Are Life Choices Job Choices?

by Kristy Amburgey

Life throws many choices at you every day.  Some of your decisions will be simple while others will be challenging and thought-provoking.  Some choices affect little in your life, and other choices have long term impact on you.  As a job seeker and professional, you have to consider what happens at the intersection of life choices and your career path.  When do your life choices become job choices?

If there is one absolute that we can all attest to, it is that the choices you make in life follow and impact you.  This concept rings especially true in your work life and your job search life.  Really, any decision, both major and minor, you make could affect your future ability to obtain employment and remain employed.  Your life choices could become job choices at any point in time in any situation.

What do these life choices as job choices look like?  It could be anything from how you dress to how you present yourself.  It could be a passion you have, where you worked, what you did in your past or what you did not do in the past.  It could be an event in your life documented on social media, or it could be how you act when confronted with any of these choices.   Concrete examples include showing a poor attitude at work, visible tattoos or piercings, dress that challenges the industry standards, pictures of you in an irresponsible position, listing a controversial organization/club on your resume, bringing religion into the workplace and more.  More serious life and job choices can include financial decisions, decisions that challenge social and professional obligations, choices that put you in conflict with the law and decisions that compromise your integrity and reputation.

Bringing up such a sensitive topic might seem slightly out of place in the career services realm, but this area is one in which you have to be aware.  You need to have an understanding of your industry as some career fields are more conservative than others.  As you interview for positions, you need to know that employers evaluate you, not just on your skills and accomplishments, but on your fit within their team.  Remember that companies often do background checks, and these can include things such as driving records, financial history and your internet presence.  Security clearance and reference checks may bring up topics that affect you, while any indiscretion, perceived or not, may impact your hire-ability.

On the other hand, you don’t want to lose yourself and your values.  We are not asking you to change for the sake of a job, and we don’t want you to live in fear of making a mistake or making a poor decision. We all have made life choices that may not have panned out for us as we wanted or expected.  That is ok.  What we want you to take away from this is that you need to be cognizant about the decisions you make and how those choices could impact your future in a positive or negative way.  We ask that you take time to evaluate your decisions to understand how they might fit into your job search and professional growth plan.  We want you to understand that some life choices you make now may affect your future career options.  It is a tall order to ask you to think about your future as you make all your decisions.  We know that family, values, beliefs, passions, and stability are just as important in the decision-making process.  We ask that you stop and add one more point of evaluation to your decision process.  Please think about how your life choices might impact your job choices.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

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