Learning to Navigate a Career

Are we there yet?
There is no journey so long as the one we have never taken before. Unfamiliar landmarks, uncertainty of where to turn and that we’re-not-in-Kansas-anymore queasy uneasiness converge to keep us leaning forward with a white-knuckled death-grip on the steering wheel, face closer to the windshield like those few inches will give us greater clarity.
It sometimes seems navigating a career is like that: driving into a pea soup fog bank on a dark night when the headlights don’t illuminate the winding path. I know of only one thing that really works with all career circumstances and road conditions.
Learning is more than reading a book or sitting in a classroom; continuous, insatiable learning fueled by curiosity, purpose and pursuit of understanding is essential in our dynamic labor market. What we need to know today, tomorrow, next month, a year from now is shifting; we need to learn now and keep learning. Some of the competencies and skills we learn with and from our colleagues on the job. Sometimes, we need to take an on-line course or snag that free just-in-time learning from one of the many resources like www.gcflearnfree.org or www.gcfaprendelibre.org. Or maybe we need another community college certificate, industry credential, license or other means of proving what we know how to do.
While we may not be able to plan for every possibility, we can equip ourselves for ever-present change. One thing for certain, shifting into park is not an option, not if we want to stay connected to a paycheck and advance our careers.
Learning equips us to deal with blind curves (like shifting technology or job demands), steep grades (like a promotion or relocation) and the terrifying free-fall of a job loss that triggers retraining, recareering and reinventing ourselves to demonstrate value to today’s employer.
We can’t start too early – Goodwill® GoodGuides® career-focused mentoring begins at age 12, and we never finish – some Goodwill Senior Community Service Employment Program participants are in their 80s! We all bring our unique selves and assets to the career journey; it is up to us to figure out how to do the most good, make the biggest difference and live a life that fits our own dreams.
Learning to navigate a career is an important life skill. Every year, millions of people use services provided by local Goodwill organizations to learn, advance careers and make the best use of financial resources. This is possible because neighbors like you help neighbors by donating the stuff you used to love to your local Goodwill, and others are scoring some great deals in Goodwill stores.