Is That Career Path a Good Choice for the Future? How Do You Find Out?

A graphical character walking on a path approaching three possible routes to follow.Quite a few years ago, a friend told me he was going to change careers.  Like many individuals, he had a job, but wanted a career. He wanted to acquire a marketable skill which would serve him for many years to come.  In fact, he had already signed up at a local college and taken some classes, and was well on his way.

I was so happy for him!  You could just see the excitement in his face and hear it in his voice.  Naturally, I asked what field he had decided to pursue.  “Drafting,” he said proudly, “I really like drawing and there will always be a need for drafting.”

“Wow, that’s great!” I said, “Which software will you be learning?”  At the time, the use of computer-aided design (CAD) drafting software packages like AutoCAD® and MicroStation® were entering workplaces at lightning speed.  These new software tools were quickly taking over the task of traditional drafting involving manually drawing at a drafting table.  “Oh, I’m not learning any software. Besides, I don’t like computers,” he said, “I’m learning to do drafting by hand.”

My heart sank.  Because of my experience with technology, I absolutely knew drafting tables would soon go the way of dinosaurs and cassette tapes.  I certainly didn’t want to rain on his parade, but mentioned again how CAD was the wave of the future.  If he learned CAD, it would be a real opportunity for him to get in on ground floor of something new. Continue reading

Apprenticeships: Shaking Up the Typical Job/Career Process

Most job hunters are all too familiar with the “typical” process for entering a new career or finding a job:  you walk into a job interview and they want to know about your education, experience, skills, and any required credentials (license, certification, etc.) which you already possess.  You have spent a great deal of time – and money – to get to this point, and now you want a real job, with a real paycheck.  After all, you may have racked up a good chunk of student debt, and now you need that job to both start repaying it and to move on with your life and career.

However, the difficulty with the typical process is that it places the entire burden for job and/or career preparation, along with all associated expenses, squarely on the job applicant.  Go get ready, show ‘em what you’ve got, and if they like what they see, maybe you will be given a job.  Although there are variations, the typical process and its individual steps are similar to the one illustrated below. Continue reading