Archive for Monday, January 15, 2007

Finding a successful career

January 15, 2007


A message to our readers:

Dale: If you missed last week's column, you missed Kate Wendleton's farewell. (She retired from the column to focus on her business.) But you haven't missed my new partner, J.T. O'Donnell.

J.T.: I honestly can't believe my opportunity to help people on a larger scale is coming true. My enthusiasm for this is so big, I feel like a kid again.

Dale: And J.T. has put that enthusiasm to work, including a new Web site,, with free helpful career tools. Now, on to our first question.

Q: Since graduating from college five years ago, I've worked for several radio stations as a reporter. Not only have I failed to find my dream career, but I feel I've fallen behind and missed my opportunity to be successful at anything. Having moved back in with my parents only makes everything seem more hopeless. - Andre

A: Dale: Hmmm : I'm trying to think of a career that, five years in, has been closed off for you - all I'm coming up with are jobs like being a power forward with the Dallas Mavericks. That leaves a few options. How best to consider them? Instead of thinking about jobs, find people you admire and figure out how you can become more like them.

J.T.: The biggest mistake I see people make in my private career-coaching practice is striving to be successful without a definition of success. Many of my clients have been driven to achieve professional success, but when I ask if they have a successful life, the question either perplexes or depresses them. My goal for you, Andre, is that you forget about finding a career that impresses others and find one that impresses you.

Dale: That sounds great, but Andre is back with Mom and Dad and feeling hopeless, not impressive.

J.T.: I understand. I want him to go to the Web site for the University of Missouri's Career Center ( and try The Career Interests Game (find it by using the drop-down menu at the bottom of the page). Using the work of Dr. John Holland, it aligns work with underlying enthusiasms and thus, gets at "impressing yourself." One client came to me after having had four careers in his 10 years of working. About all he knew about himself for sure was that he hated being in an office and wanted to utilize his creativity. He tried the Interests Game and guess what? None of his four careers appeared on the resulting list. I'm delighted to say that he is now a landscape architect and couldn't be happier.


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