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I am 38 years old, married for 17 years and with two teenage children, aged 14 and 16. My husband and I had made a decision when we got married that I would be full-time mother. This has paid off well because I’m proud to say that both our daughter and son are good children and are doing well in school. We live simply, have simple tastes and are home bound.  Our simplicity has been passed on to our children.  We are able to send them to good schools on my husband’s modest salary as accounting manager in a consumer marketing company.

They are doing very well in school with the good study habits that I had taught them.  I now find myself longing to have a full time job and start a career.  My husband supports me on this dream of mine.
At my age, can I still be employed?  Will a company get me?  I have an AB in  Psychology degree but have never got to practice my educational background in a paying corporate job.  I’m also good with the computer.  So I’m like a college graduate looking for my first job.  Where and how do I begin?  Please help me.

Mrs. Where-Do-I-Begin

 

I congratulate you and your husband for the decision you mutually made to make the rearing of your children your top priority.  And God has blessed this decision with the good children you write that you now have and who are doing well in school.

Now you want to have a full-time job and pursue a career.  You ask important questions such as, what job and what career?  Where and how do I begin?  Will a company employ a 38-year old woman like me with no work experience and no relevant corporate skills?  Vacant positions advertised always specify an age range which can be very discouraging to job applicants like yourself.  However, if an applicant can show that they have very good technical skills, such as various computer applications, have good communication skills, etc., perhaps age can be waived.

The first thing to do is to find out what your career interest is and what skills you have that you enjoy using.  The right career for you is one that fits your inclinations, preferences or interests, and requires skills you enjoy using.

On Sunday, March 2, 2008  in the Working People folio of the Sunday Inquirer, I advised a 24-year old lady who was in a sales career which she hated, on how to go about choosing the right career for her.  Knowing her orientation is the first step in the process of career planning.

Like her, you now ask yourself:  am I data-oriented, thing/object-oriented, idea-oriented or a people oriented person?  A data-oriented person is one who enjoys gathering, classifying, analyzing and evaluating data to solve problems.  They prefer to work alone rather than with people.  Scientific careers such as research jobs, laboratory jobs, etc. are examples.

A thing-oriented person enjoys creating things with their hands and working with tools and objects rather than with people and ideas.  Various engineering careers, dentistry and dental aides; people doing repair work, etc. are examples.

An artistic-oriented person is imaginative and creative with ideas.  They want to have freedom to do what they like to do, and prefer to work in an unstructured  environment.  They enjoy activities related to language, art, music, drama and writing, etc.  Designers, artists, literary writers, and the like, fall in this category.

A people-oriented person is one who enjoys social interactions, are interested in the problems and concerns of others and like activities that allow them to teach, inform, train, develop, care and help others.  Teaching and training, nursing, caregiving are examples.

A people-oriented person may also want to work in careers which enable them to lead or convince others to achieve team/organizational goals, or to have economic gain. People in sales and marketing, politics, insurance, law, etc. are examples.

A person who wants to pursue Psychology as a career can be either data-oriented or people-oriented, or both.  A data orientation means you enjoy administering psychometric and psychological  tests, and analyzing and evaluating the results and writing reports about the subjects who had taken these tests.  People orientation means that you enjoy interacting with people for the purpose of knowing, understanding, and helping them with their coping and adjustment concerns.  Counseling and psychotherapy are examples of careers in psychology that require both people and data orientations.  However, these careers require higher educational degrees such as masteral and doctoral, and broad exposure to people in clinical settings.

In addition, even a psychologist with an MA or doctoral degree can not conduct or teach counseling.  The new Guidance Law requires a specialization in guidance and counseling and passing a government examination for licensure given by the Professional Regulations Commission.  If you are interested in pursuing higher degrees in psychology, you may need to enroll in a reputable school with a good curriculum in psychology in the graduate level.  For information on this, please contact the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Teaching psychology requires both people and data-orientation.  If you don’t want to take formal courses in psychology, you can apply in a private school to teach psychology, if it will accept an undergraduate major.  The application process will do you good as you will learn what the requirements are for you to teach.

The second step is to look for jobs in companies which specify psychology as a required educational background.  Scan the help-wanted positions advertised in newspapers, if you have not been doing this.

The third step is to prepare a good resume.  Since you don’t have formal work experience, you can list down the skills you have as a home manager:  planning (budgeting, forecasting, programming); leading (motivating, coaching, etc.). You are probably smiling as you read these.  I suggest you look up books on home management skills that can be transferred into a corporate setting.  Your computer skills are definitely an asset in a corporate job.

The fourth step is to look at other career options.  Don’t be fixated on a corporate job or an academic career that would take you outside your home.  Long travel time can drain you and heavy work load can stress you, thus affecting the quality of personal and family life that you have worked so hard to establish and enjoy.  Explore your God-given talents and other non-corporate skills.

You could look into a self-employment career with your home as base.  Many specialty restaurants, bakeshops, house and garden ornamental plants nurseries, to name a few, were started by housewives as hobbies to delight their families and friends and eventually becoming successful business ventures.  What home skills do you enjoy using?  Cooking what specialties?  Baking what specialties?

You could hone your skills by taking short courses so that your products are marketable and sales sustainable.  Look up TRC (Technology Resource Center) www.tlrc.gov.ph/trainingcourses.html   for a broad range of courses ranging from business operation/management, to food business, to agri-business, to chemical business, to crafts and others.

What are the needs in your community?  If you are very good with computers, you could start a small business center; or perhaps operate a laundry shop, a day care and nursery school, etc.

There are many possibilities open for your.  The fifth step is to write down as many possibilities you can go into as you brainstorm with your husband and children, and with your close friends.  Narrow down the list until you have 2-3 options.  Decide on the best option and formulate a career goal that is SMART, i.e., Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant (to your needs and values) and Time-Bound.  This is the sixth step.
Examples of career goals are:

  • By July 30, 2008, I am employed by a medium-sized Filipino company as Human Resource Assistant doing recruitment and testing and receiving a basic monthly salary of no less than P10,000.00
  • By June 30, 2008, orders for my special apple pie and chicken empanada amount to a minimum of P3,000.00/week.

I hope the above has answered your questions.

 

God bless,

 

Josie Santamaria

I’m 24 years old, female and single.  I finished AB major in economics.  I have been working as a sales rep of a company distributing consumer products for women.  My compensation is OK; my company, my boss, and co-workers are all OK.  In addition, I get to drive a brand new company car after passing the 6-month period.  I must admit that it was the car, the commissions and the freedom that go with a sales job that attracted me to apply and to accept the position.  But I hate my job as sales rep.  I don’t like calling on customers, especially the males who gives me dirty looks and make a pass at me.  Selling is not just my cup of tea but right now I don’t know what it is that will give me the kind of money I need and the car that goes with the job.  We are five children and I’m the only one working.  It is my income that provides my mother with the three dialyses she needs every week.  It is the money I earn that keeps me on to the job.  It seems that it is only in sales that I’ll be able to earn the kind of money that I need, especially for my mother.  Shall I continue my selling career even if I hate it?

Ms. No-To-Sales

You are sure you don’t like your job  but you like it only for the money you get from it and the car that you get to use to do it.  Your self-sacrifice for your mother is admirable.

To me, there are at least two options open for you.  One, look for a job now and once you get the one that you like, you can resign.  Two, continue the work you are doing and change the way you look at and think of it.

Let’s look at option one.  You must know what job you want and why.  What keeps you now to a sales job are extrinsic factors, e.g., money and car.   The job that is suited for you is one where the work that you do is what you find enjoyable.  Doing it makes you happy.  You look forward doing the tasks; you want to improve the way you do it and this gives you a feeling of achievement.  Finishing the tasks makes you feel proud of yourself.  Enjoyment, sense of achievement, feeling of pride, and fulfillment are intrinsic factors.  They determine if you are in the right career.

Take a career interest test that will identify if you are a data-oriented, a thing-oriented, an idea-oriented, or a people-oriented person.  A data-oriented person is one who enjoys gathering, classifying, analyzing and evaluating data to solve problems.  They prefer to work alone rather than with people.  Scientific careers such as research jobs, laboratory jobs, economics, etc. are examples.  If you enjoyed your economics subjects in college, this is an indication that it could be the right career for you.  Look for jobs in this field.

A thing-oriented person enjoys creating things with their hands and working with tools and objects rather than with people and ideas.  Various engineering careers, dentistry and dental aides; people doing repair work, etc. are examples.

An artistic-oriented person is imaginative and creative with ideas.  They want to have freedom to do what they like to do, and prefer to work in an unstructured  environment.  They enjoy activities related to language, art, music, drama and writing, etc.  Designers, artists, literary writers, and the like, fall in this category.

A people-oriented person is one who enjoys social interactions, are interested in the problems and concerns of others and like activities that allow them to teach, inform, train, develop, care and help others.  Teaching and training, nursing, caregiving are examples.

Another people-oriented person wants to work in careers which enable them to lead or convince others to achieve team/organizational goals, or have economic gain. People in sales and marketing, politics, insurance, law, etc. are examples.

Look for psychological centers that administer career interests and personality tests or look for these on-line.  In both instances, you must be ready to pay a fee but it is worth it so that you can get to know the career you are suited for and the jobs in this career, the duties of which are to your liking.  If you don’t do this, you are likely to get into another job for extrinsic reasons such as pay, car, money, people you work with, etc.

Look up the job vacancies advertised and examine the requirements for these.  Relate these with your career interests and personality.  If you do this, perhaps, you will be led to the right career for you.

Option two requires you to change the way you look, think and feel about your current sales job.  Perception, thoughts and feelings are factors within yourself that are within you control.  Write down all the benefits you get from your present job and write these down as column 1.  In column 2 write down the disadvantages of your current job.

If you see there are more advantages/benefits particularly in the area of providing the much-needed dialysis for your mother, then change your feelings about it and your self-talk.  Take away your “I hate it” mindset and shift it to “I may not like what I do; however, it is giving me the money my mother needs to keep her alive.”

As for your male customers who make a pass at you and give you dirty looks, consider these as a “given” in a selling job.  An attractive female sales rep will invite these kinds of attention from male customers; you just need to make sure you are dressed properly such that you do not invite these kinds of male overtures, and that your dealings with them are strictly professional.  You may want to read on books on how to handle these kinds of customers.

Refusing invitations to go out may be difficult but you can “wiggle” yourself out of them by saying that you need to be home to care for your sick mother.

Meanwhile, save as much as you can from your salary and commissions so that when the right job comes along, you can finally say goodbye to this selling job and change into the right one.  Make sure, though, that it is a job in the right career.

Pray to God to protect you.

 

Josie Santamaria