Do You Know Your Why?

Sixteen months ago Rebecca Chopp signed on to become the University of Denver's 18th chancellor — and is the first woman to hold the position. In the build up to her inauguration in the Fall 2015 edition of the University of Denver Magazine, Chancellor Chopp talks about the importance of increasing access to higher education and states, "It should prepare you for a lifetime of work and career success. Today’s graduating high school seniors are expected to have between 10 and 15 different jobs over the next 20 years in three totally unrelated fields, one of which hasn’t come into existence yet because technology is changing so quickly."

Let's think about how careers used to unfold. Join a company, climb the ranks, get the gold stars and the gold watch, and retire with a pension. While many of us comprehend the scenario - it's rather uncommon beyond the baby boomer generation. Today’s workers are more likely to work for multiple companies throughout their career. In the past twenty years, I worked at 7 companies and led organizational functions in Marketing, Quality Management, Engineering, Product, Strategy, Business Intelligence, Alliances, and Professional Services. I never left the software industry but have worn a lot of hats in different verticals. But I was restless and something was always missing. Are we really trying to prepare students to flex across a bunch of different fields or should we instead be helping people to find their why and select a field that they love?

One of our role models started her career in Journalism and Public Relations. After many years, she found herself covering an assignment at a children's hospital and had an eureka moment. Shortly thereafter, she returned to school to become a physician assistant and found her devotion to children's wellness and the health sciences. Her story is one of determination and evidence that no one should settle for a career that doesn't continue to inspire you every day. Not everyone has a fortuitous eureka moment. Selecting and changing careers takes courage and self-awareness - and might necessitate active support and explicit coaching. So whether you are trying to decide on a degree path or your new path - a better way to find and explore careers might be exactly what you need. All in all - it is about helping you find your why.

Do you know your why?

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Melissa RisteffComment