Friday, May 22, 2009

"Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work"

I recently read an essay entitled "The Case for Working with Your Hands" based on this forthcoming book by Matthew B. Crawford, which will be soon published by Penquin Press. The essay, like the book, puts forth the premise that many of our young people, in their parents' quest to provide them with future "success" are hustled off to college and pointed at "cerebral" professions rather than allowing attention to be paid to natural tendencies for "hands on" work. Therefore education and work become "abstract and distant". The author makes quite a case for his theories.

Nothing in this essay surprises me. As a coach who has spent lots of time assisting adolescents in making post secondary choices, I have been aware for years of the disconnect in our American culture between what is seen as "real" work and hands on work. Mike Rowe, the star of "Dirty Jobs", a popular television show on the TLC network, has stated that Americans have declared war on work, or "hands on" work. Parents, before you begin talking to your children about post secondary education, which I agree all young people need, make sure that in your desire to do the best for them, you allow their personalities, interests and abilities to help drive their choices. A four year degree from a college or university is not the only answer, and in this day of outsourcing and massive layoffs, a young person who is equipped to earn a living with both his brains and his hands can indeed do very well in life.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Creating a Career Transition Plan

Have you ever done anything of major importance without developing a plan of action first? People who are buying a home, getting married or taking some other big momentous step in their lives usually try to insure their success by making a plan of action first, and then sticking, more or less, to it. Surely this must also be true in making a career transition. When you are ready to look for the answer to the question "What will be my next career step?", try making a plan of action first! Assess all aspects of yourself, update your resume, research, pay very close attention to networking and not just Facebook or Twitter, develop and set short and long term goals, and be flexible enough to make adjustments along the way. How can you do all of this? With the assistance of a career transition professional, of course! Don't think you can do it all yourself! You hire a realtor to help you select a home, you partner with a wedding planner to give a wedding; why not find a career coach to help you take that next very important career step? You will be glad you did.