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When I was admitted to the University of Virginia, I assumed that I would be premed and major in psychology. When my plans of pursuing medicine were crushed after taking organic chemistry and working in a super-unpleasant state hospital after my sophomore year, I quickly finished my psychology major and added a Spanish minor and set about thinking about how to use my degree in the work world. Happily, I took a number of liberal arts courses (English literature, film criticism, new media) and applied statistics and computer programming courses which proved very useful later in my career. Most useful of all, I learned to write and think well!
A Life in Career Development
My professional journey has been rooted in career development, from my first job as a recruiter and trainer for Manpower, to my role as educational testing director at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, to my years as a rainmaker, leader and manager for various Fortune 500 corporations (IBM, Prudential Financial and Bayer Healthcare) and consulting firms, where I successfully nurtured teams of young people, creating career paths and grooming them for their next employer or role.
At Career Connectors LLC
Since I founded Career Connectors in 2014, I have helped dozens of high school and college students to identify best-fit career paths and to create a plan for studying subjects and participating in extracurricular activities which support their career goals. With high school students, I even use career insights to help them decide where they want to attend college.
Where are they today?
Over the past two years, I have helped an Amherst College physics major explore careers in Big Data, a Brandeis University master’s degree candidate bring her global perspective to an incubator for startups in emerging economies, a Colorado College economics major break into the craft beer industry and a Wesleyan University music performance graduate find a path in advertising that makes room for his musical pursuits.
Ask any college grad what they would do differently when it came to preparing to land a job, and they will say they wish they had started the process of career discovery earlier. This process can take time, and requires a willingness to experiment and stay open to possibilities. Basic steps include:
- Knowing yourself: your skills, preferences (what energizes or drains you in life, at school and at work) and values
- Identifying a handful of career paths that may fit
- Having experiences that relate to these career paths
- Having tons of conversations with people who are on that career path
- Evaluate and repeat
With the rising costs of a college education and the high percentage of dissatisfied students who transfer from one school to the next (nearly 20%), it makes sense to do more homework up front to help you decide what you want to pursue, and make sure your school will help you get there.
When I'm not helping students sort out their career options, I'm happiest playing outdoors. I own and use a wide variety of "freedom machines" for all seasons: kayaks and canoes, road and mountain bikes, cross country skis and snow shoes. Fun fact: After hang gliding and competing in gymnastics at the collegiate level, and studying boxing and parkour into my late 40s, I have only been to the hospital for one thing: a sumo wrestling match with my 9 year-old which did not end well (for me)!