To find best career path, start with a book, look to past

The number of snowflakes covering my front lawn on a wintry day is roughly equivalent to the number of people who have, over the past 25 years, asked me for help in choosing their career path. My heart goes out to these folks, especially if they are twenty-somethings sputtering about in dead-end jobs and yearning to pursue careers aligned with their true talents.

My advice for career-flounderers varies, but I generally suggest they start by reading a time-tested career-advice book such as the latest edition of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” by Richard N. Bolles (2014; Ten Speed Press) or “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It” by Barbara Sher with Barbara Smith (Dell; 1995).

I’m adding to that list another classic career-advice book that I happened to just finish reading, “Career Match: Connecting Who You Are with What You’ll Love to Do” by Shoya Zichy with Ann Bidou (AMACOM; 2007), because it provides exceedingly quick yet highly effective career guidance. If you are bogged down in your quest to determine your ideal career path, this is a book that will speed you along nicely. You take a ten-minute self-assessment quiz to identify your personality style, then simply turn to the chapter relating to it. There you will read dozens of ideas on the kind of work you are likely to find fulfilling. As a bonus, you will also learn how you tend to behave as a leader or as part of a team, your ideal work environment and ideal boss, and your blind spots. The chapter also provides personality-specific interview advice. This book is to the point, and in this busy world, such laser-focus is apropos.

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