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Conversations Do Matter!

By Tam Nguyen

This week passed with a couple of noteworthy conversations we had at APCDA as well as CERIC.

2 Conversations Matter events at APCDA – a great chance for professionals, practitioners, and researchers… in the career development field to get to know each other at a deeper level, to share personal stories and aspirations. We learn about our work. We share our mission. We hold each other accountable. It’s truly inspiring to see such a connected community we have at APCDA no matter how different our cultures, backgrounds and experience might be.  

2 webinars on a very hot topic at CERIC: Building a bridge between employers and CDPs. Over 960 professionals attending proved how important we all know this relationship is. Both sides are sharing the same mission to make this world of work better. Yet somehow we all face challenges and opportunities when it comes to communicating with each other. A bridge can start with a conversation like this – the first step to creating a compound effect on career development and career wellbeing for all.

Conversation is our channel to learn, to connect, and to grow. It is social support that helps build the authentic connection we’re all craving. Technology facilitates conversation, at the same time makes it harder for a truly authentic connection to be nurtured. Yet if we choose the right community, we have the ability to trust, understand and support each other.

APCDA is building such a community for members from over 30 countries and our May 2022 conference is the best way to learn through conversations. Below are some conversation tips for first-time conference attendees to make the most out of it and bring home memorable moments:

Before conference:

  1. Create some space for your thoughts: set your goals, and what you would like to get out of the conference. When we understand better what we want, we bring more clarity to how we relate and connect to others.
  2. Show your care: Use Hubilo and APCDA member directory to educate yourself about others and their work. Plan which sessions you want to attend in advance and come with an understanding of the speaker’s work.
  3. Get a notebook and a pen.

During conference:

  1. Be present: try to avoid multi-tasking or any distractions during conference time. You can try opening only one tab on Google at a time when someone is presenting. Stay mindful and present to fully absorb the knowledge and get the most out of the Q&A session.
  2. Two-sided conversation: Conversation lets you exchange thoughts with one another. It’s a two-way process. First, you listen, and then you speak. And remember to “listen with the intent to learn and to understand”.
  3. Add kindness and a bit of humor: smile, be patient for someone to finish their sentences, and be genuinely curious.

After conference:

  1. Send a thank-you note: a lovely gesture to show your appreciation and strengthen the connection.
  2. Keep nurturing the connection and helping each other: it’s easy to get lost in our day-to-day jobs and responsibilities, but if the connection means something to you, give it the time and attention it needs.

"Sometimes the greatest adventure is simply a conversation." - Amadeus Wolfe

I wish you all a great experience and a successful conference this week.

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Professional Direction: An Introduction to Mentorship

by Sharon Redd

For anyone looking to move forward constructively in their career, finding a mentor should be a top priority. Mentors can help to improve your knowledge of your industry, identify goals, iron out bad habits and make the right choices but finding the right people is not always easy - here are some factors to consider.

Why Mentorship

Mentors provide a number of key benefits that can provide long-term benefits for you in your career. The first of these relates to self-awareness - with experience in the same field, a mentor can view your work approach with objectivity and find areas for improvement that were otherwise unbeknownst to you. They can also help you to set and work towards the right goals that will result in your advancement. Best of all, someone of an elite status within the industry is likely to possess key, niche knowledge that is unavailable to others.

Receiving the endorsement of someone with high status within your industry can be invaluable - mentors who are in leadership positions may be able to accredit your accomplishments and vouch for you when the time comes for a promotion.

Finding Mentorship

Ideally, you want a mentor who has followed and succeeded in a similar career path to your own. Finding this individual has been made easier by the advent of social media - Linkedin, for example, allows you to look at the career history of others so that you can gauge whether they’re an apt choice. There are also online platforms that streamline the process and link individuals from communities, helping you to network and find seasoned professionals.

Beyond their professional history and reputation, you also want to find someone who has enough time on their hands to communicate regularly and who is located near enough that you can meet at a moment’s notice. Sometimes, even with similar professional backgrounds, a mentor and mentee don’t connect as people - it’s important that you find someone who you identify with in terms of personal values.

Securing Mentorship

The first and most important thing to consider when approaching others for mentorship is that securing a mentor is a privilege and not an entitlement. Successful professionals usually get where they are because they work hard and, for this reason, may not be able to share much of their time. To make your approach, remember to always be cordial and patient and avoid any pushiness. It will help if you have identified your career aspirations in a formal, structured manner with a plan of action for how to achieve your goals. You can use a free resume builder to refine your resume before meeting (these often have a library of professionally designed templates and allow you to add your own copy, photos, colors, and images).

You should also aim to convey your expectations for the mentorship, including how often you’d hope to meet the person and the skills that you’d like them to help you develop. With transparency, you can avoid any unmet expectations and determine whether this is the right partnership for you both in the long term.

The right mentor can often prove to be invaluable and it’s important to put time and effort into constructing meaningful relationships early on in your career. With the right network of experienced professionals, you’ll have access to more opportunities, exclusive knowledge, and support as you navigate the trickier decisions along the way.

APCDA connects career development professionals who work in or are interested in the Asia Pacific region and provides a global forum for sharing career development ideas, research, and techniques that are effective in the Asia Pacific region. Join our upcoming Member Mentoring Webinar “Cultural and the Ethics of Providing Career Services” on June 13/14, 2022. More to come, subscribe to APCDA’s newsletter to stay updated: www.asiapacificcda.org

Image by Pexels


Sharon Redd created Live All the Way to help others live life to the ABSOLUTE FULLEST. She believes life all the way is a life with all the toppings! It’s ordering guacamole and queso at the restaurant. It’s wearing those bright pink shoes, no matter what anyone else thinks. It’s using your formal china for every meal and hugging your friends every time you see them. It’s eating ice cream for breakfast and so much more. Her goal, each and every day, is to live all the way and her mission is to help others do the same.

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Starting Your Own Practice?  Startup Costs You Might Miss

by Elena Stewart

Image via Pexels

Spending money is simply a part of running a business. As a new entrepreneur, you are fully aware of this. However, there are many expenses beyond your employees and raw materials. Keep reading for insight into potential payments that you’ll have to make to keep the doors open.

  • Building upgrades. If you went all out and purchased a new building, perhaps an apartment complex or manufacturing firm, then it might be wise to update your building to enjoy energy savings.
  • Benefits. You already know that you have to pay your employees a salary, but to keep the best employees, you’ll need to provide benefits as well. These might include reimbursement for a gym membership, continuous learning stipends, or profit-sharing.
  • Credit card processing. Credit card processing fees can start at less than 1% plus an individual transaction fee, and these charges add up quickly. Make sure to set your prices to account for your expected monthly credit card fees.
  • Registering your business. If you’d like to register your business to protect your assets and gain tax advantages, there are fees involved. Fortunately, you can save when you work with a formation service instead of a costly attorney.
  • Hardware and software. The vast majority of businesses will need a hardware or software upgrade within the first year of operation. This is a good sign, and it means that you are growing. But, even a new laptop can cost $1,000 or more, and with the continuing shortage of PC components, computer costs will only continue to rise.
  • Advertising. Many of us like to believe that we can rely on word-of-mouth alone. The truth is that we must have a marketing and advertising budget, which can start as little as a few hundred dollars per month, but, depending on your goals, you may want to put aside much more.

Capital For Your Cash Conundrum

If you find yourself struggling for cash, as many new entrepreneurs do, you have options. A few of these include:

  • Grants. Depending on where your business is located, you may have access to small business grants that can help you pay various operational costs. Before you apply for grants, you’ll want to have your business plan in place and know what’s available based on your industry. When you are ready to apply, write your grant application carefully. It can help to use a template and to have someone else review the application after you do.
  • Small business loan. Another option is taking out a loan. Similar to applying for a grant, you’ll want to ensure you have a comprehensive business plan before looking for a loan. It’s also a good idea to take steps to raise your credit score. With a higher score, you'll have access to lower interest rates.
  • Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a popular way for many small businesses to get the money they need to launch. As a startup, you may be able to create buzz about your product, which will bring customers and their dollars to your doorstep. Your crowdfunding campaign should provide some type of reward to your “investors.” This might be early access to your products or equity in your business.
  • Cutting costs. There are some places where you don’t have to spend money. Employee lunches are one of these. In addition to cutting out extraneous costs, you can save money by keeping your staff engaged and ensuring that they are well trained during the onboarding process. One thing you likely do not want to do here is cut salaries or reduce important benefits, such as paid time off or health insurance.

The old saying, “It takes money to make money,” remains as true today as ever. Unfortunately, you may not always be prepared for the ways that you’ll have to spend. A good rule of thumb is to always expect the unexpected and know where your resources are at all times.


Elena Stewart is a certified life coach specializing in the teachings of Brené Brown, Danielle LaPorte, and Marie Forleo. Through one-on-one coaching sessions and career mentoring, she helps women (and men!) like yourself jumpstart their careers. Are you ready to reach your full potential? If so, I’d love to hear from you!  estewart@elenastewart.com

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What Can APCDA Do for You?

By Han Kok Kwang, Bestselling Author, 

1st Legacy Partner Lifetime Member of APCDA,

& 1st NCDA Master Trainer in Asia

I first heard about APCDA in mid-2013. They just had their first Conference in Seoul, South Korea in April and I missed it. As a pioneer career practitioner in Singapore, no way I was going to miss it a second time.

The next Conference would be in Hawaii in 2014. I booked my ticket early but I had no clue what to expect!

On my flight to Hawaii, the #1 question on my mind: “What can APCDA do for me?”

On the flight back, I was a changed person.

I saw the people behind the association up close. I had so much fun interacting with and learning from them. They really care about people and career development. If you don’t know who they are, please go check out APCDA’s history!

At the conference, I had the privilege of meeting the giants of the industry, like John Krumboltz (Happenstance Theory), JoAnn Bowlsbey (DISCOVER software), Richard Bolles (What colour is your parachute?), and Richard Knowdell (Knowdell card sorts), just to name a few. Though they have passed on, their legacy lives on.

I also met fellow practitioners from so many places, like the US, China, Japan, Canada, Taiwan, Macau, Philippines, Korea, etc… They were a really fun bunch, especially “off Conference”!

Coming from a super-efficient and results driven place like Singapore, it was a life changing experience. It was where you were treated as a human being, not a human doing. You are defined by your human qualities, not grades, position or station in life. Their sincere belief in your potential makes you feel that impossible is really nothing! I even had someone asking me, “Why do Singaporeans work so hard?”

It was a major paradigm shift. You have to experience it to feel it! By the end of the Conference in Hawaii, it is no longer about what APCDA can do for me.

Instead, it is what I can do for APCDA?

Knowing that they were a “start-up” where resources were tight, that’s one reason why I signed up to be the 1st legacy partner lifetime member of APCDA.

I also continued to partake in the annual APCDA conferences where possible, be it as a speaker, panellist or PDI instructor:

2016 – Taipei, Taiwan

2018 – Beijing, China

2019 – Ho hi Minh City, Vietnam

2021 - Virtual

John F. Kennedy said, “For of those to whom much is given, much is required.” 

I’m privileged to have met the wonderful folks at APCDA. In the process, I have grown to be a much better career professional. I know I can count on them for whatever challenges that come my way, and vice versa.

Thus, I’m donating 100% of the proceeds from the sale of my new book, “No Job? No Sweat! in April 2022 to support APCDA scholarships.

I’m doing this because what we do in life echoes in eternity. Whatever you give will return to you multi-fold, as long as it is unconditional giving. In case you are wondering why I am doing this, I’ve actually done this a few times. I have donated over $110,000 (with Government fund matching) to charitable causes in Singapore through my book sales. This is one of the secrets of the tycoons who seemed to get richer every year because givers gain.

You may not know it now but your contribution can really make a difference to those who need it. Simply check out the testimonials of those who have benefited from APCDA’s scholarships.

Talent may be equally distributed but opportunity is not. You now have the power to provide the opportunity. Pay it forward and help a fellow career practitioner today. All of us have a strong affinity for people. That’s why we are in this helping industry.

Donate generously today and be informed on the latest know-how on the future of work in my new book, so that you can empower yourself, your students and your clients.

Ask not what APCDA can do for you.
Instead, do what you can for APCDA and watch your career soar! 

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Why Career Decision-making is so Hard

By Tam Nguyen

Last week CERIC and OnelifeTools launched a new tool where Experiential Learning, Career Development, and Reflective Practice blend nicely together. This new site offers tremendous help to practitioners on our journey of learning and helping.

You can find the link to Wayfinder here: https://ceric.ca/wayfinder

Today I would like to pick my favorite tool I got from Wayfinder: Career decision-making difficulties questionnaires  CDDQ (huji.ac.il)

Why it’s important to understand why

We can’t untangle the knot without checking tight clumps. We can’t help our clients to make their decision if we don’t understand what stands in the way.

In one of the discussions with my clients, a young woman shared her stress working in a toxic environment and not knowing what to do next. She shared the pressure of making the right decision, the heaviness, anxiety, and fear she is having. Going deeper, it turned out she did have a solid idea of what she would like to do next, the only thing that blocks her way is the fear of judgment from her parents and society about leaving a government job.

Another client shared that the transition was extremely difficult for them because they have no connections or experience in the new industry, and they worry if they can fit in with their current skills.

One was simply a perfectionist and would love to procrastinate the decision-making until a full picture was painted.

For each of those clients, the approaches will and should be different.

And the tool from CDDQ.org will surely help practitioners to identify which difficulties the client is having so that we can tailor our approach.

The questionnaire is designed to identify the cause of career decision-making difficulties. Then feedback and recommendations are provided. The tool categorizes causes into 3 main groups:

  • Lack of readiness
  • Lack of Information
  • Inconsistent information

Within each main group, sub-groups are introduced based on if the issue is internal or external: should we help clients go over the self-discovery process, or should we focus more on guiding them toward resources and information? That question will be answered.

Let’s go into detail for each sub-group:

Lack of readiness due to lack of motivation

The client is not willing to make the decision now. If you are a fan of Daniel Pink’s “Drive” book, you would recall that lack of motivation stems from a lack of one of 3 things: autonomy, mastery, and a sense of purpose (I have a brief summary here)

Do clients feel like they have a choice and freedom to make their own decision? Do they feel trapped - that if they make the decision now, they can’t change later? Do they clearly see a purpose for making a decision about their career?

Lack of readiness due to general indecisiveness

Why are they hesitant? Is there any fear that blocks them from believing in their choice? Do they need support and affirmation from others to be certain about their decision?

Finance is also a big factor that often causes hesitance. If it’s the case, help clients to get prepared for what they fear. We have an article by Tuan Anh Le on how to do it here.

Lack of readiness due to limiting beliefs

Do they believe that they have to live with their decision for the rest of their life? Do they believe that passion is the only factor of an ideal career?

As a career practitioner, simply ask them to go deeper. Listen to their response to fully understand - not to find a solution – but to create a safe space for clients to share their thoughts and for us to learn what our clients truly believe without any judgment.

Lack of information about the decision-making process, occupations, and additional resources

This is where a career development practitioner can help to guide clients toward reliable resources and information. Our job here is to help them sort out only information that’s useful for them and not make them feel overwhelmed with too much information. Too much information can cause the decision-making to be much harder than it already is.

Help them to understand the process of making a decision, to organize information, and to reach a conclusion in a step-by-step manor.

Lack of information about the self

Do clients really know what they want? Are they aware of their interest, aptitude, skills…? This is usually the core of current career development services. With so many tools, assessments and approaches developed solely for this, it definitely plays a significant role in our guidance process. However, from what we have seen so far in this article, assuming that this is the only challenge clients have and ignoring the rest will potentially derail us from the help our clients actually need.

Inconsistent information due to unreliable information

It could be self-knowledge, could be industry and occupation knowledge. Our job is to point out the contradictions or gaps if there are any.

Do clients view themselves the way their colleagues, their friends view them? Do they have accurate information about what is required to get into that industry? Perhaps the client loves using a certain skill, but they believe they are not good at it. Is that belief true?

Inconsistent information due to internal conflicts

Do clients have multiple values that clash with each other? Do clients have a set of criteria that are seemingly impossible to fulfill? Help them to sort out “must-have” and “nice to have.” It’s important also to remind them to have an open mind and remain flexible.

Inconsistent information due to external conflicts

Do the desires of the client conflict with what their parents want? This can be a source of stress. How about their own definition of success versus society’s definition? Is what they think different from what their peers think?

To sum up, I think it’s important to always listen wholeheartedly and be culturally sensitive.

When we take time to learn about our clients’ backgrounds, we understand what’s most important and should be taken into account in their decision-making process. Only then do we know better how to help. 

On another note, News Committee is launching “Story Hub” - where we share life narratives, either from our personal experience or professional experience, and discuss how the interplay of cultures, backgrounds, etc. shapes our professional careers.

More details can be found here.

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Teach Students Basic Personal Finance to Help Them Feel More Secure in their Careers

by Tuan Anh Le

In career guidance, we often talk a lot about discovering strengths, passions, life values, and so on. The subject of money is rarely mentioned or discussed in a very confusing and complicated way. In fact, an individual who is strong in personal finance management skills can feel much more secure in career guidance, thereby spending more time exploring other topics. In this article, I want to share some personal finance basics so that career professionals can understand and talk to their clients about the topic.

When it comes to personal finance, there are a lot of complicated terms and keywords like 401(k), credit, and mortgage - but everyone can start learning about personal finance by understanding these three simple steps.

STEP 1: UNDERSTANDING

Ask questions and keep a record of spending

First, a person needs to understand his financial situation. You need to be able to answer questions like:

  • How much cash do I have?
  • How many big assets do I have (phone, iPad, car, house...).
  • How much debt do I have?

Then a person needs to know how much money he spent yesterday, on what. How much money did I spend last week? How much money did I spend last month, how much did I spend last year? We certainly cannot remember the details of each item without taking notes. So where are you recording your money right now? Currently, I am making daily spending records through the MoneyLover application, every time I spend a certain amount, I open this application to enter it.

Taking notes with an application is more convenient than using your brain to remember. The convenience here is that at the end of the week or month, looking back, you will know which items you have spent, how many times spent on that item – all these things are recorded. Automation is very convenient. For example, when I look at a year ago, I see 60 spending items for KFC, 50 spending items for Texas Chicken - so I guess I ate 2 fried chicken meals a week on average, that's why my doctor told me that my blood fat is a bit high.

When recording expenditures, there are also records of revenues. If you are a regular employee, you are likely to have only 1 fixed monthly income from the company. The question you might ask here is, are you satisfied with that income now? If not, what do you do next to increase this number? Suggest to the company to increase the salary, or do some other jobs to get more income (in the latter part of the article I will talk more about some of these jobs I am doing).

Plan your spending

Once you've gotten into the habit of recording your spending for about 3 months, you can start planning your next month's spending. People are busy talking about getting rich and investing, but in fact, the first thing you should do is keep the money you have. A month you spend less than you earn, so is progress on the path to getting rich.

If, after looking at your recent spending months, you feel fine, keep spending. However, I guess most, like me, will find that they spend too much and waste too much. So the goal is that, next month, to spend less and save more. This is a good goal, but many people set the wrong goals. For example, if, for the past 3 months, you have spent 20 million each month, this month you could decide to only spend 10 million - that is not feasible. The most feasible path is to gradually decrease month by month, somewhere around 10-20% per month is very good. Last month you spent 20 million, this month determined to spend 18-19 million, so you are successful.

When planning your spending, you need to list all the potential expenditures and estimate how the money will be spent in the next month. For example, here are the bills I usually pay each month, which you can refer to for yourself:

  1. Housing fees (rent, electricity, water, Internet, parking, house fees).
  2. Food and drink (buying food to cook at home).
  3. Money to go out (go to restaurants, watch movies, play this and that).
  4. Travel expenses (Taxi, gas, car repair, parking).
  5. Money for personal/family items (shampoo, shower gel, home decorations).
  6. Donations/gifts (weddings, funerals, parents, charity...).
  7. Pets.
  8. Fees and charges (phone, Netflix, Spotify, Canva...).
  9. Medicine.
  10. Study.

The above are the basic categories.  There are other categories you might list, or combine.

Once you've determined that you have a fixed amount of money each month, you can think of a few rules for how to divide it up accordingly. There are two easiest principles you can refer to.

  • The 50/30/20 rule. 50% for basic expenses (house, food, transportation), 30% for other needs (ie, it's okay if you don't have it), 20% for savings and investment.
  • The 6 jars rule. 55% for basic needs, 10% for learning, 10% for enjoyment, 10% for investment, 10% for saving and 5% for give-away.

I have a rule of thumb if you to rent a house, which is not to spend more than 30% of what I earn each month on housing. For example, if you earn 1500$ a month, you can spend up to 500$ on housing – this is a common principle in the context of personal finance.

When you have planned a 1-month spending plan according to the items above, you can break it down into weeks.  A month has 4-5 weeks. Set a fixed day every week and take 30 minutes to review whether you have followed the plan correctly.  If there are any areas where you have overspent, see if those areas can be reduced next week.

2/ SAVING

Once you understand and know how to plan according to the plan above, the next step is to plan on saving. As I said once above, we just have to worry about investing in what we do, getting rich in the other - but don't forget the generations of our grandparents and parents who know how to save money to buy a house, a car, and raise a family. So, in my opinion, before investing, know how to save. There are some saving principles that I am currently following and want to share with you.

  • The 20% rule & pay yourself first. For every dollar I receive, I always put 20% into my savings. This 20% can be used to save or invest (I will share more in section 3). The premise of this principle is that every time you receive money, you must first set aside the part you will save. My % is 20%, but you can set another number. When I receive a salary of 20 million, I save 4 million. When someone gives me 100K, I save 20K. Always follow the this rule. Paying yourself first creates discipline and your savings grow. Don't wait until you've spent most of your income and see how much you have leftover to save.  There's a high chance that you won't have any money left over.
  • Create an emergency fund. This fund is used in case you lose your job, or you have to go to the hospital. This fund corresponds to about 3-6 months of your normal spending. Depending on your situation, you can choose the appropriate size of the emergency fund. If you have family backing and can borrow easily, 3 months is enough. If you are a person who values security and you worry a lot, 12 months is recommended. For example, if you calculate that you spend at least 10 million a month on living expenses, then you need a fund of 30 million (3 months) to 120 million (12 months). You can base this on your minimum monthly spending, when you look back at the notes you made in the understanding step.
  • Create a 'sinking fund'. It's sort of a savings fund used to spend on something you have planned in the future. For example, go on a trip, buy a gift for your wife, buy a motorbike, and so on. This fund is like an emergency fund, but you are willing to spend it for your special goals.

If you've already made money and don't have either of the above funds, start by saving enough for those two funds and postpone enjoyment spending until you have built up those two funds.

3/ INCREASE YOUR INCOME

Investing, I'm still learning, but I'm very familiar with having a lot of income sources. I myself am a person with many income sources. I want to share with you some guidelines for income that, no matter what profession you work in, you can use.

  • Do affiliate marketing. That is, you recommend products on e-commerce sites, and get % back from those products. The more people buy, the more money you receive. To do this effectively, a good personal brand or owning a social media channel with many followers is an advantage. For example, when you click on a certain page and buy anything on it, you will receive money.
  • Get ads. If you have a good personal brand or a social media site with a lot of followers, you can get ads for products. For example, when I post a promotional video on a Tiktok channel that I produce which has more than 100K followers, I can earn 150$ - 240$.
  • Sell insurance. You may be thinking negatively about insurance, but actually insurance is another good source of income. Insurance can be easier to sell than home sales and can be done online. A light insurance policy is about 300 USD, and you can receive 30-40% of the price in income. I'm going to sell insurance in the near future, I will guide you more.
  • Writing. This is my strength, so it brings me a lot of income. I write books and receive 20-30 million for 1 publication. I can write for brands and get 150 - 300$ for an article. If you like to write, this is also an option.

Above is a little sharing of personal experiences to help readers better improve money matters. Good luck.


Mr. LÊ TUẤN ANH, Career Consultant & Educator, is one of the first-generation career professionals in Vietnam. He is the author of 3 bestselling books on career and personal development topics. His strength is to use social media to interact and convey career messages to students. He currently manages the community of more than 100,000 vocational students on Facebook. You can reach Tuan Anh at anhtuanle234@gmail.com

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High-School Youth Building Projects to Win Internships

On March 22/23. 2022, PilotCity CEO Derick Lee and six panelists from the program provided a dynamic online seminar for APCDA members: High-School Youth Building Projects to Win Internships.

We want to thank the members of the PilotCity team and APCDA participants from all over the world for attending the webinar. Derick, a trained architect/entrepreneur, found what career specialist Jane Horan calls his "Genius Zone" by starting PilotCity and innovating the fabric of San Leandro, California – his hometown.

Returning to his roots after college and a work-stint in placing USA university-bound international students into job-shadow programs in the USA, Derick Lee could see how the flow of talent out of his city of approximately 90,000 people led to stagnation. So, he set out to solve one of the most challenging problems of the small San Francisco Bay Area city near Silicon Valley by focusing on youth employment. One webinar participant chatted in agreement,

“ My school district spends $130,000 US on one student’s education. After spending this amount of money and resources, we send them away to colleges. We then hope they come back, which they do not.”

The six panelists included students Areeba Asaduzzaman and Eric Xie, two program alumni currently working for PilotCity. They each discussed their projects in the group “digital internships” inside significant companies and how they grew from that experience. The students hosted the discussion by asking provocative questions of the employers and teachers.

Industry executives James Gardner from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and Peter Tatischev, formerly from Uber and now working for Disney, provided detailed insights about their first reservations on hiring high schoolers. Although, at first, they both had doubts about managing the students' work-based internships, but they found that teachers provided terrific results interpreting the companies' requirements prior to the start of the project. After interfacing with local teachers to help guide the students, teachers provided project-based learning experiences in the classroom. This offered students new perspectives on what the companies needed to accomplish and motivated them to create solutions. Another example that makes PilotCity’s program work for employers is their efficient digital methodology of recruiting groups of students to match employer projects. This method streamlines and eliminates the traditional individual resume and hiring process.

The students asked the two panelist educators, Jason Eber from Antioch High School, and Kristin Berbawy from Fremont High School, to explain how the PilotCity program works in their high school classrooms to help students prepare for the work-based internships. Both teachers confirmed the power of working directly with the companies. For example, Ms. Berbawy remarked that the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory brought real-life science problems into her engineering classroom. Executives came to schools to give lectures and talk about the skills needed in the workforce. While she had to accept the chaotic environment since students worked on different projects, the interaction with industry folks before the project begins gave the students a sense of purpose. And in the case of Uber, the transportation projects led to unique solutions the students produced proved to be valid for businesses outside of the taxi services.

Mr. Eber hoped that many more of his students from economically challenged homes could get even more help from local industries because they were desperate to find meaningful work. The public school system transformed many students by increasing motivation for group internships that faced real-world problems. Although lacking confidence at first, many students begin to feel inspired to learn skills like taking risks, collaborating with others on a meaningful project, and talking directly to industry executives.

The challenges among all six panelists included students learning to communicate with each other. For example, some students had very fixed mindsets with difficulties accepting criticism or even comments about their work, which leads to conflict and, hopefully, self-growth. Additionally, the key employers had to learn how to plan and manage the internship process; with extended deadlines, employers found they could give the student group the same pressure as they usually would with full-time employees and keep elevating expectations.

In summary, PilotCity helps fuel meaningful, digital internships through students learning to communicate with each other and having opportunities to talk with adults such as crucial employers. Additionally, employers collaborate with teachers to create more extended deadlines for projects, giving the student group pressure. Students showed their absolute commitment and skills when doing their work – they made sure to get the job done and exceeded expectations. And finally, employers do more projects with PilotCity once as they understand how smart, willing, and ready high school students are for the new frontiers of the unknown, post-COVID workforce.

Derick ended the online seminar with a lively demonstration of his onboarding flow-chart showing a range of all projects, how companies can sign up for a digital internship project and how interns can access that information and apply. One Webinar participant asked,

“Is PilotCity open for only US students?”

PilotoCity is open to working with APCDA members to see how these services can help in other countries. The employment services are ideal for high school, vocational education, and college students. If interested, please contact PiltoCity and Derick Lee directly at:

https://www.calendly.com/dericklee/60minteam

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Career Satisfaction for Multi-passionate People

By Tam Nguyen

As a multi-passionate person myself and working with multi-passionate clients who struggle to achieve fulfillment at work, I started to collect all pieces and put together what I have learned to help them happier with their careers.

What is a multi-passionate person?

Multi-passionate personality is more common than ever before, however the term is quite misleading. It doesn’t mean the person has a lot of passions, rather it describes people juggling with some different interests, often unrelated. They have a wide range of interests, skills and usually have trouble settling down with just one. It’s the main reason why others might label them as confused, lack of commitment, indecisive.

Why do multi-passionate people struggle with choosing a career?

It’s quite hard for someone non multi-passionate to understand people who experience that. Outsiders might say “Lucky you, you have many options to choose from. Just commit with one and stop using it as an excuse for procrastination”. It’s unfortunately not that simple.

The paradox of choice you might know. Professor of psychology Barry Schwartz named two consequences when people have many options “paralysis instead of liberation- with so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all; unsatisfaction and regret of the choice being made – what if the one I didn’t choose is better?”

When you have 6 jams and 24 jams to try and buy, which case do you think people will actually buy the product after trying? A famous jam study from Professor Sheena Iyengar Columbia Business School suggested that in the first case, 13% of shoppers will end up buying a jam; the second scenario only 3%. Just to be clear I’m not trying to compare between buying a jam vs choosing a career, but I hope you get my point. When people have many interests, choosing just one might make them feel like they have to give up the rest.

Indeed, they quite struggle to set up a proper career path and build commitment around it just because juggling different interests is usually what brings them joy and a sense of fulfillment. It’s what they value in their life and potentially career.

Society is part of the struggle as well when optimization means a specialist nowadays is more appreciated than a generalist. The lack of cross-department tasks, unfortunately, kills creativity and exposure space for multi-passionate people, leading to their confusion of value they can contribute and career dissatisfaction.

Two types of multi-passionate people

A multi-passionate personality can turn a person into either a powerful or confused career designer.

A powerful one is when the person gains self-knowledge. They understand what they are looking for in the job, what’s most important to them, what is need to be met. By doing that they make sure they don’t neglect any hobbies/interests that nurture their souls and their authenticity. A powerful multi-passionate person will know what is the best way to balance all interests and give them room to be nurtured.

A confused person doesn’t realize they have advantages, that they are multipotentialite (another name for multi-passionate people). In other words, they don’t see it as a strength so they never embrace the trait and let it shine. Juggling many interests means their energy can get drained easily, they get distracted often and find it hard to make a commitment. They will unconsciously try out a lot of things at once and give up before any hypothesis has been tested properly. A great lesson from a powerful multi-passionate person, self-knowledge and self-esteem is the key.

A mindset to start designing a satisfying career for multi-passionate people

Strength vs weakness

Once people start to embrace multi-passionate personality as their companion, their strength, it will start serving its role. If they consider it as their enemy, it has no choice to play an evil role it has been assigned.

Multiple lives vs one life

Confused people are so caught up in the idea that we only have one life to live, meaning what we choose today will decide what we do for the rest of our life. Saying it out loud perhaps help them to realize it’s nonsense. A press release by BLS even though limited to a small subset of the population, revealed that individuals held an average of 12.4 jobs from ages 18 to 54. What we do today doesn’t decide what we do 10 years from now. Keep an open mind and instead of just thinking one lifetime, how about multiple lives? We always have a chance to creatively write a new chapter of our life every day.

Life is nonlinear

It’s never a straight line when we describe life. That’s what makes it worth living. It’s okay for us to try, to test and then if we see turning left seems wrong, we stop and be happy that now we know what would be the right direction.  

3 ways to achieve career satisfaction as a multi-passionate person

Having experience with quite some multi-passionate clients (myself included), I notice there are 3 ways we can help those people gain a sense of fulfillment:

Umbrella: some interests and hobbies seem unrelated on the surface, but if we help them to think out of the box, dots start to be connected and we might find many cool combinations among those interests. Who knows, people might give birth to innovative ideas for current world challenges, or create a new industry/new position that has not yet been born.

Job and side hustle: they might have jobs that have nothing to do with their interests but help them pay the bill. If the job brings them the security or advancement that’s part of their career values, why not go ahead. But make sure they have time and work-life balance to tap into other interests outside their working schedule. As long as people don’t sacrifice their career values and authenticity, career happiness can still be achieved in this case.

Turn one interest into a passion: To turn one interest into a passion and grow a career with it, people have to make sure they prepare themselves with dedication, devotion, and determination. And never forget to book some time for other interests. Interests feed the souls of multi-passionate people, so avoid neglecting them which can further cause burnout and unfulfillment.

Considering those 3 ways is not an either/or but different strategy. We can help clients try different ways in different stages of their life. But before starting to design appropriate strategies, help clients to learn about themselves first.

Take-away message

I constantly mention the importance of self-knowledge before designing a career and this is no exception. The very first step is to help multi-passionate people gain access to their self-knowledge. A person who values financial stability over creative freedom might find a stable well-paid position, even though it couldn’t provide room to express themselves creatively, still worth pursuing. They can then find an outlet for their creativity outside the office. Or they might talk to their boss to see if they can utilize the current environment to activate their creative stimulation.

There is no one size fits all, but if we take time to attentively listen to clients and help them to listen to themselves, career satisfaction is within reach.

Reference


Tam Nguyen, JCDC, JCTC, CLC, is a career and life coach based in Montreal, Canada. She helps professionals going through quarter-life and midlife crisis reclaim their voices, discover their career purpose to lead a meaningful life and career. Find Tam online: Empurpose’s website, LinkedIn.

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Finding a Good Job: A Case Study

A composite case study that embeds eight key principles and practices.
By Dr. Marty Nemko

Reprinted by permission of Dr. Nemko from Psychology Today

Here is a first-person report that's a composite of my clients' experiences. It embeds eight key principles, practical and psychological, for landing a good job. After, I call those out.



Hello, my name is Jeremy.

The one thing I promise you is that I’ll be honest with you. For example, I’m not that smart. I felt lucky to get into a four-year college. And it took me six years.

I had no idea what to major in. So, because I was curious about what makes people tick, I majored in psychology but soon discovered that the major had little to do with what makes people tick.

But I didn’t want to start over with some other major and spend more years in school, more thousands of my parents’ money. I did want a decent GPA, but to get one, occasionally, I had to cheat. I told you I’d be honest with you.

After I graduated, I took a couple of months’ break. I traveled a little, hung out a lot. Finally, I felt guilty and because of my parents’ pressure, I looked for a job, sort of.

The best I could get was working at a café. But I soon got tired of that and of having to kiss up to my boss, plus having to work weekends, so I quit. My mother was sad and my father, who rarely yelled, did: “Get a job, a real job in 30 days or your butt is out of here!” I yelled back, stomped to my room, and slammed the door so hard that a little paint came off the frame, and I got high.

The next day, I laid in bed wondering what the hell I was going to do. I wasn’t going to go to grad school, which is what you need to get a real psychology job. I thought, “I like the idea of being creative but I’m only a little creative. I like to write, but mainly short things. I like books, but to be honest, easy books. In the required English course, I didn't understand Shakespeare or most poems.

So I decided to apply for entry-level jobs in book publishers’ PR departments: I looked up how to write a resume and applied to jobs on LinkedIn, but I didn’t even get rejections. I got silence, or as my country friend said, “Crickets.”

There were 10 days left in the 30, a fact that my parents reminded me of. No, they reminded me at 25, 20, 15, and now 10. I didn’t really think they’d kick me out but I needed something to motivate me, so I faked believing they would.

Grasping at straws, I got an idea. Maybe I could use my just-okay creativity and cheating to actually help me: I’d Google [quotes, (book PR)] and append the best quote I could find to the beginning of my resume and LinkedIn profile.

The best quote I could find was this: “Writing a book without promoting it is like waving to someone in a dark room. You know what have you done but nobody else does.” Then I realized I didn’t need to cheat and claim it for myself. I’d get as much mileage by saying who wrote it: Madi Preda, who wrote a book on how to market a book.

That motivated me enough to apply for a lot more jobs in book publicity. And I got interviews for two! I bombed the first one: I said, “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” to three, yes three, questions! I was so embarrassed I was tempted to cancel the interview for the other job, but instead, I used my fear to really prepare. And I did okay, although I have to admit that some of it was simply the luck that my interviewer was my age. We clicked, and I got the job, an actual PR job for a book publisher! Well, assistant to the assistant of the PR manager, and no, it wasn’t Random House, far from it, but it was okay. No, more than okay.

Embedded principles in this example

Beware an introductory course's seduction. Taking a major's introductory course, for example, Introduction to psychology, may not provide a valid-enough sense of the major. The intro course often emphasizes the field's fascinations rather than statistics, the history of psychology, and theoretical models. That's often done, at least in part, because intro courses are used to recruit students into the major. So, before choosing a major, look at the syllabi for the courses in the major. You might glance at the readings, perhaps online or even by visiting the campus bookstore.

Only sometimes is support more effective than threat. A core psychological principle is that praise and positive reinforcement work more enduringly than do threats and punishment. But across my many clients, as with the threat that Jeremy's parents issued, a threat can motivate, especially if support and gentle encouragement have failed.

Developing a custom niche can be key to getting hired. A clear-eyed look at your strengths, weaknesses, and preferences can elicit a custom-tailored career goal, which thus is more likely to make you happy and successful in your career. In this case, Jeremy's valuing books but whose creativity and reading ability were only moderate, led him to a reasonable career goal: doing publicity for books.

Applications need to be distinctive without seeming desperate. Most ads for good jobs attract many applicants, so it helps to provide something beyond a recitation of skills, interests, and experiences. But it can't be cheesy like the person who FedExed a bottle of salsa to prospective employers saying, "I'm hot. Try me." Jeremy's attempt at differentiation was appropriately modest: He put a relevant and compelling quotation at the top of his resume.

Replace undue rumination with a low-risk action. Jeremy's getting started on his job applications quickly helped him realize that he had nothing to gain and everything to lose by not citing the quote's author.

Quickly suppressing a setback can help. Bombing a job interview can shake a job seeker's confidence, of course. After quickly asking yourself if there are any lessons to be learned, try to push forward. Like the young child who has fallen off a bike, it's usually wise to get right back on lest the fear build.

Try to convert fear into preparation. When Jeremy's first interview failed, he was tempted to curl up in a ball but made himself convert his fear into better preparation for the next interview.

Luck matters, perhaps more than we'd like to acknowledge. Jeremy happened to have an interviewer who clicked with him—that was the tipping point. Of course, the more jobs you apply for, the more likely you are to have good luck. Per the cliche, luck favors the prepared.

Marty Nemko, Ph.D., is a career and personal coach based in Oakland, California, and the author of 10 books.  He is the author of 13 books, including Careers for Dummies, plus 4,000 published articles, including in TIMEThe Atlantic, the Washington Post, and Psychology Today. Find Marty online: Marty Nemko's website, LinkedIn, Twitter

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Succeeding in Your First Professional Job

A case study with four embedded practices.
by Dr. Marty Nemko

Reprinted by permission of Dr. Nemko from Psychology Today

Key points

  • Youth, rather than being seen as inexperience, can be a career launcher...if used judiciously.
  • Beware of jobs demanding that you pay lots of dues. Too often, they're undue dues.
  • Meetings offer a chance to strut your stuff without appearing self-aggrandizing. Tact is key.
  • Develop a niche at the intersection of the market and you. Use your favorite communication vehicle(s) to build your brand.

This post begins with a first-person report from "Jeremy," a composite of my clients' experiences. It embeds four important practices, and after "Jeremy's" report, I call them out.

It’s me again, Jeremy.

So, I feel I should tell you that my excitement about my first professional job has waned. If you’ll recall, I got a job as the assistant to the assistant PR manager at a small book publisher.

It turned out that my job was mainly scutwork: proofreading press releases and telemarketing to media people, most of whom were annoyed that I called. Typical response: “Just send me an email. (Click.)” So after a month, I quit.

Since then, I've done some things that have worked better. I share them with you in hopes they might be helpful.

When I got interviewed for jobs, I didn’t just sit there answering their questions. I treated it like a first date—we both had the right to ask questions. Of course, they asked more questions than I did. But, not only did my asking a few questions help me vet employers, it avoided my appearing desperate.

I have to admit that my job search took longer than I had hoped, but I finally got a job that I felt could be a career launchpad. It is at a well-established book marketing firm. My boss assured me that while I’d have to do some mundane work—everyone has to—even though I’d just be an assistant publicist, there'd be opportunities to draft press releases and participate in planning meetings.

So, that job was a good launchpad, but to make my career take off, I did some other things:

I took some extra time to prepare for meetings so that I could have, at the ready, a good suggestion or two. The beauty of offering suggestions at a meeting is that, without tooting my horn, people got to see that I had some value beyond the mundane.

After a couple of “attaboy”s, I politely asked my boss if, even though I was just an assistant, I might be allowed to take charge of one book. My boss was noncommittal, but I had planted a seed. When one of the publicists went on maternity leave, he said I could take on one of her books.

Nevertheless, I felt interchangeable. I needed to feel special, needed, marketable. To develop my brand, I tried to use my youth: marketing books to Gen Z. I checked out a number of articles and books using a Google search and learned some surprising things. For example, I wouldn't have thought to make an unboxing video and post them on TikTok and Instagram. I didn’t even know what an unboxing video was! It’s simply a video of the author taking the first copy of the book out of the shipping box.

So, I branded myself as a budding specialist in marketing Gen Z books on social media. I got active on forums, followed people on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, including successful Gen Z authors. I attended meetings, mainly on Zoom, where I occasionally got to chat with a speaker after she finished a talk. Then I gave a short presentation at a meeting: 4 ways to Use TikTok to Market Your Book. Next, I repurposed that talk into a short article, sent it to appropriate bloggers, and one posted it. I even made one podcast: Jeremy Tocks Your Book. All that gave me the confidence to submit a proposal to the National Book Expo, which was accepted, although in a bad time slot. But afterward, three authors came up and asked to hire me to market their book.

That tempted me to think about starting my own firm. Jeremy Tocks Your Book, I thought, but that felt premature. I brought the prospects' contact information to my boss who was impressed and implied that I'd soon become promoted to full publicist.

I’m not sure where I’ll land, but I feel like I have launched my career.

Embedded takeaways

“Jeremy’s” report embeds these keys to launching a career:

Beware of paying dues. When starting out, it’s natural to feel insecure, and so you feel you should pay a fair amount of scutwork dues. But both in job interviews and in the first days on the job, ask for career-launching rather than dead-end work. If your query yields a discouraging response, it may be time to look for another job.

Meetings are easy visibility. Review each upcoming meeting's agenda and try to come up with a likely helpful idea or two. Of course, especially if you're just starting out, you probably want to limit the number of your suggestions and propose them respectfully. For example, “I’m wondering if X might be a good idea. What do you think?”

Develop your brand at the intersection of your strengths and the market. Jeremy combined his youth, knowledge of Gen Z social media, interest, and growing experience in book PR to identify a niche: social media marketing for books aimed at Gen Z. He used Google to identify good articles and videos, an efficient way to learn. He then applied his learning by giving talks, first in low-risk situations to gain confidence and competence.

With clear eyes, weigh the pros and cons of self-employment. When a few potential clients say they’d like to hire you, it’s tempting to set up your own shop. After all, you'd be in control and keep all the revenue. But there are liabilities: You have to do or pay for everything from marketing to IT to accounting. You also need to be a self-starter. It's usually wise to defer deciding whether to try self-employment until you've done some learning on the employer's dime.

So, does this post contain any ideas that might help you launch your career?

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Work as a Way to Heal Yourself

Finding well-suited work and the motivation to pursue it.

By Dr. Marty Nemko

Reprinted by permission of Dr. Nemko from Psychology Today

Key points

  • There are relatively easy ways to identify well-suited work, including scanning ads to learn about myriad under-the-radar niches.
  • Fearful about looking for work? Low-risk actions, writing your resume, and having a goal partner may help.
  • Work can provide more than money, including meaning, structure, contribution, and a possible way to heal yourself.

"Work is almost the best way to pull oneself out of the depths." –Eleanor Roosevelt

Many people find that well-suited work not only provides money and meaning, but it also heals.

The right work for you

Here are four relatively easy approaches to finding well-suited work:

  1. Scan the indexes of the Occupational Outlook Handbook and my book, Careers for Dummies. Each profiles hundreds of careers. The Occupational Outlook Handbook’s profiles are strictly the facts, while Careers for Dummies includes some subjectivity. For any careers that intrigue you, each profile concludes with a link to more information.
  2. Scan the ads. Thousands of careers fall between the cracks of the few hundred that are profiled in the aforementioned books. So it's often wise to spend a little time browsing the job listings on LinkedIn and Indeed. Take advantage of their filtering tools. For example, if you’re good at and enjoy counseling, use that search term. If you want a job in New York City, use that as a filter. Do you have a dream employer or three? Search by employer.
  3. Query everyone who likes you. Sometimes, the specific job matters less than it being a career launchpad, not a dead-end job. Just as the best real estate often doesn't reach the open market, neither do some of the best jobs. Those often go to a person who was recommended by the employer's trusted colleague or friend. So make a list of perhaps a dozen people who like you and could hire you or refer you to someone who could.
  4. Try simple self-employment: I’ve offered a number of simple self-employment ideas previously so, here, I’ll mention just one that might appeal to some readers of Psychology Today: being a self-employed coach or consultant. That instantly moves you from unemployed to CEO. Just have enough competence in a niche to be in reasonable demand and be enough of a self-starter.

Gaining the motivation to search with vigor

Especially if you’ve been away from the workforce for a while, fears can build up: Will I fail? Have I lost it? If I go back to work, I’ll have to change so much. Might any of the following help?

No need for drastic action. Just dip your toe in the water: browse the ads, chat with a trusted friend, or write the job description of your dreams. Sometimes, low-risk action is enough to increase your motivation to do more.

Write your resume/LinkedIn profile. It’s easy to think that you bring little to the table. But many of my clients have found that writing their resumé reminds them of their value. That’s because it forces you to think hard about what you’ve done in your previous jobs, school, and volunteer work.

Get a goal partner. Some people do well to have a check-in partner: perhaps a friend who has some goal: to lose weight, stop abusing a substance, or yes, find good work. You might want to check in with each other daily by email, phone, Zoom, or in person.

The takeaway

The Buddha said, “Foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.” That may be a bit extreme but a possible healer for what emotionally ails you is to follow Eleanor Roosevelt's summative advice on work: “It is not more vacation we need — it is more vocation.”

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