By Gary M. Jordan, Ph.D.
Recently a friend of mine made a referral of a woman whose daughter was having difficulty in college. The daughter was methodically decreasing her academic load, was not attending classes, and was not real interested in continuing.
My friend wanted to know if our Career Planning Guide would be a good way to help the daughter figure out what she was interested in pursuing in college and as a career. That is the exact purpose of that program, so I suggested to my friend that he have one of them give me a call.
Interestingly, but not too surprisingly, it was the mother who called me. She asked the usual questions to vet me and the company – “Who are you? How long have you been doing this? What’s the process? How much does it cost? What will my daughter get out of it?” etc.
I told her that at the end of the process her daughter would know what her natural skills and interests were and have an action plan to pursue something that took advantage of them. Then she asked a question that I hear frequently but which never ceases to amaze me: “Can you guarantee that if she goes through this process with you that she will be able to get a productive job that will allow her to make a good living?”
The only truthful answer to that question, “No”, is always a disappointment and regularly leads to an unsatisfactory ending to the conversation.
The woman I spoke with seemed like a caring mother, but I was struck by the short-sightedness of the question and the devaluing of her daughter that is at the heart of her need for a guarantee. Clearly given her apathetic approach to college the daughter has little or no idea what she is interested in pursuing.
This is a dilemma of meaning, significance, and purpose all of which are addressed by helping her discover her natural skills and interests. Mom’s distress was not about what the lack of direction revealed about her daughter, only that without a clear direction and a degree she would be unable to find a good job.
This may be true, but the focus on the outcome rather than on what will give her daughter the best opportunity for happiness and success in life she is setting her daughter up for further failure. A degree or career path that is not based in her daughter’s natural strengths ultimately condemns her daughter to becoming another one of the 80% of people who hate what they do.
Discovering a clear direction that will lead to career opportunities and sufficient income to live on are important goals, but they are so much more readily attainable if the direction you are going is based on knowledge of who you are and of your natural skills.
So, the answer is “No, I cannot guarantee that the Career Planning Guide will result in a job, a career, or even happiness and fulfillment.” There are no such magic bullets. What I can guarantee is that knowing who she is and what she does naturally well will give her the best shot at finding all of them.
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Need help with your career planning? Check out our website to find out more information about the Career Planning Guide.
To find out more about the services we have available to help you find the success you want and deserve go to www.YourTalentAdvantage.com.