A Job versus a Career
A job comprises a set of responsibilities you accept at one point in time. A career is the trajectory of your cumulative efforts. It describes your accomplishments in a series of jobs—the impact you have made. As noted at the outset, charting your career is making a series of choices that determine what you do with most of your waking hours. These choices determine the context for your potential achievements. Each choice we make precludes others. We should be knowledgeable about the trade-offs our choices involve.
Whatever stage of life you are in, this book is designed to help you fashion a career that enables your idealist inclinations to thrive. When structuring this volume, we kept in mind that your job search and career development can be a demanding, time-consuming process. Thus, the whole book need not be read from front to back or cover to cover. Rather, it is divided into clearly marked and easily digestible chapters and sections, each of which can be read or skimmed alone.
I: Shaping Your Career Philosophy
Part I suggests a way of thinking about your career and leads you to consider a variety of activities that comprise career development. Although our focus in this book is primarily on the fields of international education, exchange, and development, the approaches discussed in part I can be useful to career seekers in many fields.
We first examine the need to identify your cause. Although your cause may evolve, grow, or change over time, it is the underlying force that drives your career. We agree with journalist David Gregory's observation, quoted at the start of the book:
"You'll know that you're doing what you love when you realize that your work is not just a job, but it's actually part of who you are."
As you work, if you are typically oblivious to time rather than watching the clock, this is a good signal that you are doing what you love. Athletes call it "being in the zone." You are so caught up in what you are doing and derive so much satisfaction from it that you would keep that occupation even if you won the lottery. Identifying your cause will help you find a job that becomes a part of who you are.
In chapter 2 we turn to the frequently mentioned yet seldom analyzed art of networking. The size, quality, and accessibility of the network of colleagues at your disposal are key elements in your job search and career development—and of real value to a potential employer. There are many methods and approaches to networking. Several are discussed in this chapter. We also emphasize that the potential benefits of networking are not always clear when a new relationship begins.
In chapter 3 we encourage you to consider the value of having mentors, as well as the gratification of serving as one. The kind of personal tutoring mentors provide and the example they set are invaluable as you chart your career path. In addition, mentors often act as your best and most enthusiastic references. Some people have clearly identified mentors in their lives while others do not. Either way, most professionals have benefited from the wisdom and guidance of a friend or colleague at some juncture.
In the last chapter of part I we explore the important idea that pursuing a career is a continuous journey, not simply something a person does intermittently while engaging in a job search. We also tackle the concept of professionalism. People are frequently admonished to "act like professionals," yet the exact meaning of this phrase can be elusive.
II: Selected Resources and Profiles
Part II is designed to help you map out the next steps on your career path and appreciate the many different routes that are available. Here you will find selected resources to aid you in your pursuit of a career in international education, exchange, and development. It is important to note that the resources contained in this section are indeed "selected." That is to say, our lists are not exhaustive on any specific topics, fields, or organizations. The resources in this section, however, are a kind of compass. We view them as the best tools available to point you in the right direction as you make your career choices. For this second edition we surveyed more than a hundred professionals in the fields (of varying ages and in different phases of their careers) to find out their favorite job search and career development resources. Their responses greatly informed and added significant value to this section.
Each chapter in part II is structured to allow you to quickly locate the information most useful to you. Chapter introductions are followed by short descriptions of illustrative organizations, as well as selected web and print resources to jumpstart your research.
Many of these resources overlap. For example, Inter Action is a coalition of more than 150 development organizations offering numerous resources and job opportunities in the development field. It first appears in chapter 5 because it is a valuable tool to help in your general job search in international development. Inter Action, however, is also an association for development professionals and a leading nonprofit organization; thus it is cross-referenced in both chapters 6 and 9. Its members also offer substantial volunteer opportunities in international development, so it appears in chapter 8 as well. NAFSA: Association of International Educators, a large professional association, first appears as a resource in chapter 5. The job registry hosted by NAFSA, however, is a popular resource for those looking for jobs or internships in international education, so a cross-reference is included in chapter 7. Given space constraints, not every conceivable cross-reference is included.
Because the resources listed in part II may overlap across many topics, chapter 5 contains resources designed to help you begin a more comprehensive job search. The chapters that follow are devoted to more topic-specific resources in the fields of international education, exchange, and development. Many of the organizations and associations included also host their own job search sites; practically all organizations list internal job openings on their websites.