A Success Story
Recent graduate career change profile
Students belonging to the "Ambitious Generation"
who are Career Literate begin managing their young careers
Career Vision client Tanya Lüthi was recently interviewed
for a Wall Street Journal article, "The
First Job Blues: How to Adjust, When to Move On."
Tanya chose to move on. Here is her story on how she accomplished
her re-direction using a career assessment and informational
interviews to ensure a smart move.
"I went to college thinking I would major in something
math- or science-related, but got sidetracked and wound up
earning my bachelor's degree in political theory from Princeton
in 2000. I found it to be an interesting subject, and I knew
that college was my only chance to really study something
like politics and philosophy. I decided to ignore the "So
what are you going to do with that degree?" question
I got from everyone.
After graduation, I didn't want to pursue graduate work in
politics, so I decided to take a stab at the nonprofit/foundation
world. I wanted to feel like I was doing something worthwhile,
but I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about what kind
of actual tasks I would enjoy doing on a daily basis.
It didn't take me long to figure out that I disliked my job,
but I couldn't clearly articulate why. After taking the Ball
Aptitude Battery, I learned a few key lessons. They were things
I already knew on some level, but the counseling really put
the big picture together for me. The first lesson I learned
is that I am a problem-solver, and I need to have a clearly
defined problem, with clear indicators of success and clear
products or deliverables. The second is that I am very "spatial,"
meaning that I always need to see an underlying structure
to what I do, and to see how things fit together. The third
is that I am off-the-charts detail-oriented. In contrast,
the field I had chosen was highly abstract, process-oriented
as opposed to product-oriented, and it was extremely difficult
to measure success. No wonder I was frustrated!
Architecture was one of the fields recommended by my particular
aptitude profile, so I took a summer off from my job and did
the Career Discovery program at the Harvard Graduate School
of Design. The program is designed for people considering
graduate school in architecture, landscape architecture, and
urban design. I finished the summer thinking, okay, I want
that, but with math! That meant I wanted to be a structural
engineer. I tracked down as many structural engineers as I
could find, talked to them about what they did, what they
liked and didn't like about their jobs, what skills and talents
they thought were necessary to be successful, and what kind
of career paths are open to people with structural engineering
degrees. Once my decision was made, I talked to graduate engineering
programs about my situation, and wound up at the University
of Texas at Austin. I needed about a dozen undergraduate courses
to get caught up, and then went on to complete a master's
degree in structural engineering.
I am now working for a structural engineering firm in New
York City and loving my new profession. Engineering uses my
problem-solving skills, it requires attention to detail, and
structural engineering is perfect for someone who is highly
Without Career Vision, I don't think I would have had the
courage to make such a drastic change. The process reinforced
for me that I really would be a good engineer, and so I wasn't
completely crazy to pursue engineering after studying politics
in college. Had I not gone into engineering, I probably would
have continued changing jobs, groping around in the dark and
hoping I'd find something I liked! Now I've not only found
a profession I enjoy, I've been "armed" with information
about myself that I can continue to use as my career develops."
Tanya Lüthi, New York, NY
Direction. Decisions. Satisfaction.