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June 2019

Consider Developing a Career Strategy Instead of Planning for Your Dream Job

Consider Developing a Career Strategy Instead of Planning for Your Dream Job

By Annabelle Kleist, PhD, Director of Teen Health and Success Partnership at the Center for Community Health & Prevention at the University of Rochester and Previous Science and Technology Policy Advisor at the California State Capitol

Nonlinear. Curiosity-driven. Opportunity-seeking in a tough economy. Hmmm… I’m still not sure how to best describe my unexpected and highly branching career path. I was in graduate school when the global recession hit, and our lab lost a lot of grant funding when the state abruptly stopped supporting several environmental grant programs due to the budget deficit. Although I was able to cobble some funding together to complete my research projects, continued low funding in my area of research led me to explore other career paths. My experience volunteering with the California Invasive Plant Council while in grad school inspired me to want to become a nonprofit leader, so I searched for opportunities that would help me gain skills and experience for this dream job. 

Why Your Career Path is a lot like a Game of Plinko

Why Your Career Path is a lot like a Game of Plinko

By Ashley Brady, Ph.D., Assistant Dean of Biomedical Career Engagement and Strategic Partnerships, BRET Office of Career Development, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

I’ve been in graduate career development now for five years and should have all the answers to interview questions in my back pocket, but one question still gives me pause. 

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Just like you, I can Google all the right and wrong ways to answer this question, but I feel like it implies we should all have everything figured out at the very start, and this just isn’t how things actually work for the majority of people. Rather, I think career paths look a lot more like a game of Plinko. You take into account your passions and skills (pick a slot), set your sights on a particular target, and then let go of the disc.