final reflection

As a child I imagined when I grew up, I would be a singer, cheerleader, or professional rollerblader. As I grew up, I realized that many of my aspirations would not pay the bills and I needed to find something a bit more serious. As the end of my high school career came near, I started exploring jobs I thought would come with a big pay check, not really thinking if they would be a good fit for me or what it would take for me to get there. I decided on a career in the medical field and narrowed it down to becoming a pharmacist. Fast forward three years later and I found myself failing my junior year of college. If I had only spent time researching my selected career and exploring my skills and strengths, I could have found that careers that needed a mastery of medicine and biological sciences were not in my skill set. How does one discover what their strengths are and what careers are best suited for them? I found that knowing your personality type can have a great deal of impact on finding a career you can excel in. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Assessment breaks down personality characteristics into sixteen possible personality types. The categories are Extraverted (E) vs. Introverted (I), Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N), Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F), and Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P). After answering a series of questions, the MBTI gives you the results from each category you scored the highest in. Extraverted vs. Introverted signifies the source of direction of a person’s energy, Sensing vs. Intuition represents how you perceive information, Thinking vs. Feeling represents how you process information, and Judging vs. Perceiving reflects how a person uses the information they have processed (Personality type, n.d.). My MBTI results were Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging (ESFJ). An ESFJ is a caring, sociable person that is eager to help others out. ESFJ’s are natural caretakers, they love being of service if they know their values are appreciated, and they take their responsibility to help and do the right thing serious. They do not like conflict and prefer a well planned and organized event to a spontaneous get together. ESFJ’s are strong in practical skills, they are very loyal, and good at connecting with others. An ESFJ is vulnerable to criticism and tends to want to control everything. Some careers best fitted for an ESFJ are nurse, teacher, office manager, optometrist, social worker, health care administrator, and counselor (Watchwellcast, 2013). After reviewing the characteristics of an ESFJ I believe my results are extremely accurate. After dropping out of college my junior year I worked many jobs from retail management to office management and I found that I really enjoyed helping others. After I became a mother, I realized that I felt a sense of accomplishment and self-worth from helping someone else, even with the smallest task. I set a goal for myself to go back to school and complete my degree and find a career that would not only provide for my family but give me self-fulfillment. Some of the options I have considered over the years is health care administration, teacher, and social work. After being home with my children for five years, I wanted to start working again while I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree. This past year I took a service position with a non-profit organization as a mentor in my local high school. Through this position I have learned that I love being in the school system and interacting with students. Being able to form a bond with each of my mentees and impacting their lives in a positive way has given me the inspiration to become a teacher. To me, being a teacher means I get to have a role in shaping a child’s life and watch them learn and grow. I can think back to my childhood and fondly remember several teachers that impacted my life by building my strengths and raising my confidence and I want to have that same opportunity. I fear that I may have made the decision to become a teacher a bit too late during my college career. I am not in an education program, nor have I taken any of the required state tests for certification. I have spoken to some educators and done research and have found that currently you do not have to have graduated from an approved teacher education program in Kentucky to become a teacher to teach elementary school. To teach at the high school level you need to have your degree in the subject you plan on teaching. You also need to pass the state exams for certification (Gibson, 2019). As I finish my degree in General Studies I am going to participate in workshops as I can and continue to prepare for the exams. Once I have graduated, I will begin to look for positions in an elementary school. Eventually I would like to transition to the high school level so I will need to continue my education to achieve that goal. Once concept I want to teach my children and my mentees is about growth mindset. The video we watched on Carol Dweck was very inspirational for me. She explained that when you are not doing well in a class, or you don’t grasp a concept that you should think in the mindset that you are not there yet. The “not yet” mindset allows our brain’s capacity to learn and solve problems to grow (TED, 2014). This growth mindset allows children to gain the confidence they need to master the content they are trying to learn. I think that one should not have one specific job in mind when they graduate from college. If I would have considered other options before enrolling in college, I may not have felt so misplaced when my anticipated major did not work out. I strongly believe that I was meant to be a teacher and would love for that to come to fruition, but if it does not, I do have other options. I am also passionate about jobs in the Human Service field and with my degree I could effortlessly find a position in my area. In our module covering job searching, we used various websites to find job openings in our area. During the searches I conducted I found several jobs that I would be suited for.In the human services interview I conducted in one of our other modules, I spoke with a Kindergarten teacher who has been teaching for over ten years. She was very informative and gave me advice on classroom organization and navigating standardized tests. One area we spoke in detail about was skills needed for teaching. She stated that the skills she uses most often are organization, leadership, and enthusiasm and I consider those to be skills I possess as well (Gibson, 2019). Skills and values are very important in our career choices and job performance. I would consider my chief skills to be organization, communication, and training. Good organizational skills are necessary for productivity. By being organized you can plan, prioritize, and achieve goals with ease. Strong communication skills are of great importance in every aspect of life and especially at work. Communication skills are more than just speaking, you need to be a good listener and use appropriate nonverbal communication skills. Nonverbal communication is important because it contributes to the message you are trying to convey. Body language, posture, and facial expressions can deliver a specific message to your listener (Lock, 2005). Personal values shape you to be who you are today, they form the decisions you make and help us grow and develop. Values I possess that are the most important to me are honesty and integrity. Employers look for an employee that knows the difference between right and wrong, someone they know they can trust, and has moral and ethical principles. Other values that I have are being positive, strong work ethic, self-motivated, and motivation (Lock, 2005). Finding a job that aligns with your values is important because you don’t want to work for a company that asks you to do something you feel uncomfortable with or you don’t agree with (Talks, 2014). In the book What Color Is Your Parachute we learned many concepts about job-hunting. Looking for employment has changed significantly over the years, employers can now search an applicant’s name online and find information on your instantly. It is crucial to be cautious when posting on social media, if you are posting content that is inappropriate a potential employer could see it and discard your application. It also touched on the importance of making connections, or a “bridge person” that can help you get insight on the company and you can also use as a referral. Having a connection at a company you want to work at is beneficial because they can mention your name to those in charge of hiring and your resume will be less likely to get lost in the pile of applicants (Bolles, 2015). Once you have acquired your interview, the next step is to prepare. You want to sell your skills and impress your potential employer, but you need to ensure you are a right fit for them. Do extensive research on the company to find out what they do and how you can be of value to them. I learned it is also very important to ask questions about the company in your interview. In previous interviews I have had, I have never asked specific questions about the company, the people that work there, or what I can do to differentiate myself from the other applicants. By preparing your own questions you can stand out from others (Bolles, 2015). No matter what career you choose, you may decide to switch gears and find something new after a few years. Current labor trends are showing that many people change careers every 10 years. One reason for this change is that when you start work at your designated career after college you will most likely start at an entry level position and must work your way up. You may find that after a while the job isn’t what you thought it would be and decide to find something else. Many people who do this go back to school while continuing their current job to help with costs of school and living (Lock, 2005). Another reason for a career change is that your current position may have been eliminated. Blue collar work has been on the decline for decades. Blue collar work includes manual labor, construction, and factory production. In place of blue-collar jobs, we predominately have white collar jobs that include the professional, technical, and managerial sector. With the growth of technology most white-collar jobs are knowledge based. Many jobs that were once done by humans have been replaced with computers and robots making it one of the most rapidly growing industries (Lock, 2005). When it comes to choosing a career, you should ask yourself a few questions. Where do your see yourself in 1 year, 5 years, or even 10 years? Ask yourself does your goals line up with your plan and what is the best route to get there? What obstacles will you have to overcome to get there? Will you have to continue your education? If you have a plan and stay focused, you can achieve your goals and find yourself on the way to your dream job.

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