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Your Political Grandmother

Your Guide to Office Politics, Continued

by Marilyn Moats Kennedy – May 5, 2010

Q.  The most fun I had in college was being on the central planning committee for Dance Marathon.  Now I’m a nurse getting a law degree next June. I know I’m not going to like health care law.  My parents can’t believe I’ve spent so much money and still lack direction.

A: It’s never too late to change direction as long as you still breath.  What did you love about Dance Marathon?  There are two components to a career or job:  the skills you use and the context in which you use them.  If you don’t know what skills you love to use or the kind of environment that suits you, you’re doomed to serial disappointment

Step one is the public library.  Talk to a research librarian.  She’ll hand you a copy of Gale’s Encyclopedia of Associations.  This has descriptions of every trade association and professional society in the U.S.  Pick areas of interest and see which associations exist.  If one sounds appealing, call the national headquarters and ask for the local contact.  Call that individual and ask if you can attend a meeting as a guest.  Once at the meeting, ask for a member of the  hospitality committee to introduce you to some members.  If you don’t find the people interesting you’re unlikely to find the jobs they have a good fit.

Step two is to make a written (not mental) list of all the things you’ll never do again.  This is really important because it’s so easy to fall back on the familiar.  Be strong.  Don’t tell yourself you can do anything.  Focus exclusively on what you’ve done well and happily in the past.   Ask friends you worked with in college what they liked best about DM.

What you are looking for is the eureka factor.  As you explore, you will find several careers that you’ll want to explore.  Start now and you’ll be on track long before graduation.

About the Author: Marilyn Moats Kennedy

Speaker and Chicago career consultant, Marilyn Moats Kennedy owns MoatsKennedy, Inc. She does keynote speeches and runs corporate workshops on career planning, office politics and workforce diversity.

Posted in Office Politics