Create a three-column chart in which the first column lists non management skills you have.

The 21st century offers many challenges to every one of us. As more firms go global, as more economies interconnect, and as the Web blasts away boundaries to communication, we become more informed citizens. This interconnectedness means that the organizations you work for will require you to develop both general and specialized knowledge—such as speaking multiple languages, using various software applications, or understanding details of financial transactions. You will have to develop general management skills to foster your ability to be self-reliant and thrive in a changing marketplace. And here’s the exciting part: As you build both types of knowledge, you may be able to integrate your growing expertise with the causes or activities you care most about. Or, your career adventure may lead you to a new passion. Former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton are well known for combining their management skills—running a country—with their passion for helping people around the world. Together they have raised funds to assist disaster victims, those with HIV/AIDS, and others in need. Jake Burton turned his love of snow sports into an entire industry when he founded Burton Snowboards. Annie Withey poured her business and marketing knowledge into her two famous business ventures: Smartfood and Annie’s Homegrown. Both products were the result of her passion for healthful foods made from organic ingredients. As you enter the workforce, you may have no idea where your career path will lead. You may be asking yourself, “How will I fit in?” “Where will I live?” “How much will I earn?” “Where will my business and personal careers evolve as the world continues to change at such a fast pace?” If you are feeling nervous because you don’t know the answers to these questions yet, relax. A career is a journey, not a single destination. You may have one type of career or several. It is likely you will work for several organizations, or you may run one or more businesses of your own. As you ask yourself what you want to do and where you want to be, take a few minutes to review the chapter and its main topics. Think about your personality, what you like and dislike, what you know and what you want to learn, what you fear and what you dream. Then try the following exercise.

1. Create a three-column chart in which the first column lists non management skills you have. Are you good at travel? Do you know how to build furniture? Are you a whiz at sports statistics? Are you an innovative cook? Do you play video games for hours? In the second column, list the causes or activities about which you are passionate. These may dovetail with the first list, but they might not.

2. Once you have your two columns complete, draw lines between entries that seem compatible. If you are good at building furniture, you might have also listed a concern about families who are homeless. Remember that not all entries will find a match—the idea is to begin finding some connections.

3. In the third column, generate a list of firms or organizations you know about that reflect your interests. If you are good at building furniture, you might be interested working for the Habitat for Humanity organization, or you might find yourself gravitating toward a furniture retailer like Ikea or Ethan Allen. You can do further research on organizations via the Internet or business publications.  With this chart, you have begun to create a career plan for yourself. In the next exercise, you will be assessing your management skills. Each of these activities begins to zero in on your own particular combination of general and specialized knowledge both of which will grow and change throughout your career. Creating a plan is like talking the talk. Making the plan happen requires walking the walk. By the time you finish this course, you will be ready to take those first career steps. You may change direction once or many times, but always your path will lead forward. Good luck!

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