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Friday, August 11, 2006
Test Drive a Job
I was reading an article today at one of the online news outlets about a new, unique program for career changers. The program allows you to work for several weeks alongside someone who is already accomplished in the career field in which you are interested. This mini “apprenticeship” allows you to try out the career in which you are interested so you will know if it’s something you want to pursue full-time. What a great idea!

So many times, we have clients who come to us without a true career goal in mind hoping we can write a resume that will get them a dream job. We have to tell such people they are getting the cart before the horse – you have to decide where you want to go before we can draw a map to get there. Many of them have several, diverse areas of interest for a new career but aren’t sure what to choose or how to get started. Such a “test drive” program would be ideal for people who have interests but are not sure they want to dive in all the way.

The article described three friends, two of whom were attorneys, who after doing a stint with a chocolatier decided to open their own gourmet chocolate store and ditch the lawyer jobs. Now that is a big career change and one that would have been hard to accomplish without actually doing the work first to get a taste of it.

Such a program would be great for graduating high school seniors. Instead of going directly into college where they wander around for the first two years with a major of “undeclared”, they could instead take a year and apprentice in four to six different professions which interest them. Since 80% of college grads don’t work in a field related to their major, maybe that would make college more relevant and useful in an age where experience is starting to hold more weight than the parchment. It would also make college a better investment. Instead of wasting a lot of credits on classes that don’t apply in the end, you could be very focused from the outset.

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