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Surviving The Career Crisis

Surviving The Career CrisisIn her new book, Tufts graduate and career coach Jeanine O’Donnell offers advice about how to find the right career path based on an individual’s strengths, talents and needs.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.20.05] When Jeanine O’Donnell graduated from Tufts in 1990, she went straight into the working world. As a staffing executive, she became an expert at placing other people into jobs. But she was 10 years into her own career before she realized she was on the wrong track.

“I had followed the traditional career path, but after a decade I realized something was wrong. I was 40 pounds overweight, I didn’t get to see my new husband or the new house we had very much,” she said in an interview with the Portsmouth Herald. “Career success was costing me a successful life.”

That’s a mistake she hopes others will be able to avoid with the help of her new book “Find Your Career Path: A Revolutionary Guide To Career Satisfaction.” In it, she offers people advice about how to assess their strengths and talents and determine what they want and need out of a career.

“I’ve become passionate about making career coaching affordable for everybody,” O’Donnell told the newspaper. “Not everybody can afford it so I wrote the book to be a textbook, a guide for people who have this identity crisis.”

O’Donnell, who founded Blue Kilowatt, her own, one-woman consulting firm in 2002, explained that many Americans have an “identity crisis” involving their careers because they are basing their professional choices on the expectations of other people, like their family and friends. People also run into problems when they identify personally with what they do for a job.

In her book and in her coaching, she tries to help people separate the two.

“For my individual clients, I want them to be realistic about who they are and what they need,” O’Donnell told the Herald. “One of them was a new mother who was on what she considered a good career path. But after she had her baby, she became very dissatisfied. What she didn’t realize was that her values, her priorities had changed. She was better able to put her job in perspective and accept it for what it was – a job and not her identity.”

According to the article, O’Donnell helps people arrive at what she calls “a-ha moments of realization” by giving them tests designed to determine their life-balance ratio and highlight their strengths. To aid her coaching, she created her own approach called GLOW.

“I created [it] to build a sustainable career path,” O’Donnell explained to the newspaper. “It means: gain perspective, luminate your goals, own your actions and work it daily.”

O’Donnell also works with companies to help them develop strategies for minimizing employee turnover.

“Rapid turnover is a nightmare for human resources people because it costs so much to train the next person,” she said. “Companies need to know their workers better and put them in positions to succeed. If you have an environment that values a successful life as much as a successful career, you will have less turnover and a more productive workforce.”

According to O’Donnell, understanding what a person needs to be successful in a career is becoming increasingly important for both companies and individuals because surveys indicate that by 2010 a high percentage of the workforce will seek to become independent contractors and a large number of workers are planning to leave their current job as soon as the economy improves.

“The job-hopping we saw during the boom of the 90s is going to pale in comparison to what’s coming,” O’Donnell told the Herald.












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