The Desk

August 19, 2007

Dispersion

Filed under: Career Advancement,Job Search — Yvonne LaRose @ 6:09 PM

It’s time for me to wax nostalgic again. This time, there are musings about whether other career coaches are suffering from similar pangs. Wanting our “students” to succeed. Wanting the connections to work. Getting just as excited as they are (or even more so) about the opportunities. Losing sight of when the coaching has stopped (if it ever does) and cutoff for job referrals has arrived so that it’s now up to the “student” to follow through on the best practices that were learned. I just get too invested in each one who demonstrates that they are serious and are dedicated to working for what they want.

First-stage Transition

It’s one thing to watch our “students” going through graduation. That was in May and June. There was relief at having survived another semester. Grades were earned and they were pretty decent after all. The coaches said, “I told you you could do it!” or “I knew you had it in you,” or just a mild, “Good.” No matter what the expression, it was genuine. Coaches comprehend what the students are enduring. We commiserate because we were there once and some of us are going through our own graduate studies of some sort.

The other thing that coaches experience is disappointment for our students. We are disappointed when their attention strays from their purpose or when they needlessly waste time on futile efforts. Efforts that are more play than networking and thereby allowing ripe seeds of next-stage associations to slip away. Efforts that are more spinning yarns that actually exploring possibilities. These are actually unfocused exercises at trying to emulate being “adult” and taking on responsibilities. Still, they are mere spinning tales in an effort to gain connection with someone. They do not yet understand the art of connecting with others. When these endeavors (spinning tales) overwhelm each encounter, there is no difficulty in releasing the student to their own devices while we focus on those who are more serious about their efforts.

Still, these intiates survived the semester. They either prepared for a summer internships, graduated and celebrated that victory, or took a break in order to begin the next session with a prepared mind. For those who graduated and had not started their job search three to four months in advance, we watch as they strive to make sense of these past four years and patiently provide a little more tutoring.

Second-stage Transition

Graduation may be over, but licensing Boards are not. So we survive the period of studying for the boards. The students periodically look up for a breath of real air and we are there to chime in with a little conversation about something light, a joke, share what we’re reading, socialize for a couple of minutes and then back to the books.

These students are not going the traditional business route. The Boards mean there is a program awaiting them contingent upon their performance on the boards. So coaches encourage and support. We engage in conversation that actualizes the studies so that the textbook looks more like real life than a classic representation.

No matter whether its graduation or finishing the Boards, the time comes when it’s time to leave the student housing. There’s a turnover at the campus hot spot and faces transition. There are smiles, lunches, worried looks, funny stories, and exchanges of email addresses and Facebook connections.

Third-stage Transition

Here we are at the downturning of August and we’ve come to yet another time of growing up in a initiate’s life. The dispersion phase. That time when the job offers have come from another locale have come and are accepted. Or the job offers have not come and the foreign students make the decision to return home. In either case, it’s time to move out of the student housing that held them during their studies. They’ve begun the emergence from the safe pod in which they were ensconced.

“Are you aware of how much you’ve changed since you came here?”

Some are; some are not. Some are not aware of what it means. It means they have graduated into a new, different way of thinking and seeing things. They are not the raw material that came to the university setting. Where there were folk traditions that were part of the initial persona, sophistication and culturalization have taken place. The student is more refined and they will not easily slip back into the old life. They may go home but it will be for a short time. During that brief interval, it is critical that they use their network (developed in the United States but reaching in all directions) to forge new inroads on their path and open new associations, while maintaining those relationships that spawned them. Those are the ones that have the most meaning because those are the relationships that created the foundation of the personality. By maintaining those relationships, one is better able to adapt to cultural differences, appreciate all types of people and communicate with them.

Saying “See You Later”

No matter whether it’s stage-one transition or stage three, there comes a time when the student must leave the cocoon, the safe place, and venture out. They need to disperse their self in the form of their resume or online profile into the world. Although you may have attempted this coaching lesson, trust me, they did not listen. It’s time to repeat it. Network. Network. Network. Make connections. Make connections for the sake of knowing people who know people who know things and can invite you to be part of it all. And once you’re part of “it,” you’re in a better place to determine whether that’s where you want to be or somewhere else. But you become that much more wise, sophisticated, and that much more invested with options and alternatives.

Whether they’re staying in the community or returning to another land, changes have occurred and created a friend where a coaching student once stood. It’s very difficult for me to let go of people. And if I believe in them, it’s difficult for me to cut off looking for leads and referrals. Do other coaches go through this? I truly hope so — for the sake of carving out the identity of good coaches in many places and for the associations that can blossom from the dispersion of the new seedlings.

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