Feb 17 2009
Ariel Schierer, an old colleague of mine at American University’s Center for Asian Studies and now a doctoral candidate at Columbia, attended Friday’s session and had this to say:
One thing I think applies to many of us exploring international exchange/education/development is that we are interested as much in who we want to become, as what we want to do. I think Working World’s discussion of professionalism is particularly relevant to this concept — and I think any sequel (I do hope you have a sequel) might profit from a discussion of shaping yourself and your field.
Ariel gets right at a theme that Sherry and I tried to bring out in Working World the book, and still attempt to highlight in all our sessions on careers. That theme relates to the fact that we start the book by noting that it, and careers in these fields, are for idealists. It relates to the question Sherry so often encourages job seekers in these fields to consider: “How do you want to spend your days?” While figuring out what you want to do is very important, for sure, as Ariel says, thinking about who you want to be is the equally important, if not more important, question–for all job seekers, yes, but somehow I think it takes on particular importance in the fields of international education, exchange, and development. Or maybe I just want it to take on that particular importance. Regardless, it is an important thing when plotting your career, or even just looking for a job, to give at least some thought to not only the question of what you want to do, but also the questions of what kind of life you want to lead and what kind of person you want to be.