What is a career? BrainyDictionary.com defines a career as ‘General course of action or conduct in life, or in a particular part or calling in life, or in some special undertaking.’ When I think of the word ‘career’ it brings to mind a picture of someone who does a type of work, has been doing it for some time and is very good at it. Along with that career I can picture this person advancing in position and pay.
Now let’s define the word ‘job.’ Merriam-Webster online defines ‘job’ as ‘1 a : a piece of work; especially : a small miscellaneous piece of work undertaken on order at a stated rate.’ Now I ask my self do I have a career or do I have a job? How do I decide?
Before we get into a philosophical discussion with ourselves over that point, let’s try some simpler questions like: Do I enjoy what I am doing for work? If for some reason I had to leave my current job, would I seek out this same type of employment elsewhere, or would I change direction totally? Can I find employment in the same field wherever I go? Lastly, does the salary or pay in my current line of work provide the type of pay I need or desire?
The transient nature of a military family has us asking ourselves these questions time and again. If you are not in a career that meets your needs, it might be time to change. The question "what do you want to be when you grow-up?" applies at any age. So, what do you want to be?
If you are exploring the idea of a career change, here are some steps to help you get started:
- Assess where you are now; decide if you need to change everything about your current employment or if you can change certain aspects or conditions that would allow you to be happy with where you are.
- If you decide on career change, take an assessment of your values, skills, and your occupational interests. These assessments can also help you identify why you may not be satisfied in you current employment.
- Explore your options; investigate the occupations you are interested in and see what will work for you.
- Make a plan; map out the steps required for you to move into that occupation, set long term and short term goals with specific target dates. Work the plan.
- Build your support network; involve your spouse, family and friends; let them know your plan, and let them help you stick to it. Use all of your resources to help you; FFSC Transition Assistance and Family Employment Readiness Programs in Bldg 42, Life Long Learning Center in Bldg 617, the Lake County Job Centers, and any other military and community resources.
For your career transition needs, the Fleet and Family Support Center offers guidance and training. These services are provided by our Life Skills Specialists in the Transition Assistance Program and the Family Employment Readiness Program. To sign up for a class or to make an appointment to speak with a Life Skills Specialist, call the Fleet and Family Support Center at (847)688-3603, ex 100, for the front desk.