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Discover What You're Best at: Revised for the 21st Centuryby Linda Gale
THE NATIONAL CAREER APTITUDE SYSTEM
WHY THE NCAS IS FOR YOU
We know you're reading this book because you're concerned about your future: you want to find the right job, and you know that it must happen by careful choice, not by haphazard chance.
Perhaps you're recently completed your formal education and now are seeking your first or second job. All too often we find that young adults make these initial selections on a wing and a prayer and with little understanding of their potential. Well, this book will remedy that.
Perhaps you're reentering the work force after several years as a homemaker. You need to translate your worthy experiences into salable skills needed in today's marketplace. Knowledge of your strengths and capabilities will direct you toward a career that is right for you.
Perhaps you're contemplating a job change because your current position inhibits your personal growth, limits your ability to do your best, or does not provide sufficient recognition or rewards.
Perhaps you're one of the five out of six who finds yourself in your job by accident. That's right, not by thorough career planning but by accident. You somehow stumbled into it. And now you know you're in the wrong job.
Whatever your present situation, you know that the decision you're about to make is too important to leave to luck, a whim, or what your best friend thinks you should do. You'll find a professional system in this book that really works; one that will give you a new, decisive, and exciting way to clearly view yourself, to determine your career strengths and to set appropriate goals. You'll have a much better sense of which job options are available to you and which careers are apt to be the most satisfying and rewarding. After using our system you will be well on the way to making one of the best decisions of your life — choosing the career that is most likely to guarantee your success. We want to help you select a career rather than settle for one.
YOUR VALUE SYSTEM DETERMINES YOUR JOB SATISFACTION
To help you identify what is currently important to you, here's a list of commonly held job-related values. As you look them over, you'll discover that you instinctively feel some are more important than others for your overall job satisfaction.
Accumulating large amounts of money
Being in an environment that involves frequent change
Being involved in work that contributes to the advancement of moral standards I feel are important
Belonging to an organization or group
Creatively coming up with new ideas
Having day-to-day contact with the public
Having the independence to decide for myself what needs to be done
Helping other people directly
Performing a job that requires physical strength and stamina
Performing similar tasks each day
Receiving considerable recognition for my work
Setting my own time schedule
Taking extended vacations
Taking risks as part of my work
Traveling much of my working time
Working as a member of a team
Working primarily by myself
Working primarily for myself
Working where I can pursue the leisure activities I enjoy most
Working where my abilities are pitted against those of others
Working where there is an adequate salary and considerable security
Working with definite deadlines
Whatever career satisfaction means to you, the National Career Aptitude System (NCAS) is designed to help you find success by putting you on the right job track. Think of this book as a unique career system, one that will help you Discover What You're Best At.
DO NEW TECHNOLOGIES CREATE NEW JOBS?
Neuropharmacologist, Biomedical-Engineering Technician, Laser-Beam Color-Scanner, Cardiovascular Perfusionist, Electro-Optics Physicist.
These job titles describe occupations that have emerged or may emerge as a result of changing technologies. Will many of us engage in new occupations in the near future, or is the change more subtle than that?
The introduction of a new technology is often accompanied by predictions of major changes in the workplace. In the past decade microcomputers were said to herald a new occupation: word processor. Yet as it turned out, word-processing software became a new tool for secretaries and other professionals. Lasers were expected to create a multitude of laser-technician jobs, but for the most part they simply became tools for welders, surgeons, and others.
Certainly some new occupations have arisen, but more often than not new technologies result in new tools for existing jobs. Virtually every occupation is changing, and what is critical is the adaptation to new skill requirements among all workers. Looking back over the past eight years since Discover What You're Best At was first published, most workers have seen changes in their jobs that resulted from technology. For example, the job of researcher has changed from processing scant data in a cumbersome way — punch cards and mainframes — to processing reams of data with nearly immediate turnaround on a microcomputer. The task is no longer finding a little information on a subject; it is sifting through too much information to pull out what is pertinent.
Other people have seen the impact of new technology on managing retail inventory, diagnosing malfunctions in an auto engine, and improving methods of quality control, to name just a few examples. Although we can see technology's impact upon our work, our job title remains the same.
The primary lesson is that the work of the future will involve the continued acquisition of new skills. The question is what types of skills will these be?
Let's briefly look at the nature of skills needed in the emerging economy. Academic or technical skills immediately come to mind. While it is true that economists, engineers, physicians, and astronomers need much specialized training, basic literacy and numerical facility are now needed almost everywhere. Yet academic skills are only some of the skills needed. Personal-management skills are also vital today. Tardiness, absenteeism, or lack of basic grooming are handicaps in any job. Freedom from substance abuse, as well as personal integrity and honesty, are rated as critical qualifications by nearly all employers. In many companies and organizations, retrenching has eliminated many layers of supervision and raised the value of personal initiative, responsibility, and creativity. The self-starter within an organization is desired more than ever before. But we do not work alone.
Teamwork skills, such as high levels of communication, coordination, and cooperation, are vital. Think about it, and you'll most likely agree: Recent high school and college graduates are least prepared in this area. The academic world is geared to reward individual performance, so it's no wonder many students find it hard to make the transition to a workplace that emphasizes teamwork. The latter is basic street smarts unfortunately not taught in high schools or on college campuses. Still, young people have to learn how to work in groups and to develop skills that involve sharing responsibilities and respecting the knowledge of others, as well as utilizing that knowledge to grow. Whether at home or at school, only the lucky few who have experienced what it takes to be a team player have the savvy to get the jobs for which they feel qualified. At work today you are graded in large part on your team's success. And you may know each other only by phone, fax, or Internet address.
THE SHIFTING WORKPLACE
It appears that one of the biggest changes taking place in the workplace is the manner in which people perceive their careers. For instance, many seem to be more interested in working on a precise project rather than in a distinct company. Achieving more skill
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