So you have decided you are interested in pursuing further education. Especially in this society, finding the right career is not just about what work you are suited for but what lifestyle you want to live and what your life situation looks like. Many people are finding that online distance learning is the best choice for them and this is a viable option.

What program would suit you best!? Where can you even begin? Here are a few simple exercises to discover some new options and perhaps some direction.

Have you ever heard, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness & the world’s deep hunger meet (Beuchner).” Finding your fit in this society is about finding what you are good at, enjoy, and what is at the same time needed. Yet in the real world it means we sometimes take out the trash and reconcile that with our identity as a valuable task! These exercises can help clear your view from some negative influence and expectations that clutter the way.

1. Define what ‘career’ means to you. What is a career and why do you want one?

One definition includes, “. . . a process of self-development and fulfillment that includes the working out of one’s purpose and lifestyle in creating the stuff of work and life. Career is more than just one’s paid work and occupation.”

2. Make a list of what you have enjoyed doing in the past and one of what you were good at. What jobs, whether paid or unpaid, did you find were enjoyable to you? Why? Were you good at them and/or have potential to grow in that area?

3.Think about your life as a whole, not just your job or career. Make a pie chart of what part of your value comes from your job, work, or career as you define it and what other aspects of yourself and your life you value. You can find a list of core values online. Why is each part valuable to you? How can you incorporate your values into your job, work, and career? How does the paid work and other aspects of your life make up what you define as your ‘career’?

4.Imagine your career journey as a metaphor such as traveling down a river in a boat, for example. And answer these series of questions. . .

A. What would the metaphor for your career journey be?

B. Now where are your friends in the journey, your family, and others in your life? What are they doing and saying? How do you feel about this?

C. What else is on this journey?

D. What would you like it to look like ideally?

E. What would you or they need to change for your career journey to be ideal?

5. Take a few career and personality tests to see what they have to say about what jobs may fit you best. Two online tests are at http://www.livecareer.com/home.aspx and http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp.

6.  If you are interested in an online program, from there you can look at sites such as http://www.distancelearning.com to find an online program in that area. There is a wealth of information you can browse about each field and the programs offered.

8. Christians keep in mind the bigger picture of God’s call on your life, submission to him, and his command, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or your body, what you will wear. Is not your life more important than food, the body more important than clothes (Matthew 6:25)?” Also, instructions ‘on the authority of Jesus Christ’ to, “. . .make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,  so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12). Keep in mind the bigger picture of your life, “Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then are gone (James 4:14).”

9. Some books to read include The Call by Os Guinness and The Fabric of This World by Lee Hardy. What Color is Your Parachute: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers updates yearly with a new edition by Richard Bolles.

10. Seek out a career counselor and/or life coach to assist you on your journey. Sometimes talking to someone who is not a part of your life, can be more objective, and has training and wisdom in career counseling or life coaching can gain you leaps and bounds.

Rachel Hofer

www.lovingtherapy.com

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