This entire project CareerEcologia has been inspired by the many young professionals I have had the privilege of coaching across various disciplines, career stages, schools, associations, professional sectors and countries. One thing I have found they all have in common: They want to make a difference in the world they share– for themselves and others!
They also have another issue in common – They worry they will not find a good job that pays them for the talents they possess and are invested in applying [through expensive education & training programs]. Whether in their 20’s, 30’s or 40’s, they are seeking to contribute to creative projects and organizations to build sustainable solutions.
Meanwhile, I review 30 years of working with varied higher education institutions – including ivy league, traditional, non-traditional, adult professional, online, experiential, community based and career certification programs. These also have characteristics in common that have effected a disjoint between education and workforce outcomes.
Career services are too often an afterthought, or separated from the curriculum. Visiting career coaches on campus can seem unimportant because they are not “required” as part of academic programs. Further, the deeply dedicated staff in these offices may be situated just as students and faculty on campuses that are set apart from professional companies, networks and action projects beyond the classroom.
Within the competitive workforce there is also insecurity on the job with multiple pressures on leaders and employees alike. Unfortunately, the old industrial era structure persists, reflected in top-down bureaucratic organizational charts, that can sometimes limit the potential for innovation. To meet increasing needs for personalized support, career and leadership coaching has become a big business!
Further, in the current age of technology, there has been a tendency to seek mechanistic efficiencies that inadvertently may detach people in the name of “connected networks”. While companies seem to appreciate (i.e. capitalize) the notion of knowledge exchange/ knowledge economy, they sometimes forget that knowledge actually is still a human function and creativity is an inside-out organic process. Attempts to bypass the necessity of care & nurture of human soul has perhaps motivated the push for creating artificial intelligences. But the truth is human creativity and related healthy livelihoods are central to our planetary productivity and smart future!
While open access to resources definitely has value, the fact that students work at a distance from their peers and faculty often results in detachment. Unbundling the classroom experience sometimes loses the essential elements of human presence, spontaneous dialogue, relationship building, meaning-making, creativity, experiential and community connections. So as we move forward, we are working to keep in mind:
- Learning deeply may not occur by just receiving information online, working alone.
- Achieving your full potential may require adapting and communicating in the context of relationships and hands on practice!
- Understanding the world beyond personal experience, involves learning about others’ perspectives from various regional situations.
- Complex problems may be clarified, informed and solved by collaborating with others who bring different talents/ insights relative to a changing world.
- Creativity may start with ideas, but is proven by delivering results, which may involve a few reality checks, resources and investments from members of your family, community or team.
- Everyone may benefit from a little bit encouragement, affirmation, applause for a job well done!
The good news is, since earlier days of distance education platforms (1990’s-2000) there has been an evolution of more accessible, personal communications tools (facetime, hangouts, skype, social media, etc). There is also increasing realization of the need for experiential learning that can partner with our flexible use of technology to facilitate learning. Professional coaches add benefits to learning as they collaboratively work with both educators and professionals to help re-integrate career thinking with academic learning. Combining and blending our use of tools with relationship building, connecting to experiences in person within our communities of practice is essential as we tackle questions of “sustainable future”.
CareerEcologia welcomes next generation and existing leaders to a collaboration of learning & professional practice, as a blended process that will involve some work online, with support from dedicated coaches and experiential projects in communities of practice. We seek to guide each member through inside-out creative process to achieve individual goals, and also learn new methods for social innovation and global citizenship. As a result, we hope to showcase your achievements as part of a Next Generation Talent Gallery to celebrate your success, provide demonstration of your expertise for organizations seeking talent, and also inspire many who seek solutions for our world!