A Few Ways To Start Your Job/Career


Thinking back on the early part of your work history, how did you get one of your earliest jobs?

Some people get jobs by following in their parents footsteps. You know, it’s the family expectation that you’ll become an Accountant because, well, your dad is an Accountant, your older brothers and sisters are Accountants; even your grandparents were Accountants. So there’s not much if any discussion about what you might be when it’s your turn to enter the world of work. Nobody really talks about what might interest you because you’re slotted in as the next Accountant in the family, carrying on the tradition.

This might sound like a bad thing but for many people it is exactly the opposite. You see they don’t have worry or stress deciding on a career, they’ve got excellent resources to draw on in the family when they need help and advice, and these family connections are their way in to the companies they work for. All they have to do really is follow the plan laid out for them. Yes for some people, this is normal, and they never really experience the conflict of self-determination, nor do they fight it.

Of course not everyone takes this path. The problem with this model for those who don’t follow it is that they may be drawn in other ways to other jobs. They might be creative, artistic, innovative and there’s no room for these qualities in the world of Accounting where numbers are input accurately and precisely. Following the, ‘family way’ and living your life playing up to the expectations of parents and extended family could leave you feeling unsatisfied, unfulfilled and always wondering why you don’t discover what it is you feel you’re really meant to do.

Others follow their passion. With an interest in music, they may not be a celebrity, but they work in the music industry. Or, if the environment is what they feel drawn to, they work to save precious physical resources, encouraging others to live their lives thinking about sustainability and protecting our natural resources. They don’t necessarily have to work in a Ranger Tower in the middle of a Boreal forest; they might even work in a laboratory in a city but devote their time to finding better solutions to problems of creating and cleaning up our environmental waste.

If it’s not the environment that drives you, it could be a passion for sports. Perhaps you turn your love of physical activity and how the body exerts itself into sports medicine, physiotherapy, chiropractic work or you get a job working in a sports venue where you’re surrounded all day long by others similarly motivated. This can be very stimulating and adds a layer to the work you do everyday you wouldn’t get working in the same job but for a different employer. So back to my Accountant, you might be employed by your favourite sports team and the combination of the job and the organization might feed your need for satisfaction.

Many more people fall into jobs. They might take a summer job or a short-term contract job just starting out and without any planning they end up staying around for 25 years! Or they could get started when a friend asks them for a hand working on constructing a house and find they have a knack for building and end up in a classroom taking courses on home construction, codes and by-laws. “How’d I get into this?” is the kind of thing they wonder at some point, but they have no regrets.

Another way some go about finding work is simply to  get going. I mean, these people figure the best way to find out what they’d like to do is just start working at a job, try it out for awhile and pay attention to the things they like and don’t enjoy. Then they move on and try something different; again paying attention to the things they find satisfying and want more of and always taking jobs that have less of the things they want to avoid. Systematically, they end up doing a variety of jobs, having a diversified resume and are better able to adapt into many roles.

The strength for those who take this last route is that being able to adapt well, they are resilient when change occurs. Whether the change comes from an external source – like being laid off or a company relocating elsewhere – or the change comes from within – a personal desire to move on – they can adapt quicker to change than those who have spend 25 years in a single job.

You can see there are many ways to get going when it comes to finding work. There isn’t one accepted way and all of the above are valid. Each way comes with it’s advantages and some disadvantages. Determining which is right for you is important, but remember that what’s right for one person is not necessarily right for another.

So, how did you get started? How did you get into your present job? Your comments are welcome and will be of most benefit to readers who are either on the cusp of entering the world of work or in the early stages of their careers and jobs.

Tell your story of how you got started and how it worked out for you. Was it a great fit? Are you still in that role or how long did it last?

Picking A Career: The Pressure To Get It Right


It usually starts when we’re children and asked of us by well-meaning family members. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Then our parents friends and the parents of our own friends are asking us the same question. Soon, the idea that we should place a lot of importance on thinking about our life-long career is reinforced in school when elementary teachers tell us to choose wisely the level of classes we select as we approach high school. Maybe they even have us do career assessments.

In your personal life you’re body is going through some weird physical changes; puberty. Your hormones are changing, you get that first facial hair, the period arrives, the physical attraction to people you used to just see as friends is changing how you hang out together. What you and your friends think is groovy, hip, cool or down with is constantly changing and you don’t want to be left out and fall behind. Things get awkward as you switch back and forth between being a kid and doing your best to look and act 5 years older.

So there you are newly arrived in high school; experimenting with your teenage drive to test some boundaries, making some decisions (a few of which you’ll regret and a few you’ll be happy work out) for the first time. You think you’re mature, all you really want to do is have fun, bond with your besties and have the time of your life, but suddenly you’re doing serious work looking at further career assessments, picking out Universities or Colleges to further your education and positioning yourself along the path to that career goal. People older than you, smarter than you, are laying out your next 5- 8 years of your life; finishing high school and 3 or 4 years of further education.

The irony is that as adults themselves, those teachers know that almost every one of their students will change their careers and some several times over the course of their working adults lives. But if they stressed that message at this early juncture, the students they are instructing would question the importance of getting it laid out now. So there you are unsure really of what you’ll want in the future let alone now, but still you’ve got to start thinking about what College or University offers the courses you’ll need to get whatever diploma or degree you’re after.

There’s a lot of heat to get it right; some of the pressure – most of it really – might even be self-imposed. After all, if all these people we admire and respect are telling us it’s important to choose wisely so we don’t waste our lives, our money and our time, they must be right. The fear that you choose wrong and take  something you really don’t want or change your mind too late can be confusing!

Relax! (Easier said than done right? I know). Here’s a few thoughts for you to mull over from an Employment Counsellor who has worked for a long time with literally thousands of people.

First of all, while this might sound entirely UNhelpful, you need to know that as much as what you want now may seem crystal clear, that could very well change in your future and that’s totally okay. The person you’ll become will be influenced a great deal by people you have yet to meet, places you have yet to go, experiences you have yet to have. You’re going to change as you grow and so this notion of choosing an occupation – and the pressure to get it right – is not only a myth, it’s just plain wrong and the evidence proves it. People change jobs and careers over their lifetime.

This being said, an education is a fine thing. It’s not the only thing; you can skip the post secondary thing altogether and just start working and have a fine, fulfilling life. But suppose for a moment you head off to school and after 2 years in a 3 year program you find you’re just not feeling it. You can switch programs and people do. You can take a year off and go back. You could even graduate and then something in your life makes pursuing that career difficult or seemingly impossible. That career in the Hospitality industry with a lot of evening and weekend work suddenly doesn’t fit with your new-found role of parent. If this happened, would your education be a waste?

The answer is no. Education is never a waste. Education is not a financial burden of debt you pay off with a good paying job, but rather an investment in yourself as a person. That education is going to change and influence how you think moving forward, and it will benefit you throughout your adult life. If you consider returning to school to do something different, taking another 2 or 3 years, you might feel even more pressure to ‘get it right this time.’ My advice? Do it anyhow. Go back. Invest in yourself because your future self will thank you.

You can do this. You literally can’t choose wrong. Life has a funny way of making use of our talents, education and experience down the road in ways we can’t imagine at the present.

Whether a specific trade or a general Bachelor of Arts, it’s all good! This education you’re considering isn’t the final destination, it’s just one step on a lifelong journey.