Whether we’re young or young at heart, some of us never seem to stop wondering what we want to be when we grow up.
And with more than 22,000 careers (and counting) to choose from in this world, it’s no wonder. That’s where career advisor Michelle Stegen (Advertising PR ‘96) and her colleagues at Lethbridge College come in. They know that some of us could benefit from a little help along the way.
“The most common phrase I hear from clients, whether they’re 16 or 65, is ‘I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up,’” says Stegen. She understands the struggle in a personal way. It wasn’t until Stegen became ill that she realized she was on the wrong professional path.
“I worked with great people, had a really supportive environment,” she says, “but even though I was doing a good job, the tasks and the industry conflicted with my values.”
Stegen learned this by taking the assessments she now offers and switching careers. She says it was the best thing she could have done.
“I’m evidence that it’s possible to change careers so you can wake up and be energized and love what you do,” she says. Stegen meets with people in all stages of the search. She sees high school students with the whole world ahead of them, “career changers” between the ages of 30 and 50, and even retirees who want to know where to best spend their time.
No matter what the stage, if you’re in the wrong career, you can end up exhausted and drained at the end of the day.
Stegen will always remember the moment one client realized he wasn’t necessarily depressed, but just in a job that wasn’t suited to his personality. The client went through career advising, switched his focus and is now “smiling ear to ear.”
His occupational success story isn’t uncommon. Stegen has worked with many people who have come out of the advising with a better sense of who they are, what motivates them and what will energize them.
There are generally four stages of career advising. The first and most important step is self-exploration. This is the step Stegen and her colleagues focus on. The process involves taking assessments, which help sort out the tasks you like and the tasks you love – and that can act as a springboard.
“The most important thing you can do is self-exploration,” says Stegen, “And most people don’t do it.” But as Stegen explains, “until you know who you are and what you value, how are you possibly going to find a job that fits? You have to know yourself first.”
The next steps include researching jobs that interest you, making a decision, and taking action. Career advising offers help and advice along the way, as well as identifies tasks that will help you stay motivated.
And don’t be afraid of what may seem like an intimidating process. The result could be discovering a work life that fulfills your whole life. Stegen can attest to that.
Career Advising is available to all Lethbridge College students, alumni and the public. Assessment fees may apply. For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-320- 3287.