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What do you want to be when you grow up?

By KELLI K. NICHOLAS, Marketing Coordinator — Michigan Works!

If you ask young children what they want to be when they grow up, often they will rattle off five or six choices without hesitation. They are not hampered by thinking about the wage, where the job may be located or is it a match for their skill set. They may know someone in that career or have seen something on TV.

As we get older, our ability to think outside the box and be creative fades like the innocence of childhood. We get consumed by life struggles of paying bills and family obligations and forget how to use our skills and interests. Oftentimes, we work at a job but do not really think about what we do there because the tasks we accomplish are automatic.

At Michigan Works!, we see hundreds of people throughout the year who find themselves job searching for the first time in years. They worked somewhere but never really considered what skill set they used while working. Now facing unemployment, they are lost and overwhelmed.

These people are often seeking something — a new beginning, a paycheck to get them by.

We often challenge these job seekers to ask themselves a few questions while they develop a job search plan. They need to begin to inventory their treasure chest of skills.

What careers have you thought about over your lifetime?

What activities do you enjoy doing?

If you could do anything for a year without worrying about obligations and money, what would you do?

Oftentimes, the answers to these questions can help you decide on a career direction. Many times, this direction involves further self assessment and hands-on exploration of your skills, interests, and values.

There are many places to go for help with this exploration. Libraries and Michigan Works! are two such places. You may be surprised at what you find there!

(Mid Michigan Career Outlook is a regular monthly feature of The Laker Current.)

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