QUESTION: When I listen to the news about how bad the job market is, I feel like I shouldn't even bother to apply. What do you think?
ANSWER: People are getting jobs even in this economy, some of them great jobs. Know that they're not broadcasting those job victories outside of their immediate circle of family and friends. Your best bet for finding out who's just gotten hired is through social media and by attending your industry's association meetings. Announcements of jobs received may also appear on a selected basis in local newspapers' business sections and in trade publications.
QUESTION: I hate my job but the benefits are good. What do I do?
ANSWER: If your company's benefits are the primary thing keeping you at your job, it may be time to do some research. Check online salary and benefits sites. Talk to a benefits professional outside your company. Find out how competitive your benefits really are. You may just discover that the benefits you've got aren't worth staying for. Life is too short to feel trapped the prime hours of your day.
QUESTION: Ever since I was young, I've fantasized about being an architect. How do I know this might be the right career for me?
ANSWER: As a former Admissions Director for three top-tier graduate schools, I've seen too many adults graduate from full-time, degree programs as career-confused as when they started and with significant debt. Find and interview a minimum of 3-5 architects and learn everything you can about the profession. Be sure you talk to professionals in a wide range of different employment situations--small and large firms, self-employed architects, freelancers, newer professionals and seasoned architects. If architecture still feels right, see if you can take a course or two in a community college before you jump into a degree program. You may be able to find a firm that will hire you, train you and even pay for career-related coursework.
Dr. Miriam Reiss, President, Spirited Marketing, is a nationally-known career and life coach who helps clients buff their current job or create a dynamic new career. Recognized as a Master Coach by the International Coach Federation, Miriam co-authored the book, "Branding and Marketing Mastery." Miriam can be contacted at email@example.com, www.wisdomcoaching.com.