by Florence Ladion
Say "Hawaii" and the first image that comes to mind is a surfer riding beautiful waves against the glare of the majestic sun. Though this picture will most likely continue to define this wonderful place, for many of us who attended the Asia Pacific Career Development Association (APCDA) Conference last May 19-21, 2014, Hawaii is now also that one moment in time when we shared innovations, celebrated our diversity, and formed lasting friendships.
The APCDA conference started with a plenary keynote speech delivered by Soonhoon Ahn, our association president, followed by the legendary John Krumboltz. His presentation certainly set the tone for the 3-day affair as the ballroom was suddenly abuzz with people exchanging ideas on how this perspective would impact the way that career services can be delivered. Personally, I realized that the generation I handle — the "Just-In-Time" generation that is used to high-tech gadgets and instant push-button outcomes — may need to experience more happenstance in their lives. This generation may need to be challenged, stretched to the limit, and even taken out of their comfort zones, in order to bring out the best and most creative in them.
The second day of the annual convention featured yet another giant in the field, Dr. Ed Colozzi, who is known for his career-life theory. His discussion was most touching as he reminded all of us about why we are in the field of career development in the first place — that our services must all be rooted in care. After all, it is not just for jobs and careers that we are preparing the next generation; we are, in fact, preparing them for life. And one of the most caring things any career counselor can ever do for his/her clients is to recognize and value the many hats a person wears in fulfilling various life roles — far beyond the 8am-5pm responsibilities that a job supposedly entails. Success, therefore, can never just be equated with a hefty paycheck. There is more to career than the value of a person's bank account. At the end of the day, relationships define a person — and therefore need to be factored in to the decision-making equation. I especially felt the need to remind myself to not forget meaning and purpose in my own life and career.
After attending various breakout sessions on the latest developments in the field, I capped off my second day with the session on ""Rethinking Resumes" by best-selling career development guru, Dick Bolles. He shared that the changing labor landscape has redefined the way that resumes now need to be crafted. Dick gave a quick snapshot of the three-fold function that career development practitioners play — analysts/researchers, practitioners, and mechanics. But more than Dick's expertise, it was the living legend's genuine offer of friendship to me that made my APCDA Conference most memorable — and it came in the form of his autographed best-seller What Color Is Your Parachute? (2014 Edition). I will forever cherish Dick's tangible treasure as a result of my 10,568-mile roundtrip from my beloved Philippines to Hawaii's beautiful shores.
Finally, I joined colleagues in immersing ourselves in Polynesian culture. From one amazing show to another, APCDA delegates were treated to a spectacle of song-and-dance numbers, complete with high-flying fire-dancing acrobatics, to recount the rich history behind the enchanting islands of Hawaii. It was a most fitting way to unofficially close the formal proceedings of the conference as, indeed, everyone experienced a true time to refresh our inner selves . . . to recharge in us our deepest motivations . . . and to reconnect us to a world of experts. As a result of our recent Hawaii conference, people who used to be just names we found in journals and publications, have become dear friends to look forward to seeing again next year in Japan and again in every future APCDA conference locale.