By Ron Zarbock
You frequently see people of all ages who have experienced varying levels of all different types of success struggle with finding their footing along their career paths. This article is addressed to not only the up-and-coming Generation Z, which will begin to enter the corporate world as early as next year, but to every single person — regardless of age or position — who is seeking guidance on finding their career path.
When choosing a career that’s best for you, there are three main points I recommend abiding by: developing good character skills, doing your best work and seeking education opportunities.
First of all, character skills will trump nearly all other skills, no matter your career path. Develop a strong character, be full of integrity and possess mental strength. Chances are you will be treated unfairly at times, be ignored and will likely experience some failures. Holding yourself to a high strength of character will allow you to rise above, persevere and shine on through it all!
Though your career is one of the most important aspects of your life, remember that it does not define you. That said, expect there will be many days that it will be a drudgery to you. Your career will not always be roses, and when it’s not it is important to remain engaged and present for your sake. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint, so stay consistent.
Second, always do your best. No one can ever expect more than that and you should never plan on giving anything less, no matter the circumstances. Whatever path you choose, chances are that you will be serving mankind in some capacity, whether it be saving lives as a doctor or fireman or cleaning up after others in sanitation — all careers are important and necessary. Serve with pride; take care to present yourself well through your appearance; use positive, professional language and continuously be a silent example. Additionally, others are always serving us as well, so please remember to respect them and recognize their own contributions.
Next, become educated, not just to find a job, but for the sake of learning. Finish your degree if started or take an equally valuable career path by way of developing a trade or skill, then refine it! The value of any skill is in the degree of its refinement. The more refined, the more valuable — consider music, art and sports as an example.
We all have different personalities and our aptitudes for success in various trades vary widely. Thank goodness for that, otherwise we’d all be astronauts or ballerinas with no audience! While some of us have aptitudes that are easily recognized in the business world, others of us may hold aptitudes that are not so readily seen. Perhaps you are a good communicator or a hard worker or a great team player — these are all key and highly valued skills.
Whatever your aptitude may be, high schools, trade schools, colleges and universities each have many different programs designed to create careers for all education levels and personality types. For example, in addition to offering two and four-year degrees, Utah Valley University offers year-long certification programs available to anyone of any age. This is the case for other educational institutions as well.
Additionally, today’s schools are incredibly accommodating to individual needs and aptitudes. Whether you want to take concurrent enrollment in high school and work study or learn a trade, colleges, universities and trade schools are willing to work with you to help you take the next step on your career path. Language immersion, adult education and community learning programs can vary from forensics to cosmetology. There is really no end to what is offered.
Most companies offer training, tuition reimbursement and other programs designed to invigorate their associates’ personal success. Take advantage of these opportunities when offered to develop a stronger you. Your employer’s motivation is to create a more viable organization by empowering a more effective workforce. As this happens, they have an increasingly difficult task of retaining that workforce by providing a package that keeps them engaged — benefits, compensation, culture, opportunity, etc. If this is not done, their workforce is diminished. The Emerging Workforce Study (www.emergingworkforcestudy.com) is a national semi-annual study that helps organizations understand and navigate through this difficult task.
If you cannot envision what you want to do or where you want to be, consider working with a staffing company. Staffing agencies recruit top talent from all experience levels in many fields and have working relationships with companies you may not otherwise have considered. They are a great resource to add to your career path tool belt.
The bottom line is this: Be your best self. Finding your path to your career path is not always easy, but with the endless options and support available to you, you can step out and make it happen.
Ron Zarbock is the owner of the Utah and Idaho offices of Spherion Staffing.