By Rich Adams
Maybe you’re stuck at what you see as a dead-end job. Perhaps you are a junior in high school and aren’t sure what you want to do with your life but want a job you will love.
How can you be sure about what you want to be your forever job?
Ann Marie Batkoski of Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! said matching your strengths to a field you enjoy is a good first step
“I guess I would say that first you have to find your passion and your purpose,” said Batkoski, director of business services and community relations at the Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! Service Center in Midland. “It may be that you are interested in helping people. You may be passionate about making money or making things. You might be creative or artistic.
“Find out what makes you happy and what job would make you want to get up in the morning and want to go to work every day,” Batkoski said.
While more seasoned workers have a better idea of what they want to do with their lives, Batkoski said younger workers may not have figured out what career they would enjoy. If they are still in high school or college, they have a variety of options to explore jobs.
“There are some opportunities such as school co-op programs, apprenticeships, internships and job shadowing, and what we are finding is that more and more employers are offering internships or job shadowing to help develop their own talent pipeline,” Batkoski explained. “They are seeking out people at earlier stages in life and offering them an opportunity for career preparation through these programs.
She said Michigan Works! partners with a website called MI Bright Future, which connects job-seekers to employers, even if it is only to discuss the attributes of a potential career.
“For example, I sign up as an employer in marketing, and students who are interested in marketing can ask questions,” Batkoski said. “They could ask what they will be doing on a daily basis, or what opportunities are available to them. It is one-on-one interaction.”
If a job-seeker accepts a job and it isn’t an immediate love-at-first-sight situation, Batkoski recommends patience.
“The fit is not always going to be great at the beginning,” she said. “We recommend staying at the job for at least 90 days, or even six months. Keep your options open for other jobs, but attitude is key. If you are optimistic and have positivity, maybe the job is not as bad as you thought it was.”
Batkoski said education requirements have changed, and there is no longer a one-size-fits-all education level for good jobs.
“For the last 20 years a bachelor’s degree might have been the requirement. Now the state of Michigan is putting an emphasis on getting a certificate or completing an apprenticeship in skilled trades,” Batkoski said. “It used to be where career exploration in kindergarten involved showing you a police officer, firefighter, nurse or doctor. Those were the only careers stressed at that level. Now students from kindergarten to 12th grade are introduced to all kinds of career opportunities.”
Skilled trades positions are in high demand, and the recent passage of the Marshall Plan for Talent makes schools eligible for grants to offer career and technical education options earlier in the learning process.
“The state of Michigan has a pamphlet that is called the Hot 50 Jobs that lists occupations that are hot right now and extends through 2020,” she said. “We get calls weekly from employers wanting to go into the apprenticeship program for construction and skilled trades.”
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Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works!
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