This article is sponsored by Capital One.
Capital One recently conducted a national survey and found that more than three quarters (77%) of Americans admitted that at some point in their career, they’ve taken a job that didn’t align with their interests, ambitions or long-term goals. Capital One also discovered that more than half of the survey respondents (58%) said they don’t feel like they have as much control as they would like in shaping their career path.
Fortunately, there’s more than one way to plot a career path — which is why Capital One has made it their mission to help people meet their money goals, while also motivating them to pursue their personal passions. With that in mind, Capital One hosted a series of free career path workshops on June 17th at the Capital One Cafe, in Glendale, California, that covered values exploration, personal branding, and goal setting.
The three 90-minute “Mapping Your Own Career Path” workshops were led by Capital One money coach, Megan Lathrop, and The LA Girl, Gwen Lane, who discussed how people at any stage of their career could tap into their personal values to make a wise career move. There was even a photographer offering free professional head shots for everybody in attendance.
The workshops were well-attended — there were approximately 25 eager participants ready to learn — and it wasn’t long before Megan and Gwen had the group learning all about the importance of crafting an effective personal mission statement, identifying eight of our most important personal characteristics (mine were discipline, responsibility and wisdom), and then using that info to help map a successful career path.
Of course, I’m well into my career as an engineer. In fact, it’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been working in the engineering field for 30 years — it really does seem like only yesterday when I was making the interview rounds with multiple technology companies up and down the California coast. Ah, memories!
Frankly, looking back, although my ultimate career path has been extremely stable from the time I took my first job, it did take some interesting twists along the way. In fact, I am a long way away from the original career plan that I had established before I was even a teenager: as a kid, I wanted to be an architect. As such, I spent my high school years focused on taking classes that would help get me accepted into colleges offering an architectural degree, including the requisite drafting and architecture shop courses. My dad even bought me a fancy drafting table and precision drawing instruments — this was before the days of computer-aided design, people — so I could practice my craft at home.
Little did I know that I would change my major one short year after getting accepted to Cal Poly San Luis Obsipo’s prestigious architecture program — but that I did, because the classes were actually boring me. I needed something more challenging — so I switched to architectural engineering. Then, a year later, I changed majors again; to electrical engineering.
Needless to say, changing majors was responsible for extending my college career by a couple of years — but, thankfully, back then college was much cheaper than it is today.
The important point I want to convey from my experience is that you should never be afraid to change your career path. Life is too short to be stuck working a job that doesn’t satisfy you professionally or emotionally. I’m not saying career changes are easy — but when they’re properly planned, they can ultimately pay big dividends.
For those unsure of where to start, educating yourself on the best steps to take when mapping your own career path is critical and Capital One’s career path workshops may be the perfect launch pad for you.
Photo Credit: Capital One