up in the middle of the pack. play with the calculator a bit by entering larger or smaller numbers in the “loan terms (years)” and/or “minimum payment” fields on the loan calculator. Write in the spaces below the numbers that popped up after you clicked the “calculate” button: total repayment amount.com for specific links and resources. but might be able to help you find types of aid that you would have never known to look for. because regardless of whether or not your family plans to help you pay for college.org to learn more about student loans or visit the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. and what you would need to earn as a salary in order to make your minimum payment (based on 10% of your income). because they probably have a lot more experience with this type of thing than you do. a. —Jennifer. 96 Test Drive Your Future dr ivi ng tip .finaid. do it again. If you decide to do any additional research on student loans you will definitely want to get the help of your parents or guardians. Needed salary: 3. Interest payment: A bit of practical advice: It takes around seven years after high school before you set out as a lawyer. right? Now you can see one reason why it is so important to test drive these decisions before taking out loans. and two. If you can go to a less expensive school and do very well.com for more information on how to find an expert who can help you. To see how the overall amount you will pay with interest can go up and down.2. Notice how when you make a bigger minimum payment both the number of years and the amounts under “cumulative payments” and “total interest paid” go way down. attorney c. the amount of accumulated interest. 4. You’ll find more freedom in your career choices if you are not facing many years of loan payback. Why? One.
people who will listen to your ideas. teachers/professors. Friends: Grandparents/uncles/aunts/cousins: Parents: High school teachers/college professors: Siblings: Guidance or career counselors: Mile Marker 11: Navigation Support 97 . people who are successful. as well as names of those you think might be willing to support you on your college and career journey.4: Identify your Teammates 1. you need one. Your team might be made up of parents. counselors. call it a family: Whatever you call it. honest feedback. a personal connection. Sometimes these people simply emerge at the right time. and sometimes you need to seek them out to help ensure your success in accomplishing your dreams. write the names of the people you already consider to be a part of your navigation team. Beside each person’s name write what you think they could provide for you (support. —Jane Howard. call it a network. call it a tribe. mentors. Place a check mark next those who are already on your team and a star next to the ones you would like to ask to be on your team. people whose advice you trust. resources. and people who will help you whenever you are stuck or in an emergency. practical advice. Your navigation team should be made up of people with a variety of qualities: people you admire. or professionals in your future career field.4 MILE Assemble Your Navigation Team Call it a clan. coaches. friends. an internship or job. whoever you are. Under the categories below. advice. and sometimes even a little cheerleading along the way. Mile Marker Exercise 11. author Our experience has found that it is invaluable to have a “navigation team” on your college and career journey—a few key people to turn to for support. etc.).11.
priest. Write under each name where you met the person. and it will continue to grow as your teammates connect you with others who might be helpful to you on your college and career path. and any other notes about your interaction. youth minister. and other resources to help you get your dreams off the ground. etc): Local professionals working in your field of interest: Anyone you interviewed. The information you record now will jog your memory in the future when you might want to contact that person. rabbi. or volunteered with during the test drive: Friends or co-workers of your parents: Any alumni you interviewed from your prospective colleges: Coaches: Other: Mentors/advisors: 2. Going the Extra Mile: Keeping Track of Your Team Your navigation team is your personal network. Stay connected to your navigation team and share your chosen career vehicle. connections. what you discussed with him or her. and your future mile markers with them. shadowed. the more they may be able to provide you with support. your destination statement.Instructors or leaders of your extra-curricular activities: Spiritual or religious leaders (reverend. 98 Test Drive Your Future . The more they know about your plans and your dreams. Start a navigation team contact list in an address book (paper or computer-based) and keep track of anyone you meet who you think might be a good resource and possible navigation teammate.
keep your personal gas tank filled. check the fluid levels.Mile Marker 12: Regular Maintenance 12 MILE A ny significant amount of time on the road will require some maintenance of your vehicle—you’ll need to get an oil change. and most importantly. keep dreaming. and definitely keep the gas tank full. On your journey through life there are also some things you need to do to maintain your career vehicle: get regular tune-ups. Mile Marker 12: Regular Maintenance 99 .
magazines. —Robert Kerrigan. The same can be said about keeping your career vehicle tuned-up. Books I’d like to read related to this career: —Brent. and of course to help it last longer. and ensure your success in the career field of your choice after graduation. attending conferences. journals. and it will take good care of you. Take good care of it. or other ways of staying connected to your field of interest—like joining an association. Mile Marker Exercise 12. lawyer You tune up a car to keep it running smoothly and reliably. This mile marker is all about the things you can do to maintain your interest in your future career.1: Future Tune-ups 1. or keeping up with blogs or newsletters. Not only will regular tune-ups help you stay excited about your future career. and/or job shadow: Companies with which I’d like to intern or volunteer: Do what you love. Brainstorm some things you could do down the road to maintain your interest in your career path and write your ideas below: People with whom I would like to network.12. interning or volunteering within your chosen profession. keep your excitement level up while you are in school. but your familiarity with the industry and your extra experience will also give you a big advantage over other entry level candidates when you apply for your first job or look to a promotion someday. Tune-ups can involve networking with professionals. and/or blogs I could explore in more depth or subscribe to: Associations or clubs I could join: Other things I could do to maintain my interest in this career: 100 Test Drive Your Future dr ivi ng tip . interview. systems engineer Websites. and keep pushing yourself to find new ways to maintain your interest in your career.1 MILE Get Regular Tune-ups The way of the world is meeting people through other people.
So. One of the best ways to maintain a healthy balance is to identify what represents the “fuel” in your life. What represents the fuel in your life? What is fun. When you are running out of gas. if you are too focused on your college or career mile markers. licensed acupuncturist Mile Marker 12: Regular Maintenance 101 d For me. ancient Greek historian The purpose of any journey is not to just “get there. for the adrenaline and the opportunity to be fully present. Filling up your gas tank early and often is the best way to ensure a fun and relaxed journey. taking a hike. surfing is a way to connect with my sense of inner calm at the same time that I’m completely immersed in thrilling. and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation. relaxing. It isn’t a planned or calculated thing—in fact. and you might get burned out from studying or working too hard. or any number of other things. or rejuvenating for you? Write your answers below: St or ie S f r o m the r oa —Matt. for the thrill. recharging my batteries whenever life runs them down. spending some time alone. and the lessons you learn along the way. When I’m surfing. relationships. having left all the baggage of daily life back on the beach—there’s just no room for thoughts about work. playing an instrument. dynamic motion. I am wholly present in what I’m doing. I am transported to another place.2 MILE Keep Your Gas Tank Full If a man insisted always on being serious. inspiring. and to express myself creatively on the waves. So don’t forget to take a break every few miles and reward yourself with something that fills you up! Mile Marker Exercise 12. the new experiences.2: Find Your Fuel 1. the fun. what fills your tank again? It might be talking with friends. This is a lot like driving your car until it runs out of gas. he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.” It’s about the adventure. you may miss out on some of the fun of the journey.… Why do I do it? I do it for the love of the movement. . or life’s big and little problems. —Herodotus. Surfing brings out my passion and my sense of fulfillment. it’s about the most fluid and spontaneous expression I can think of. to connect with nature and the ocean. When I paddle out past the breakers.12.
etc. go to the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. wilderness ranger grow. and challenging ways that you can live your life. So dream ALL persons (young or old) have a job or career that they love.3: Share your Dreams 1. Don’t forget about all the resources available in the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture.3 MILE Keep Dreaming Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined! —Henry David Thoreau. because you’ll never know what is possible unless you try! do what you love it’s not simply a job with One of the best ways to stay inspired is to continually look for a paycheck. Remember to pursue their dreams. author and poet ivi ng tip Don’t forget that one of the main reasons for planning your career journey is to give you a chance to dream about the most fun. We have created a test drive community online at what you love and the money will follow. interIt is vitally important and critical that esting. coaches. your driving force.com and as that community continues to —Pablo.com: Test Drive Handouts and Lists • Values Checklist • Skills and Talents Inventory • Informational Interview Checklist • Job Shadow Checklist • Test Drive Checklist • The Career Lot • College and Career Mileage Map Stories and Interviews • Full “Stories from the Road” interviews • Stories from gap year participants • Stories from other students and grads Links and Additional Resources • Online personality tests • Cost of living calculators • Budget spreadsheets • Entrepreneur tests • Instructions on how to navigate the OOH • Virtual job shadows • Gap year organizations • Gap Year Scholarship Application • Professional college planners. providing examples and inspiration from people around the country and around the world who are intentionally mapping out and living their dreams. If you would like to share your career dreams. your destination statement.12. we plan to post stories for our readers. or any part of your story with our readers.com now and click “Share” to get started. • GTD (Getting Things Done) programs or sites • College planning checklists • Financial aid resources • And more! 102 Test Drive Your Future dr . Your ideas can help inspire other students to keep dreaming! Mile Marker Exercise 12. because when you big. TestDriveYourFuture. but more like you’re getting inspiration from other people who are also working to achieve paid to live a dream.
or find a surprise you weren’t expecting around the corner—and that is not necessarily a bad thing. values. seeking out advice from professionals. and getting hands-on experience “behind the wheel. or dreams change along the journey. If you find that your interests.” We hope you have had fun in the process of test driving your future career. and that someday you will be able to say. You can always revisit the process to make sure the direction you are heading is your best next step. inspecting the subject matter against your interests. you have an opportunity to change with them. so that you can live your life in the most enjoyable. passions. and hope that you will stay in touch to let us know how that career vehicle drives! 103 . because very often detours can be life changing for the better. We wish you great success on your journey. that you have selected a vehicle that’s the perfect fit for you. and finding a career that is the best possible match to all the components that make up you and your unique life. values. and must-sees. comparing it to your core components. Regardless of the twists and turns that life presents you. interests. Sometimes the signs around you point you in a new direction. pursuing your dreams. just like the professionals we interviewed throughout the book. Success in your career isn’t about climbing corporate ladders and getting to the top of anything—it’s about doing something that you love. If this happens to you. personality. “I love what I do!” about your career. assembling all of your favorites into your Career Lot. learning about it in depth. you may want to explore it. You’ve test driven at least one career. satisfying. driving force. You’ve looked at hundreds of different career choices. one you hadn’t originally planned to follow. Sometimes life will take you on a detour—you might hit a roadblock. the test drive is always there for you.Hittin’ the Road A Few Last Words Congratulations on test driving your future! Let’s take a quick look at what you’ve accomplished: you’ve explored who you are—your skills. preferences. and successful way possible.
Interest amounts computed from the student loan calculator at: http://www.” (Michael J.com. households conducted for The Conference Board finds that only 45 percent of those surveyed say they are satisfied with their jobs (http://www.org/calculators/loanpayments.html).census.org/press/pressdetail. tuition waivers.finaid.com. only 36 percent graduate in four years (http://www.conference-board. or interest accumulated on student loans.com and are used with permission.id-305397. america. The quote on page 39 was cited from http://blog. 11 Values. 2 Study figures were taken from: http://www.penelopetrunk.great-quotes.gov/st/econ-english/2008/July/20080703151840berehellek0. 3 Tuition prices were taken from: http://www. This figure does not account for grants or scholarships. Revised March 12.asp. A few names have been changed to protect the interviewee’s privacy. or Patrick Combs’ Major in Success.msn.” 104 Test Drive Your Future . e-mail. 10 “Stories from the Road” and most “Driving Tips” quotes are taken from interviews that were conducted by the authors via telephone.gov/opub/mlr/2001/10/art2full. 4 Average debt amounts taken from: http://professionals. 5 These numbers assume that the average American worker with a bachelor’s degree earns $45. annual tuition increases. or other discounts sometimes given to students. roughly 40% of students in this same group still have not earned a degree after their sixth year (http://www. workplace preferences. over 50 percent of first-year students change their majors at least once before graduation.gov/programs/quarterly/vol_3/3_1/q5_2.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/21/AR2009102103664_2. com/2006/11/12/how-to-decide-where-to-live/.trends-collegeboard. or through Surveymonkey.7706415. of first-time students attending a four-year institution full time and seeking a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.bls. The prices cited here do not account for grants.msnbc.” Chronicle of Higher Education 2006. 6 “Research conducted by Penn State and other institutions has shown that up to 80 percent of entering college stu- dents admit that they are not certain what they want to major in.html. pdf. www.pdf) and that the average American works 1.washingtonpost.cliffsnotes.edu/dus/md/mdintro. 2010).articleId-7601. In addition. 8 The percentages of graduates working within the field of their major four years after graduating can be found in Table B at http://nces. even if they have initially chosen a major. and that the average American works about 1.com/profdownload/trends-in-student-aid-2008.pdf).ed. Other quotations from well known professionals or celebrities originated from http://thinkexist. skills. Pennsylvania State University. 7 According to the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.Notes 1 This figure assumes that most college graduates enter the labor force when they graduate at age 22. Leonard. phtml using the current interest rate of 6. and geographic preferences lists were compiled from lists within Where’s the Map? by Beth and James Hood and the University of Virginia Career Services’ “Analyzing Your Work Preferences.html?sub=AR).gov/st/econ-english/2008/July/20080703151840be rehellek0. that the average American worker retires at the age of 62 (http://www.pdf.america. www. 9 A 2009 survey of 5.com. The Holly Bull quote on page 84 was excerpted from “The Possibilities of the Gap Year.gov/prod/2002pubs/p23-210.com/college_pricing/pdf/2009_Trends_College_Pric- ing. but also do not account for the average annual tuition increases of 5–8%. scholarships.7706415.800 hours per year (http://www.com/WileyCDA/Section/How-much-outside-class-study-time-is- recommended-for-every-hour-of-class-time-for-college-freshmen-. and some change several times.psu. According to the College Board.800 hours per year (http://www.wisdomquotes.S.8% and a loan payback period of 10 years.collegeboard.cfm?pressid=3820). James Malinchak’s Teenagers’ Tips for Success.htm.com/id/10154383).400 per year (http:// www.000 U. http://www.html).
. CareerOneStop. and nurtured our dreams. …to all of the clients and colleagues who have provided us with the valuable insights and connections needed to get this project off the ground.. We are incredibly grateful to live in this amazing place that has shaped our lives. inspired us with its beauty. and founders of the Gap Year Scholarship Program.Special Thanks. and Jeanne Litt. …and finally. kept us awake and inspired so we could complete the book on schedule. and who. a lifestyle products company that produces guidebooks and other items to help make life and life decisions a little more fun. We appreciate your patience and encouragement as we continue to pursue our dreams. Inc. …to the team of people who helped directly with the development of this book: our editor and number one advisor Katie Callender. …to Charlie. along with the wonders of coffee. the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. who helped us with our earliest drafts. Manisha Thakor. The Hoods live on the Big Island of Hawaii. …to all of the students and professionals who provided inspiring quotes about the work they love to do—your stories made our book possible! …to our family and friends who supported us through the process and actively participated in the creation of this book.. our front cover designer and graphic artist Chaiti Bose. Beth also writes as the GPS Gal on Girlzone. who provided us with her financial expertise. Surveymonkey. John Penry. for proofreading our final drafts. Diana Wesley. and the websites of the College Board. About the Authors Beth and Jim Hood own and run A Little Bit More Fun. who woke us every morning during the four o’clock hour. and the numerous other college and career websites that we refer to in the book. hosting interviews with professional women and students and answering questions from teens about their future career choices. …to all of the people responsible for the on-line resources that made our book possible. our CFO (Chief Feline Officer). especially Facebook. 105 .com. the US Department of Education. and Amy Stewart. to the Big Island of Hawaii. They are the authors of Where’s the Map? Create Your OWN Guide to Life after Graduation.
what organizations are most common? .2): Read That Sticker. employment projections.2) � YES � NO Job Outlook & Projections Data: Write a couple phrases to describe the job prospects. Section Two of Test Drive Your Future.3) � YES � NO � YES � NO Employment: Are there any geographic considerations for this career: Is there a higher concentration of jobs in a particular area? Could you work just about anywhere in this career.1) Earnings: Beginning salary:_____________ Average salary:___________ Will this work with your ideal salary and lifestyle preferences? (Mile Marker 3.com Your Name: ____________________________ Date Started: _____________ Career: _______________________________ Get the Basics (6. Understand the Requirements (6. You can download the expanded version of the Test Drive Checklist with full instructions from the Navigation Center at TestDriveYourFuture. Part Two: The Fine Print (page 62) Education and Training: What is the college major(s) or training program best related to this career? College degree (if any) required to have this career: Number of years required to get this type of degree: Are you willing to go to school for the number of years required? � YES � NO Certification and Advancement: If this career requires certification. or only in certain locations? Is this career a good match for your geographic preferences? (Mile Marker 3.1): Read That Sticker: What are the Features and Options? (pages 60–61) Nature of the Work: Write a 1–2 sentence description of the career: Can you see yourself doing this type of work? Workplace Environment: Write 3–5 phrases to describe the workplace environment: � YES � NO Does it match up with your ideal workplace? (Mile Marker 3.Test Drive Checklist This handout is used with “The Test Drive”. and expected job growth in the industry.
What is the likelihood of advancement and how do most people advance in this career field? Do the opportunities for advancement match your workplace preferences? (Mile Marker 3. Values.1) Which values does it match the most? � YES � NO � YES � NO Which values does it NOT match? Driving force: Is this career choice consistent with your driving force? (Mile Marker 2.3) Values: Is this career choice consistent with your top ten life values? (Mile Marker 2.6) � YES � NO � YES � NO Check Your Must-Sees.3): Consider What’s Most Important (page 64) Must-sees: How does this career choice stack up against your career-related and general must-sees? Will it contribute to your ability to accomplish your must-sees? (Mile Marker 1.2) Does this career match your personality type or profile? (Mile Marker 2. and Driving Force (6.com .1) Other Qualifications: What skills and talents are required or recommended for this career? � YES � NO Are these skills that you already have or have the ability to learn? (Mile Marker 2.5) How does your career choice relate to your driving force? � YES � NO Find a Professional Association (7.1): Browse a Professional Website (page 66) Name of the associations and websites you looked up: What did you learn from researching professional associations? Were you interested in what professionals in your potential field were discussing? � YES � NO Test Drive Checklist — TestDriveYourFuture.
2): Discover What the Experts are Reading (page 67) Name of the book you chose: What did you learn by skimming through this book? Are you interested in what you read? Did reading this book make you want to read more? Is this career choice consistent with your interests and passions? (Mile Marker 2.1): Feedback from a Professional (page 70) Name of Counselor: What did you learn from your meeting? Date of meeting: Did the counselor think this career would be a good fit for you? Why or why not? � YES � NO Interview Professionals (8.2): Getting an Informational Interview (pages 71–72) Professional #1: Name: Job Title: What did you learn from your interview? Date of interview: Did your interview with this person energize you and generate more interest in this career field? � YES � NO Test Drive Checklist — TestDriveYourFuture.com .3): Discover What’s Out There in the Real World (page 68) List the names of the five job positions you found: What did you learn from reading these job descriptions? Are you interested in what professionals in your potential career field are actually doing? � YES � NO Meet with a Career Counselor (8.Start Reading (7.3 & 2.4) Which of your interests or passions does it match the most? � YES � NO � YES � NO Explore the Job Market (7.
can you see yourself working in this career field? � YES � NO Volunteer or Intern (9.com .Professional #2: Name: Job Title: What did you learn from your interview? Date of interview: Did your interview with this person energize you and generate more interest in this career field? � YES � NO Professional #3: Name: Job Title: What did you learn from your interview? Date of interview: Did your interview with this person energize you and generate more interest in this career field? � YES � NO Job Shadow Someone at Work (9.1): Observe and Report (page 74) Professional’s Name: Job Title: What did you learn from observing this person/job? Date of job shadow: Number of hours: After your job shadow experience.2): Getting a Volunteer or Intern Position (pages 75–76) Position: Company: What did you learn from volunteering/interning? Date completed: Number of hours: After this experience. can you see yourself working in this career field? � YES � NO Take a Class (9. does this major/career still seem interesting to you? � YES � NO Test Drive Checklist — TestDriveYourFuture.3): Complete a Course (page 77) Course name: School name: What did you learn from the course about this major/career? Date completed: Number of hours: After taking a course.
) Your signature:____________________________________ Test Drive Checklist — TestDriveYourFuture. � Maybe. I feel confident about this career being a good fit for me and I’m going for it! � Maybe. I’m not interested in pursuing this career. which one(s)? Did this career pass the Test Drive? � YES � NO Pros and Cons for this Career Pros (reasons to choose this career) Cons (reasons to not choose this career) Choose a Vehicle (10.Score the Test Drive (10.1): Find Your Score (page 80) Your YES to NO Ratio: (Add up the # of YES’s and NO’s from the Test Drive. but I need to get more experience in this career field before making a decision.com Date completed: . � No. but I’m having trouble deciding between two or more careers. how would you get around or justify the NO’s? Are any of the NO’s deal-breakers (immediately fail test drive)? � YES � NO If so.) _____ YES’s _____ NO’s If there are any questions you answered NO to but you still want to consider this as a possible career field. but I’d like to test drive another career first. � Maybe.2) (page 81) Choose which answer best describes how you feel about pursuing this career: � Yes. (See page 81 for instructions on what to do next based on your answer above.
. It’s time to test drive it! • Up to 70% of college graduates are not working in the field of their college major within four Test Drive Your Future walks you through a step-by-step process of uncovering. and as a result. it’s time to. so why would you choose your future CAREER without test driving it? • Where am I going after graduation? • What do I really want out of life? • With so many options. and 40% of college students still have not earned a degree after their sixth year.TestDriveYourFuture. how do I decide which college major or career path is best for me? If you are unclear about the answers to one or more of these questions. years of graduation.com Beth and Jim Hood are the authors of Where’s the Map? Create Your OWN Guide to Life after Graduation. can you really afford to choose your major or career on a whim? It’s never too early to start thinking about your future career. only 36% of students graduate in four years.alittlebitmorefun.. • Due to changes in majors (among other factors). www. but over half of Americans report being unsatisfied with their careers.You wouldn’t buy a CAR without taking it for a test drive. and choosing the perfect career using proven resources from top college and career planning organizations. www. Here’s proof: • Up to 80% of all college-bound students are undecided about their major and more than half of college students change their majors two to three times before they graduate. Inc. The pages are packed with real life advice and inspiring stories gathered from dozens of interviews with professionals who love their careers. A Litle Bit More Fun.com Category: Careers $14. The authors live in Hawaii. and founders of the Test Drive Your Future™ Gap Year Scholarship. testing. These statistics would not be such a problem if more people were happy with their jobs. With the asking price for four years at an instate public college hovering around $64.95 . end up in college majors and careers that are not a good fit. Beth writes as the GPS Gal on Girlzone.com.000 for a private college).000 ($157. hosting interviews with professional women and students and answering questions from teens about their future career choices. M ost students are never taught how to choose their career path.
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