CAREERS AND CHARACTER Back
In this session, participants will explore the relationship between character traits and careers, identify their own character traits, and begin to think about their career options.
- College and Career Prep
By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
- Explain the relationship among character traits, occupational clusters, and career and work choices.
- Character Traits and Work activity sheet—make a copy for each participant
- Character Traits, Work, and You activity sheet—make a copy for each participant
- Occupational Clusters activity sheet—make a copy for each participant
- Computers or smartphones with internet access
- Blank sheet of paper for each participant
- Pen or pencil for each participant
Text in italics should be read aloud to participants. As you engage your post in activities each week, please include comments, discussions, and feedback to the group relating to Character, Leadership, and Ethics. These are important attributes that make a difference in the success of youth in the workplace and in life.
Recognizing My Character Traits
Pass out the blank paper and pens or pencils. Then say: We all have a number of character traits. Let’s take a moment now to figure out what yours are. (Let the participants know that they will not have to share their paper with anyone.) Here’s how: I want you to think of yourself as a product and your name as your own private brand. It sounds really weird, but it will help you recognize your character traits. Your name—your brand—is the image you present to different people. A brand is the trademark or distinctive name that identifies a product, a manufacturer, or an idea.
Write your name on a piece of paper. This is your brand name, just as “McDonald’s” is the brand name of a particular fast-food chain, and “Nike” is the brand name of a particular kind of athletic gear. And just like “McDonald’s” and “Nike” suggest certain qualities to consumers, your name suggests certain qualities to those who know you.
Make an equal sign after your name, and think of the qualities this “brand name” suggests to your friends, family, and teachers or other adults. You may want to make a few different lists if you think your friends, family, and teachers see you in different ways. Do you think they consider you easy- going? Funny? Intelligent? Shy? Adventurous? Stubborn? Imaginative? A good listener? Quick- tempered or slow to anger? Careful or clumsy? Talkative or quiet? Patient? Ambitious? Someone who is honest and fair? The answers to these questions reveal many of your character traits.
You also have some character traits that other people, even people who are close to you, can’t always see.
Give Explorers a few minutes to complete this part of the exercise.
Then say: Take a moment now to think about what makes you feel good, deep inside. We all like to feel good about ourselves, and we tend to act in a way that makes us feel good. But what makes me feel pleased with myself may not be what makes you feel good. Everyone wants to love and be loved; beyond that, we have different motives for acting the way we do. Some of us do things because we want to be well-known and admired. Some of us do things because we like to help others. Think about why you do things. What makes you feel good about yourself: Is it creating something original, such as a picture or a song or a recipe? Is it figuring out how to do a complicated project? Is it challenging yourself physically, such as running a race, or intellectually, such as learning a computer game or reading a book? Is it competing against others and winning? Is it doing what your religion teaches? Or helping to right a wrong or to make your community a better place?
Perhaps you have several of these motives or some others altogether. Write down what you do that makes you feel good about yourself, and why you do it. These inner motives are important character traits too.
Relating Character Traits and Work
Tell Explorers: Understanding your character traits can help you find out which jobs are most likely to satisfy you. You will be more successful and enjoy your job more if you can find one that best suits who you are.
Give each participant a copy of the Character Traits and Work; Character Traits, Work, and You; and Occupational Clusters activity sheets.
Tell Explorers that the character traits listed on the Character Traits and Work activity sheet are not the only ones that exist, but they are some of the traits that most affect career choices. Have Explorers read about these character traits and the different jobs associated with each and then identify those jobs that seem most appealing to them, taking into consideration the character traits they identified in Activity 1.
Then have participants explore the Bureau of Labor Statistics website (see the Occupational Clusters activity sheet for the URL) to further focus their interests in one or more of the job categories listed on the Occupational Clusters activity sheet.
Using the character traits and possible jobs they identified on the Character Traits and Work activity sheet and the information they found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, have Explorers complete the Character Traits, Work, and You activity sheet.
When Explorers have finished, have them discuss their answers with the group. Which careers do they seem suited for, according to the activity sheets? Do any of these careers in fact appeal to them? Which ones?
After participants have shared their findings, use the reflection questions to wrap up the session.
Some sample questions are below. They are designed to help the participants apply what they have learned to their own interests. You are welcome to use these questions or develop your own questions that relate to your post or specific focus area.
- What character traits are most significant for you?
- What career clusters are of the most interest to you?
- How do your character traits align with the career clusters that are of most interest to you?
- How is being able to use this information helpful for you as a prospective leader?
- How might you use this in your potential career?
- How do character traits align with prospective careers?
- How might you use this in life or in college?
- Why is this important?
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