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Department of Sociology and Anthropology Simon Fraser University by mrl19919


									                     Department of Sociology and Anthropology
                             Simon Fraser University


Taking a different approach to your career choice

Many first and second year undergraduate students continue to evaluate the usefulness of
their university degree in terms of its’ perceived long-term monetary value. The salary
offered for entrance level positions upon graduation, and the opportunity for career
advancement still remain the central imperatives for career decisions by many individuals.
By contrast, very few evaluate their academic programs in terms of personal fulfillment
and happiness, the accumulation of knowledge, or in terms of their contribution to society.

The executive director of The Urban Futures Institute, David Baxter, urges students to take
a different approach to their career choices. He claims; “Success is not measured by
having a hot job but by personal criteria, often dealing with happiness, contributing to
society and conforming to a set of personal values. So I try to give students a way of
framing how they might find success. I tell students that they will be in the workforce for 50
years…With that timeframe, the measure of success will not come from today’s or
tomorrow’s market, but from what people value for themselves.” Baxter makes a valid
point: external gauges of success will change many times throughout your career, while by
contrast, your internal gauges of ‘success’, or rather, ‘happiness’ are likely to remain much
more stable. For example, as you begin thinking about your future career, you may wish to
consider the answers to some basic questions, such as: What do I consider to constitute a
“good” job? How do I measure ‘success’ in my life and in the lives of others? What are my
long-term objectives? Although you may not yet know what kinds of career will interest
you, it is worth considering these now. When viewed as a vehicle for future happiness and
fulfillment, career development takes on a new shape and meaning.

Many vocational guides and self-help books present real life character sketches, for
example, chapter one in Adventure Careers. After reading the first edition, one reader
wrote to the authors, Hiam and Angle, stating: “Somewhere I had learned that work was
one thing, and what one enjoys in life was something separate.” Regrettably, at an early
age, many of us learned that work and enjoyment were an unlikely marriage. This fatalistic
perspective leads many people to see their future career as something that they have little
control over. Former students, strongly emphasize the necessity of doing research, and
being imaginative, and flexible about career options.

Good news for Sociology & Anthropology students!

Canada’s BEST CAREER Guide’s forecasting to the year 2010, describes a greater shift
from the three industries that characterized the twentieth century; agriculture, industry and
finance, personal and healthcare services, to information, leisure, and tourism. This bodes
well for sociology and anthropology students. The editor of Feather writes: “As we search
for clues to identify technological, economic and political trends, we find that everything
always starts with people.” This seemingly obvious statement is all too often ignored by
students as they begin to think about choosing an academic program. These long-term
shifts could mean that the outdated view of employment, demanding individuals to choose
between monetary rewards and personal satisfaction may begin to dissolve in the not-to-
distant future.

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