Category Archives: Case Studies
I want to bring my readers the voices of the many Young Adults I have the pleasure of working with. I have shared the book, The Price of Privilege, with all my students and I was very taken with Dominic’s perspective on privilege.
A bit of background…
Dominic was born and raised in Orange County, California. He has three brothers and is the middle son, born just 13 months behind his older brother. He attended the same schools as his brothers, in fact, with many of the same teachers.
Privilege can be measured in many ways — and Dominic was privileged to have had committed parents who provided him time, attention, discipline, and love. They met his needs and many, but not all, of his wants. His relationship with his brothers was special. By choice, he and his older brother, Matt, shared a room until they left for college.
Dominic is an excellent student, kind to all, and often cited as a “pleasure to have in class.”
Hi, my name is Dominic De Grassi and I will be a sophomore in the College of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).
Last spring, Jan and I were meeting and talked about “privilege.” She asked me if I knew I was privileged and I replied with no hesitation YES! She asked me to provide her with an example, and I told her a story from my childhood.
When you’re a child, your birthday party is one of the major pinnacles of the year (other than Christmas and other few holidays.) And that’s why every year, my mom put much planning into my parties, making sure I had plenty of guests, food, and entertainment. One year I had a karate party where my uncle came and gave everyone karate lessons. Another year I had a sports party where 30 of my friends came and we had competitions in different sports. As you can see, my birthday parties were a very big deal for me. Not only were my birthday parties like that, many of my friends’ parties were similar in nature.
However, one party I went to when I was in the fifth grade helped me realize that I was privileged. I had just met a new friend that year, and he invited me to his birthday party that was supposed to be at a park. What I imagined was a big party with balloons and plenty of people, but it turned out to be quite the contrary.
There were six people there, including me, due to the family only being able to provide food for that many people. And you would expect the food to be along the lines of snacks, drinks, cake, brownies, and other treats; but all they could provide was a bowl of spaghetti, a bowl of Cheetos, and Capri-Sun drinks for the few of us. There weren’t balloons, party favors, or planned activities. There was also no parental supervision either, for that matter. The parents were not able to come due to being stuck at work. So the six of us came to this park, ate the food, and played with a soccer ball for a while. And that was the person’s entire birthday party.
I came home that day and told my parents about the party, and they explained to me that not every person can have a celebration like I can. I didn’t quite understand it at the time, but as I grew older I came to understand that only a few people in this world are privileged the way I am, and that I should never take that for granted.
WOW, I had No Idea How Much You Could Learn from Talking to People! The Importance of Meeting the Professionals Who Can Help Your Young Adult Pursue His/Her Career Dreams
Throughout my 30 years as a Career Coach I have been asked repeatedly, “How do I “motivate” my clients?” The easy answer is, “It’s not only me!” What does motivate anyone searching for their dream career is to actually see their future. Once a career seeker discovers his or her ideal job they will do all they need to do to get there! How do they do this? Information Interviews!
This process, first documented by Richard Bolles in his book, What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers, involves conducting Information Interviews. Many people don’t know that Richard Bolles wrote his best selling book after leaving his career as an Episcopalian Priest. He spent the next two years interviewing anyone and everyone about their career path. He coined the term “Information Interview” to describe an interview for career information and advice — the process of “trying on jobs to see if they fit you.”
He notes, “Most people choose a career path without taking the time to speak with professionals in their field of interest. As a result, they find themselves in careers that are not a true match for their skills, values, interests, and abilities. Information interviews give you the opportunity to conduct the screening process before accepting a position.”
These Information Interviews are crucial to the career decision-making process! Unlike other types of job interviews, an Information interview is an interview that you initiate — you ask the questions. The purpose is to get information, not to get the job.
They not only provide information important to a career field, they also involve:
- Learning about the career path of the person being interviewed
- Talking about the various ways to acquire the skills, training, and experience needed to succeed in the career field
- Seeing the actual work environment
- Sharing other contacts in the career field
- Getting advice about how to enter the field
This step is so important once the Young Adult completes a self-assessment. I enjoy matching the students with professionals we know — who like and enjoy meeting, talking, and sharing their valuable career information with interested young people.
Below is a Young Adult who can describe her hands-on experiences with the Information Interviewing process much better than I can!
My name is Kate and I am 27 years old. I have just returned to the United States after living several years in Santiago, Chili.
Having been told it didn’t really matter what my major was in college, I leafed through the UC Berkeley course catalog as a freshman and decided that Peace and Conflict Studies looked interesting. Four years later, I had my degree and absolutely no idea what to do with it!! I ended up at a medical device startup company where I had been an intern in college. Once I’d become bored with the job I was in, I decided to pursue a master’s at Harvard in International Education Policy — again having little knowledge of whether I’d actually enjoy the career for which the program was to prepare me.
After spending some time abroad, I have decided to reenter the Medical Device Industry, but this time I’ve been conducting Information Interviews to see which positions best suit my skills, interests, and abilities. Had I known to do Information Interviews earlier, I might have saved myself the rather expensive (albeit fun) detour into education and be farther along in my career by now. As it turns out, all I would have had to do was walk down the hall at the medical device company where I was already working and talk to some folks in Regulatory Affairs or Marketing to understand that these fields were a much better fit to my personality and interests!
The people I have interviewed in the medical device field so far have provided valuable advice, both on how to transition back into the medical device industry and on where to go once I’ve done so. Everyone has been incredibly generous with their time — not only in the initial interview but afterwards as well, checking in on my job search, alerting me to openings, offering feedback on my resume, and providing kind words of support.
When I started conducting Information Interviews I knew they would give me a clearer picture of the kind of career I want; but as I’ve spoken with more and more people in the field, I’ve realized that I’m also learning things that will help me actually get the job I want. Things like learning the specific vocabulary and acronyms people in the field use and which specific skills are looked for in prospective employees.
Really, there’s no downside to doing Information Interviews. I’ve had a lot of fun getting to know people in the field and learning about all the possible paths that I can take to a fulfilling career.
There is a vast world of work out there in this country, where at least 111 million people are employed in this country alone—- many of whom are bored out of their minds. All day long. — Richard Bolles
Richard Bolles has also teamed up with Carol Christen, a Career Strategist and Jean Blomquist, a College Counselor, to come out with this great guide to help teens zero in on their favorite skills and apply that knowledge to get the most out of school, set goals, and pursue their dreams. What-Color-Is-Your-Parachute-for-Teens
An article appeared on the Los Angeles Times on Monday, October 25, 2010 entitled Recession to Echo Loudly for the Young. Because of the current recession and what many people call a “jobless recovery,” it has definitely been more difficult for new college graduates to get that all important first job in the career field of their choice. Many young people are literally being left behind as others begin to build their careers.
After all the hard work and financial resources that college demands, there is nothing more depressing than returning home either unemployed or under employed in a “McJob.” It’s one thing to be the bottom rung of a ladder you want to be on…but it’s another thing to be at the bottom of a career field you don’t even like or wouldn’t normally choose!
Because it is so competitive, Young Adults in college need to begin their career journey early in their college career. There are many activities they can engage in that will help them clarify their career goals and make the contacts that are so pivotal in their future job search.
While it is commendable to concentrate on their studies, many college students make the mistake of doing this to the exclusion of all else. Grades do matter — especially for that all important first job out of college — but a high grade point average is only one factor necessary in landing the job.
The Advantages of Career Building Activities
As I work with my clients who are in college, I have them engage in a number of Career Building Activities. Depending on their major and career goals these activities could include:
- Networking with their teachers and professors who can give them further career information and valuable contacts in their chosen field.
- Using a variety of sources to conduct as many Information Interviews as possible to gain valuable career insights and those all important contacts.
- Participation in all appropriate college sponsored Job Fairs.
I am working with a young man, 23, who is just finishing his junior year in college majoring in Hospitality. He has completed several important career focused activities that will make job hunting next Spring very fruitful:
- Jaik has been working in a local restaurant as a busboy and waiter since he was 14. Through his dedication, customer service, and experience, he has proven to the owner that he can take on new “management” duties that include food ordering, scheduling, and menu planning. She now feels comfortable with him managing the restaurant in her absence.
- Jaik has been contacting and interviewing Food and Beverage Managers from a variety of businesses. To date, he has talked to representatives from the Hyatt and Westin hotels; also PF Chang’s and the Cheesecake Factory restaurants. Not only is he learning job responsibilities and how business hiring practices work, he is making terrific contacts for his future job search!
- Jaik and I are currently preparing for a major Job Fair for his field. He will be “dressing for success” with a new suit, updating his resume; and is practicing his marketing script and interviewing skills.
My Career Program is designed to build insights and self-awareness that allows the Young Adult to begin the very significant step of linking their personal and academic experiences with the World of Work. This step is crucial as they look towards graduation and a great beginning to a new career!