Help me design a parachuting class (not that kind)
January 13, 2013 3:46 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I (both in our 30s) will graduate in May and then move to a completely new-to-us part of the country for a fresh start. During our last semester, we want to work together on defining and figuring out what our new career paths will be in the next phase of our lives. Please help us design a program to help us ask the right questions and do the right work to help us figure out what we want! More about our specific situation within.

We have been where we are going to school now for 3 years. Prior to this, we were at a big crossroads and both looking for a big change. School was a sort of gestation period for us where we have been regrouping and taking a break. My husband is completing his undergraduate degree (in art, which he's always wanted to study), and I am getting a master's degree in art education, which I chose because it allowed me the opportunity to take art classes while we were here. We both have work experience in various fields that we will probably not wish to re-enter. Neither of us is expecting/wanting to find employment necessarily directly related to what we've been studying, either. Right now we are not as concerned with finding actual jobs to apply for as figuring out exactly what we want to look for when the time comes.

We were thinking we would both read the latest What Color Is Your Parachute and possibly work through the workbook (unless that's a waste of time?) and I know I want to read some of Barbara Sher's books (Refuse to Choose, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was -- any preferences here?). We also both have done Johnson O'Connor aptitude testing, so we'll review the results and notes we have from that.

What else should we be reading or doing to help us gain insight into the types of jobs we might want to pursue when we move in the spring? I really want to approach this like a class and have regular, structured (ish?) meetings. Any advice on how to go about this process would be awesome. There's also an online class based on What Color Is Your Parachute now, but I'm not sure that would work any better than just doing the exercises in the book. What do you guys think? Money is pretty tight, but we're definitely willing to get some books or other things that genuinely will help us (again, looking at it as a textbook or whatever). Thanks for your help!
posted by pupstocks to Work & Money (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why don't you talk to your school's career services dept? In addition to help with resumes and cover letters, etc., they probably also offer standardized career-interest tests, personality tests, and one on one counseling appointments for undergrads who don't know what they want to do. You could make a series of appointments with a pro to give this project even more structure.

Once you have it narrowed down to a dozen or so general career paths, you might also want to do some preliminary networking with actual people in your area who do these jobs to see if their lives look like fun. You could set small specific goals for this and keep each other accountable: contact X number of people, schedule informational interviews where you take notes, ask to spend a day job shadowing, etc. You could even keep track of your field research with spreadsheets or reports about the pros and cons of each option.
posted by steinwald at 8:41 AM on January 15, 2013

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