College Career Life Planning

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



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Frequently Asked Questions

Question List

Some of the documents do not open when I click on the link. Help! 

The horizontal menu at the top of the page doesn’t seem to work. Help!

The audio files do not play when I click on the link.  What can I do?

How can College Career Life Planning (CCLP) by free?  What is the catch?

What is the purpose of the alphanumeric code next to each tool on the site?

Isn’t a high school student too young to decide what he/she wants to do the next 40 yrs. of their life?

My parents didn’t have these tools and didn’t use any formal process to plan their education and career.  They turned out OK.  Why shouldn’t their random or “opportunistic” approach be good enough for me?

I have bills to pay and I need a job now. How can I afford to invest 20-40 hours or more in this process?

I have already decided on a career, so I can skip this process, right?

No one can predict the future.  Change is constant.  Is there really any value in planning with so much uncertainty?

Some of the interest assessments suggested careers that do not “fit” me at all.  Do these tools really have any value?

How can I find my “dream” career?

Do I need a Bachelor’s degree to get a decent job?

I’m 40 years old.  I want to change careers and industries. My desired career requires a college degree.  Am I too old for college or a career change?

I have already decided to be an actress (or maybe a professional athlete), so I don't need to worry about school or career planning, right?

I’m young and have some financial flexibility.  I have two job offers.  The first job is opportunity rich and is with a leading company in an attractive industry.  It offers excellent training in an area very much “in demand”, but the pay is 30% less than the second job.  The company and industry are less attractive for the second job and the opportunities for growth/promotion seem uncertain.  Which job do you recommend?

 


Q: Some of the documents do not open when I click on the link. Help! 

A: Make sure that your computer (or interface device) has the software to open/read Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe PDF files.  Links for free downloads of required software to “read only” can be accessed by clicking here. 

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Q: The horizontal menu at the top of the page doesn’t seem to work. Help! 

A: Depending on your Internet Browser and your security settings, you may get a warning message that usage has been temporarily blocked when trying to use the drop-down menus.  You should be given the option to allow blocked content so you can proceed.

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Q: The audio files do not play when I click on the link.  What can I do?

A: The audio files are saved in the Windows media audio format (wma) and can be opened with Windows Media Player and other software.  Links for free downloads of Windows Media Player can be accessed by clicking here.

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Q: How can College Career Life Planning (CCLP) by free?  What is the catch?

A: Much of the dynamic (requires periodic updates) content accessed via CCLP is developed/maintained by federal and state government agencies and/or non-profit organizations.  Most of the content developed by the National Education Empowerment Foundation (operator of CCLP) is static (once developed it rarely requires changes).  Since all content is digital in format and posted on the Internet, there is no access or distribution cost for delivery.  For a small fee, an outside company automatically checks all links on CCLP each week to confirm that there are “no dead links”.  CCLP relies on referrals from users and the Internet to build awareness, so CCLP incurs no advertising costs.  We absorb the cost of web site development and the cost for hosting.

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Q: What is the purpose of the alphanumeric code next to each tool on the site?

A: To make it easier to locate tools referenced on this site, a code is associated with each document or web site link listing.  A code beginning with a “W” designates all links to third-party web sites. Codes for documents in each section begin with a letter corresponding to that section: Motivation (M), Education (E), Career (C), Life (L) and Teachers (T). These correspond to the horizontal pull-down menu section tabs at the top of each page. In each section, the document and web site link codes are generally presented in numerical sequence for quick, easy reference. 

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Code Table


Section

Documents

Web Links

Get Motivated

M000-M999

W000-W049

Education Planning

E000-E999

W050-W199

Career Planning

C000-C999

W200-W499

Life Planning

L000-L999

W500-W699

Teacher Resources

T000-T999

W700-W799

 

Q: Isn’t a high school student too young to decide what he/she wants to do the next 40 yrs. of their life?

A: A high school student should not be expected to make an absolute, specific decision on his/her career.  However, by this age, a student should identify a career area that is consistent with their interests, skills and values and that hopefully is “in demand”.  To clarify this point, I provide the following example to parents.  A high school senior need not decide to be an anesthesiologist, but he/she should have identified health care as a strong personal fit.  The post-secondary education path is different for individuals choosing a career in healthcare than engineer, business, etc.  Listen to “Too Young to Decide” for more detail.

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Q: My parents didn’t have these tools and didn’t use any formal process to plan their education and career.  They turned out OK.  Why shouldn’t their random or “opportunistic” approach be good enough for me?

A: Many older adults did not have access to these tools when they were in school.  Fortunately, today, you do.  Some of today’s adults are stuck in jobs that are unsatisfying, unrewarding and have no future.  Others got lucky and stumbled into a career that happened to be a good fit.  Why unnecessarily gamble on such a critical decision?  You face far greater workplace competition than your parents and your social safety net has much bigger holes.  It is much more imperative today that you make informed education and career decisions.
Review the “Changing Global Workplace” or listen to “Global Workplace” or “Disappearing Social Safety Net” for more detail. 

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Q: I have bills to pay and I need a job now. How can I afford to invest 20-40 hours or more in this process?

A: If the power company is turning off the electric and the refrigerator is bare, get a temporary job to survive.  However, do not allow yourself to get permanently sucked into a dead-end job.  Make a commitment to invest the time, while you are working, to plan for a better future.

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Q: I have already decided on a career, so I can skip this process, right?

A: Did you make an informed decision?  For the career you have chosen, can you accurately and positively respond to the following: What education is required? Describe the work environment. Is the demand for this occupation growing or shrinking?  By how much?  What is the median pay in your state?  In the nation? How many job openings are expected over the next 8-10 years?  What are the most important skills in this occupation?  Describe the 8-10 most important tasks/duties performed.  Have you spoken to at least 2-3 adults currently in this career and ask relevant questions about this career and it’s future?  Listen to “Decided?”

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Q: No one can predict the future.  Change is constant.  Is there really any value in planning with so much uncertainty?

A: Ask any successful businessperson.  Ask any manager who runs a successful organization.  Ask any ship or airline captain.  Sure, the future will not be precisely as we predicted.  However, we are far less prepared to face the future and change, if we haven’t explored options/alternatives, evaluated trends, charted a path (or plan) and considered contingencies.   As the rate of change increases, so does the need for this process.

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Q: Some of the interest assessments suggested careers that do not “fit” me at all.  Do these tools really have any value?

A: Interest assessments are tools that help us explore career opportunities in a somewhat methodical, logical way.  There are more than 1000 possible careers.  You simply do not have the time to explore each one in detail.  While these assessments incorporate research and logic to provide a useful screen, career exploration is not a perfect science.  You cannot plug in all the variables and simply accept the output as absolute.  You must apply your judgment.  I strongly suggest that you take several assessments.  If a particular career repeatedly shows up on the suggested list, consider it.

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Q: How can I find my “dream” career?

A: If you follow the steps outlined on the “Instructions” page, you will significantly increase your chances of identifying and securing your “dream” career.  It will require some time and effort, but the payback is likely to be enormous.  Avoid the urge to truncate the process.  The backend steps (e.g., networking, internships, job shadowing, industry evaluation, company evaluation) are critical.

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Q: Do I need a Bachelor’s degree to get a decent job?

A: No. While most attractive careers will require post-secondary (beyond high school) education, many great jobs do not require a bachelor’s degree.  Go to the first column of each of these documents to view the careers with the “Most Openings”, “Fastest Growth” and “Highest Pay” that do not require a Bachelor’s degree.

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Q: I’m 40 years old.  I want to change careers and industries. My desired career requires a college degree.  Am I too old for college or a career change?

A: No. Career change does become more difficult with age, but it is not impossible.  Your new career and industry choice also have an impact on the size of the challenge.  Is there a shortage of workers in your new career/industry choice?  Is the new career “entrepreneurial” in nature (e.g., Realtor, Small business owner, consulting)?  How strong is the “fit” between your current skills and the requirements of your new career? Family and financial responsibilities can also make the transition more difficult.  You will probably need to work and go to school at the same time.  You may incur a temporary drop in income. Fortunately, many people in today’s workforce are likely to work beyond age 70, so you still have plenty of time to succeed in a new career. 

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Q: I have already decided to be an actress (or maybe a professional athlete), so I don't need to worry about school or career planning, right?

A: If your dream is to pursue a career for which the number of candidates is high and the number of openings is low, I highly recommend having a back-up plan. See "Follow Your Dreams, but Have a Backup Plan" or listen to "Follow Your Dreams".

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Q: I’m young and have some financial flexibility.  I have two job offers.  The first job is opportunity rich and is with a leading company in an attractive industry.  It offers excellent training in an area very much “in demand”, but the pay is 30% less than the second job.  The company and industry are less attractive for the second job and the opportunities for growth/promotion seem uncertain.  Which job do you recommend?

A: Postponed gratification is difficult.  It is easy to make early career choices based on starting salary.  Some of my high school friends took this approach only to lose their job later or be stuck in an industry with little future.  If I were young and could somehow afford it, I’d choose the attractive company/industry over near-term pay.  In fact, early in my career, I turned down a job offer that would have double my salary because I did not view that path as attractive long-term.

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