Vanilla, chocolate or strawberry ice cream—which would you like for your career?

Triple Scoop of Careers

First published in jobpostings magazine
careers. education. ideas. all of it.

Image courtesy of JobPostings

Image courtesy of JobPostings

I’m a chocolate girl all the way but, as much as I like chocolate, it’s weird to think that if you were starting your adult life a generation and a half ago, these were pretty much your only ice cream flavour options. Peanut butter cup or toasted marshmallow flavourswere still a long way from entering the mainstream ice cream chains or grocery stores.

It’s even stranger to realize that if you were a young woman buying one of these threeflavours, your career choices, at the time, were equally limited: Secretary, nurse or teacher—which would you like to be? Of course, there were some pioneering women who ventured into fields “not meant for women,” but the vast majority women chose from those three flavoursof career: secretary, nurse or teacher. And, whether or not those women ultimately found their work satisfying or not, the reality at the time was that the idea of approaching a career through the lenses of choice and happiness was still a long way off.

Thankfully, many young women (and men) today have been brought up with the idea that they can “do anything” they want. They are lucky to be able to consider secretary, nurse or teacher as career options but also to think about the many other incredibly diverse jobs available, including firefighter, orthopedic surgeon, chemical engineer, chef, genetics counsellor, public relations specialist, welder, mother, and make-up artist… just to name a few.

[pullquote]A young woman buying one of these threeflavours, your career choices, at the time, were equally limited: Secretary,[/pullquote]Just like ice cream, careers have come a long way.

But perhaps, like me, you have been to modern-day ice cream stores that have many, many flavoursto choose from. Faced with such a bewildering array of choices, I often hesitate, debating my choice and doubting myself. Is chocolate really what I want? Am I making the right decision? Am I missing out on something better?

Sometimes, I long for the simple days of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. That decision, while limited, felt easier for me to make because there were a finite number of options. I could easily prioritize my path: I’d choose chocolate first and if they were out of that, then vanilla and only as a last resort, strawberry.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that there’s more than just chocolate now—in ice cream and careers. I feel blessed to be able to enjoy all the variety and options, but choosing a career path from the literally thousands of known—and as yet unknown—possibilities can be very daunting for some.

Whether you think you know exactly what career you want or you are trying to figure it out, there are lessons from ice cream that can help:

• Find your chocolate. Even if you know exactly what you want to do (and especially if you don’t), being able to articulate a theme(s) or keywords about stuff that fascinates you is a valuable ingredient to help begin building a career “flavour”you’ll like. Can’t figure it out? Seek help from friends, parents, teachers and career practitioners. And, don’t be afraid to try things out!

• Be open to caramel swirl. Chocolate is not just a flavour or career option unto itself, but is also a key ingredient in many other flavours/careers. Once you know that chocolate is something you like, you can explore variations on that theme in flavours—or, in the case of careers, job titles—such as rocky road, mocha almond fudge, caramel swirl, chocolate ripple, etc, etc.

• Try some raspberry crunch. It’s probably not realistic to assume that every ice cream store (or career) will have chocolate ALL the time. And, you limit your opportunities for growth and exploration if you stubbornly refuse to consider anything BUT chocolate on your journey. There are times when you’ll need to or have the opportunity to go in a completely different direction. Instead of fixating on the lack of chocolate, why not embrace the chance to try something new and different, like raspberry crunch? You might find a whole new area of ice cream—and career—that opens up to you.

• Introducing… bacon ice cream. Believe it or not, the career options visible to you today will be different very soon. Jobs we can’t even conceive of yet are being created at this very minute, and, just like bacon ice cream, they might seem strange and far-fetched right now. Starting with “chocolate” and variations of that will help you seize opportunities as they appear down the road. So, what’ll it be for you: secretary, nurse, teacher, or one of the many other options available to lucky students today? Grab a metaphorical spoon and give some work a try. You’ll be amazed at what unexpectedflavoursyou find.

Christine Fader works as a career counsellor with undergrad and graduate students at a Canadian university and is the author of, “Career Cupid: Your Guide to Landing and Loving Your Dream Job”. Visit her website at: www.careercupid.com

Jobpostings Magazine is Canada’s largest, career lifestyle magazine (and website) for students looking forentry level jobs. So if you’re looking for your next student job on the path to your career, check them out!

ARB Team
Arbitrage Magazine
Business News with BITE.

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