Lifestyle

The career… path or destination?

Making a career change is made easier with the help of free monthly workshops by SAIT Student Development and Counselling Department

A year before graduating high school, the counsellors in my school asked each of us to consider what we wanted to do for a living. My answer? I wanted to get out of my one-horse town. I just wanted to work and make my own money. 

It is not that simple anymore. Personally, I have gone through at least three big career changes, from working for VISA credit card services to making lattes at Starbucks and then working for an engineering company. Surprisingly, my coffee-making skills came in very handy for that last job, because many engineers are procrastinators who cram for a deadline more than most students I have come to know.

According to Workopolis, Canadians can expect to hold 15 jobs in their lifetime. Job-hopping is the new normal, and may be the most unconventional way to discover what you really want to do (or not do) in terms of a career.

Finding your path to “Zen” that comes with a paycheque is a challenge.

SAIT journalism student Debbie Chadwick went to school in the U.K., and felt she was given poor advice when she inquired about her career choices after graduating from high school.

“I was not told all the kinds of things that could be pursued,” Chadwick says. 

Like many other girls, she was pointed in the direction of secretarial school. She caught on quickly and became good at her job, though it was one that made her feel “squashed, like my brain was in a box with no light.”

Luckily, relocating to the east coast of Scotland with her husband led Chadwick to discover an arts program at one of the few schools in the area.

“It was like a window opening up in my soul,” Chadwick states. 

She considers the paint splatters on her clothes and the dried clay under her nails like a badge of honour in her journey to finding work she truly loved to do.

Being able to embrace change means questioning the status quo and pushing yourself to find out what makes you happy, according to SAIT Hospitality Management student Madison Friesen.

“I never want to stay in my comfort zone,” Friesen says. 

“I want to be excited to live my life and wake up, and have fun working.”

Friesen is an accomplished student with two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts with a management concentration, and an advanced scientific diploma. When she began looking for work in the field of marine biology, employers told her that she would have to be “at a desk” for five years before getting the opportunity to go out and do field work.

Friesen realized that she needed to look closer at what she wanted to do. She started asking for input from the people who knew her best, including friends and family.

Friesen realized she loved making people feel welcome, and was incredibly organized, which led her to a career in hospitality.

She has a simple piece of advice for anyone having doubts about their aspirations.

“Follow your gut,” Friesen states. 

“If it doesn’t feel right, you probably should be doing something different.”

This January, SAIT started hosting a series of free, specialized career search workshops for Calgarians to explore their options. Depending on which categories of age and work/life experience the participants fall into, there is a workshop customized to their issues and needs.

“The Head and Heart of Career Planning” workshop is focused on young participants who are just starting to ponder future careers. In most cases, the attendees, called “career starters,” have not developed a career plan yet, even if they are employed while attending high school or a post-secondary program.

Alternatively, the “New Chapter: Re-Design Your Life and Your Career” workshop is customized to mature individuals who have been working in one or more occupations, including homemaking. These folks are looking for a change in their career direction – in some cases, a complete 180 degree turn. The workshops are offered on an alternating monthly basis until June 2019.

More information on the workshops, including how to register, can be found at this link.

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