A job-hunting philosophy
Career development is more than finding jobs

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 15/99) - When Yellowknife's Vicki Mason was in her 20s she was taking flying lessons with the dream of becoming a pilot.

She went flying with the instructor one day and was intimidated by all the gadgets inside the plane, she said.

Her flying instructor was nonchalantly looking out the window when something went wrong with the controls and the plane went into a short nosedive.

Instinctively, Mason did what she said she thought most people would do -- she took her hands off the controls, covered her eyes and screamed.

Her instructor grabbed the controls, got the plane level and barked, "Lady, do the sky a favour and take up scuba diving."

That was the end of Mason's flying career.

She went to university with the goal of becoming a teacher.

But, as fate would have it, she became a career development professional.

"Career development is not just connecting people with jobs, or just helping them write resumes or just helping them do a job search," said the manager of career and employment development with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, at a conference on career development at the Explorer Hotel Oct. 13.

"It's the whole notion of helping people gain the skills to effectively manage their career lives."

One of the ways to help people manage their careers is to work on boosting self-esteem and life-skills.

Another way is to have programs such as job shadowing so students can get a glimpse of occupations that interest them to get an idea of whether or not they are suited for it.

Another aspect of career development is helping women join the workforce and balance work with family.

"It's a whole philosophy," she said.

"It's not just a profession."

Mason said the profession has grown and changed in the past seven years from being one that was more focused on just finding jobs for people to one where life-skills and career management skills are taught.

"Before, at ECE, things were more employment focused. There was no career development base and no philosophical base," she said.

"Then we decided that it was career development that helps make sense of that whole training and development system."