The Three Paths of Employment

As we prepare to leave the military there are many questions on our mind; what type of employment am I going to have? What do I really want to do? Where do I want to work?

Which companies are most likely to be veteran friendly? Which companies offer the most opportunities for advancement? and of course, which companies pay the most?

Most veterans prepare themselves for transitioning into the civilian world by acquiring new skills and/or learn new trades. Some attend college, some obtain certifications and others become experts in particular trade. There is no doubt, most veterans are well prepared by the time they are ready to leave the military and are armed with a good set of skills. So why do so many veterans encounter challenges in the job market?

First, we must understand the three “Paths of Employment”

1. TheJobPath

2. TheCareerorProfessionPath 3. TheLifestylePath

1. A Job Path is something that we do, maybe a job that we learned sometime back and are familiar with. This job path is more about what we know how to do, something that we are good at, or something we are willing to do to get a paycheck.

2. The Profession Path is the employment path where we are able to identify with the field and or industry and we enjoy working in such industry. This would be a profession that reflects more of who we are (rather than just what we do) and where we see ourselves in a particular “role” , for example a lawyer, a police officer or a doctor, a nurse, etc., these are examples of professions where we may identify with the role, and not just on the task itself. This Profession path is more about how much we identify with the profession.

3. The Lifestyle Path is where the individual’s everyday life is in-line with his/her believes and values and it has become an extension of the individual.

The individual lives-style and the activities of the job are match what we do in and out of the job.
One major characteristic of life style jobs is that the individuals enter the industry because it reflects personal believes and values. Some examples of lifestyle jobs could be working in a non-profit where those values reflect who we are. Another example could be a sports trainer, an individual who enjoys exercising and believes that training is a way of life. This Life-style path is more about our believes and values.
It is important that we identify which path of employment fits our personality better. It is also best if we identify and select the right path before entering the “job market”.

We may sometimes start with a job-Path then we move into a profession-path and then into the lifestyle-path. We should be flexible and be ready to adapt if changing a path is needed. Now, the question is: How do we know whether we are going after a job-path, a profession-path or a lifestyle-path?

One activity that I highly recommend to those who want to identify which path to follow is the “Personal SWOT Analysis” and it can be done in four easy steps:

Step 1 – Write five skills you are good at
Step 2 – Write five skills that really drive you (That you love to do)
Step 3 – Match the skills you are good at with those you love to do
Step 4 – Conduct simple research to identify, based on the match, which jobs are available that will be a good fit based on the matching criteria. This activity is extremely effective on helping identify our internal drives.

I will also recommend you watch Carin she is a fellow veteran in Linked In Carin Sendra and she has a great insight and tips that could help you save time and avoid many headaches.

Also, you will find that many of the positions listed on job boards will match either, the Job Path, the “Profession Path or the Lifestyle Path. Keep in mind that the more you know about what you want to do the easier it will be to find suitable opportunities.

Article by Joseph Molina,
Executive Director Veterans Chamber of Commerce

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