Wednesday, September 27, 2006

WHat do you see ?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Career Choice

When I was teaching at a lovely working-class, commuter college, a community college in Northern California, students would confide in me about their dreams, plans, and career choice dilemmas. For often, their dream jobs were quite disparate from the career choice their parents had decided upon for them. It is probably not necessary to give you an example, but here, anyway, is Allen. He is American-born to Chinese parents. He is driven to work hard in school, do numerous extracurricular activities, do volunteer tutoring, and keep his eye toward that parental dictum that holds his career choice is made for him: he will be an engineer. But Allen wants to be a writer. The challenge for the instructor, in this case, me, is to respect his parents issues and values and rationale but somehow give this young man—who is a stellar writer—hope for freedom of creativity. In the years that I was teaching, I was in love with my career choice. I, like Allen, had been groomed for teaching, though I wanted to write. Writing points to tenuous lifestyles, to suffering more than necessary, to the grossest kinds of poverty. For parents, especially. I was lucky, though, that I adored the students, loved the subject matter and skillset curricula I dealt with, and therefore could still be honest with students—telling them that since we work for more of our waking hours than we do anything else, that we HAVE to love it, look forward to it, and therefore be good at it. I would not have had the balls to face parents and tell them I would be in charge of my own career choice…so I did not impel students to do it either. But I did, once on my own and once burned out by the ridiculous political and bureaucratic crap that eventually revealed itself, make a second career choice. I switched to writing…for a LIVING! Yikes. No medical, dental, ocular. No guaranteed monthly $4k. No one to aggressively agree with my new career choice, one I was launching into at the age of 44. As Eileen McDargh, quoting Will Rogers in her book on working for yourself says, however, “Get out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” If you ever climbed a tree, then, and reached that coveted fresh from the pick apple or pear, you know what these courageous, insightful, and soulful individuals allude to. You know and hopefully are prepared to try for the career choice of your dreams and of YOUR making, by taking that tenuous risk.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Local Job Search

My husband has been looking for decent work for months now. He does have a job - in fact, he currently has two. However, with the demands of family life, he really needs one good paying, full-time job that will pay the bills and leave a little left over to enjoy life with our family. My husband is also very busy. He the Merchandising Rep for a variety of products and he assembles and stocks the shelves with his products in many home renovation stores throughout the city. With his busy schedule, he doesn't have much time left over for conducting a local job search. We've found that it works well, if I take the time to collect together local job opportunities that may interest him, and then he takes it from there. I have found several helpful resources that come in handy for our local job search. In addition to watching the Careers and Help Wanted sections of our local newspaper, I also visit several websites that update their job postings on a daily basis. The best sources have turned out to be one government job listing site as well as, Workopolis and Monster. I visit all three job sites on a regular, often daily, basis. In the process of carrying out our local job search, I am able to keep informed about what companies are hiring, and I've been able to assist friends in finding work as well. From time to time, I will also assist people with updating and formatting their resumes. It's surprising how difficult this proves to be for some people, and yet, a well-written, decently formatted resume, is absolutely essential for success when carrying out a local job search. Many times, when I offer to help somebody, I will be handed pages and pages of ramblings about intricate details of each and every job. Just reading through the information is exhausting. It takes a great degree of diplomacy and tact to explain the need for accuracy and conciseness, as I pare these resumes down to a mere page or two. However, it's something that must be done. A overly verbose or rambling resume can be a major impediment to the success of a local job search. So too, many people neglect to take the time to proofread their resumes leaving glaring errors for potential employers to discover, resulting in their resumes and applications been dumped in the reject pile. Even with a good knowledge of where to look for work, and knowing how to present oneself in a resume, doesn't always make for a successful local job search. My husband continues in his own local job search with my assistance - hopefully one of these days something worthwhile will pan out.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Baltimore Tales