Education Career Services

April 8, 2009

Back to the Future

docBeing a news junkie, I was listening to NPR on my way home yesterday and caught their series on the “New Normal.” The essence of the coverage is a question: What will change in this country as we emerge from the economic downturn? Will Americans abandon their love affair with big cars, big houses, big meals, and big box stores? And if so, what will fill the vacuum?

Similar questions can be asked about our careers. Will more of us choose to have a smaller career (in hours, paycheck, etc.) in order to “live large” in other ways? Or will the job shake-up leave us more docile, fearful workers, groveling before employers like so many Oliver Twists? “Please sir, can I have a job?”

Even apart from the content-ranging from rampant consumerism to global warming-it’s strange to experience this sweeping debate of our country’s priorities and position in the world. Kind of like a nationwide trip back to the college dorm and the 2 AM philosophizing.

Or perhaps it feels like that because I’ve been thinking a lot about college in the past few months while working on the most recent addition to our “Career Intelligence Series.” Entitled Self Analysis: Kick Off Your Career With Knowledge, (just headed to press!) we put together 80+ pages of activities to help post-secondary students channel some of those late night insights into a good career decision.

Working on this book with my co-authors highlighted how important it is to return to the fundamental questions every now and again…and how they never seem to get any easier. Even with writers representing every decade from our twenties through our fifties, none of us felt we had it all figured out.

As I typed away about integrating one’s values, interests, and personality into a career development plan, I felt myself regressing to ten years old, when that crazy aunt-twice-removed asks the tired question…”So what do you want to be when you grow up?”

More than two decades later and facing global economic uncertainty, I’m still tempted to respond with a shrug. What about you?

Amy Lorenzo
Sr. Writer
Career Services International –

Education Career Services –

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