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Career/Aptitude Guidance
Old 10-09-2012, 08:11 AM   #1
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Career/Aptitude Guidance

Hello all...

Background...
Almost two years ago, I opened my home up to a young married couple (the daughter and husband of a good friend) who were looking to get a fresh start in a new city. Although risky (on both our parts) they are about as perfect as a pair of long-term house guests can get.

Both are working at a LARGE coffee shop chain. The wife is also attending community college, while the husband is in the management trainee program.

The Problem...
The husband is beginning to have second thoughts regarding a career in coffee shop management. While attractive when he worked for small independent shops; this direction is becoming less attractive as he learns more about a large corporate chain.

He's now thinking about going to college... but is having "deer in the headlights" paralysis about what direction to take collegially.

Bottom line, he is quickly becoming depressed and forlorn... worried that time (and his housing benefactor) will slip away before he makes up his mind. He might be right about the latter!

The Question...
- Has anyone had experience with Career/Aptitude Testing or Counsellors?
- Did they help steer anyone in a new career direction, or simply (and expensively) confirm/reinforce already held ideas?
- Are there any other resources he/we might try? (on-line tests, college counselors, etc.)

I really want to help this kid... but I came from the school of "You're going to college & you'd better D@MN WELL figure it out!" - and I guess I did...

Thoughts
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:29 AM   #2
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Unless things have changed substantially, the first couple of years in college involve taking basic courses applicable to virtually any major. No need to decide on day one what his career path will be as it will almost certainly change - probably several times.
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:56 AM   #3
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Unless things have changed substantially, the first couple of years in college involve taking basic courses applicable to virtually any major. No need to decide on day one what his career path will be as it will almost certainly change - probably several times.
Absolutely true...
I even shared that with him anecdotally, from my personal experience.

I think, however, he is simply concerned about incurring debt without a clear goal in mind. Thus "Deer in the headlights"... scared of debt + unsure about direction = Paralysis

Since I'm not going to pay for his college... I thought I could at least help him sort out a possible career path (perhaps get him moving/excited about something). Or else, help him meet with someone who could.
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:56 AM   #4
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When I was in college we (5 siblings) all tested here. Not the typical aptitude test, more like ongoing research that identifies aptitudes and skills, looks at what others with similar profiles have chosen for professions, and makes recommendations, not just for work but personal development as well. A few years ago I paid for my three children to do the same (and totally agree with their assessments and recommendations). They found my results, gave me a copy and even reviewed them with me. It was an enjoyable trip back memory lane but my conclusion 30 years later was the original analysis and recommendations were insightful and useful.

It is pricey but I would recommend it, especially for a mature individual searching for guidance.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:16 AM   #5
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Personally I agree with the young man. I would not recommend going into debt to go to college with no goal in mind and no specific driving ambition. I'd continue working at the coffee place while taking classes at the cheapest college around (a community college, perhaps?), on a pay-as-he-goes plan taking no more than he can pay for without a student loan.

If he eventually develops some driving ambition to follow a particular lucrative career path, a student loan might make more sense to me.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:20 AM   #6
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DW does this for a living and has been doing career counseling for the better part of 20 years. I think that some of her clients mostly need someone to talk to and who can help them look around at other options and then many times realize that what they thought was the right choice is the right choice. Others need a lot more help, sometimes tactical stuff (how to do the job search, interview prep, etc.), sometimes bigger picture stuff (they really have no idea where to go next). I think it can be valuable to have someone with the right skills to talk to. If he goes this route, I would suggest seeking out a counselor who specializes just in career counseling. Many marriage and family counselors (who do not know uch about it) will happily take your money to do career counseling on the side, and beware of the ligfhtly regulated and generally woefully under-credentialled "life coach" industry.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:35 AM   #7
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When I was in college we (5 siblings) all tested here. Not the typical aptitude test, more like ongoing research that identifies aptitudes and skills, looks at what others with similar profiles have chosen for professions, and makes recommendations, not just for work but personal development as well.
Very interesting...

A colleague of mine also recommended this organization. Similar to you, his father sent my friend and his brothers there for testing... and consequently my colleague sent one of his sons. That kind of multi-generational support/referral is hard to come by these days.

When I asked if it had helped... he mentioned that it had, but almost more so for the fields that he should avoid.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:41 AM   #8
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Personally I agree with the young man. I would not recommend going into debt to go to college with no goal in mind and no specific driving ambition. I'd continue working at the coffee place while taking classes at the cheapest college around (a community college, perhaps?), on a pay-as-he-goes plan taking no more than he can pay for without a student loan.
I have suggested this as well... my feeling is that becoming a manager at a nationally recognized coffee shop will NEVER hurt your career choices. It would, in fact, give you something that you could always fall back on (as well as a steady paycheck and medical benefits); all while leaving the door open for college classes in a more desired field.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:51 AM   #9
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Hello all...

Background...
Almost two years ago, I opened my home up to a young married couple (the daughter and husband of a good friend) who were looking to get a fresh start in a new city. Although risky (on both our parts) they are about as perfect as a pair of long-term house guests can get.

Both are working at a LARGE coffee shop chain. The wife is also attending community college, while the husband is in the management trainee program.
Unless he is good analytically and has a good math background and aptitude, he is likely better off staying put. Awfully easy to go to college today, come out, and then go live with your parents as you cannot find a decent job, or often enough, any job. Coffee shop management can easily prepare for management in any chain resaurant, and eventually perhaps getting one's own franchise.

He might also look into blue collar trades.

Ha
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:03 AM   #10
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My high school guidance office had an apptitude test on computer. It took a student about an hour to think about and complete all the questions, after which the computer spit out a list of potential careers. Students had the option of changing ansers and/or taking the test as many times as they liked. There must be similar tools online by now.

Some degrees (like Business Ad., Comp Sci) can be used in any kind of business.

IIRC, most people change careers (not just jobs) an average of 3 times during their lifetime, so I agree, college is a starting point.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:21 PM   #11
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This young man reminds me of my 24 yo DS. He doesn't really know what his passion in life is yet and is hesitant to spend time getting a degree in something to later find out it isn't his calling in life - so he is not doing much of anything (working as kitchen staff in a nice local restaurant).

Like OP I have pointed to a number of his aunts and uncles who now work in different fields from their education but are all doing well and have told him that at the worst he would find out what he doesn't want to do and could then build on his background at the time.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:23 PM   #12
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I like the idea of him doing the testing/counseling route, but I can say that for the price of the book, the Strengthsfinders test put out by the Gallup Organization helped me to identify my basic strengths, even though they didn't really direct me to a specific career, but rather how I should look for the right opportunity that would capitalize on those strengths.
That is more helpful to someone like me, euphemistically known as a generalist rather than the more truthful dilettante descriptor.

Nice that you are willing to help him. But maybe he doesn't have to go to college at all right now, come to think of it. He could always find a great place to work, capitalizing on his talents, and then THEY could pay for him to go to school! Stranger things have happened, you know!
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:41 PM   #13
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the Strengthsfinders test put out by the Gallup Organization helped me to identify my basic strengths, even though they didn't really direct me to a specific career, but rather how I should look for the right opportunity that would capitalize on those strengths.
That explains the snakes ...
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:08 PM   #14
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That explains the snakes ...
Long proud tradition of Southern women snake handlers. Not ladies to be messed with, IMO.

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Old 10-09-2012, 03:11 PM   #15
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Hey now, how did y'all know I'd just gone to a family reunion this weekend?
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:34 PM   #16
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That explains the snakes ...
DW has ophidiophobia, so I thought it would be a good idea () to have her picture taken (similar pose to Sarah's) holding an enormous boa constrictor at a local zoo event. It took me the whole day to convince her that snakes weren't slimey. She managed a smile, but you can still see the beads of sweat rolling down...

Getting her to pose with a raptor was easier.
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:25 PM   #17
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DW has ophidiophobia, so I thought it would be a good idea () to have her picture taken (similar pose to Sarah's) holding an enormous boa constrictor at a local zoo event. It took me the whole day to convince her that snakes weren't slimey. She managed a smile, but you can still see the beads of sweat rolling down...

Getting her to pose with a raptor was easier.
Talk about snake-jacking a thread! Tyro, I couldn't get DH near the snake, but I did get him to pose with this little fellow, a caiman.

image-601706332.jpg
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:48 AM   #18
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Talk about snake-jacking a thread!
Just to top off this thread... I thought I'd sum up what I ended up doing - thanks to everyone's suggestions. (snake handling aside)

1, I had another good sit down with the "kid" (25yo man) in question & tried to make him realize that there wasn't any pressure for him to make a decision regarding his job or college immediately.

2, I recommended that he didn't "quit his day job" so to speak; explaining that becoming a manager at Mega-Coffee shop will never hurt him. To the contrary... it will look good on a resume, give him great experience and a nice salary should he decide to go to school.

3, I steered him to 5 highly rated (free) on-line aptitude/personality tests (in addition to the Myers Briggs test).

4, I gave him the name of a local college counselor (who I was referred to).

5, I dug out my old copy of "What color is your parachute?" for him to read.

6, I offered to pay for his testing at the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation. While not cheap... I figured he was worth the $500 investment. Especially given the positive reviews I've heard. (I only asked for 10% of his 1st year salary in return )

I know him well enough that he would only take me up on that last offer if he were REALLY serious. He's almost too mature and responsible for his own good. That's probably why he's worked himself into such a state - worried about he & his wife's future. Not to mention wanting to act as a "good husband" and provider.

I don't envy him... still, I seem to remember that, while anxious and scared, I was also EXCITED about that time of my life. The whole world was ahead of me.
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