The Career Doctor™

by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez

Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers? Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of your own, use the anonymous , and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here. Contact in ation is here.


Dear Career Doctor:

Hey! I'm in 8th grade and, yes, I know I'm young! But I'm just the kind of person who wants to have a life plan. I have been wanting to be a doctor all my life, but all the sudden I am having second thoughts! I love public speaking, I express myself openly, and I'm not sure if being a lawyer is now my destined job. Both of these jobs seem like the right one. I also am a strong leader. My high school is really selective and I'm not sure I'll get into the right classes. WHAT DO I DO??

Jess I.

Dear Jess:

I admire someone who is a long-term planner like you. You have plenty of time to figure out what you want to do, and even to set yourself up to get into one of the top colleges that will lead you to the success you want; but you are correct: the earlier you start planning, the better off you will be. In fact, I think your question is so important that I am going to write a two part answer. This week I will answer your direct question: How do I figure out the right career direction? Next week, I will answer your implied question: How do I get into a top college?

When thinking about choosing the right career, please know that you do not need to pressure yourself. You will not have to declare a major until your sophomore year. And even if you don't select the "right" major at that time, you can always take post-grad courses and pick up the credits you need to get into graduate school (or med school or law school.)

So, take a little pressure off yourself and begin to explore which career might be fun. Fun? Yes, fun! Fun is key to a successful career. Why? People who go into a field they think is both fun and interesting don't have to force themselves to go to work. They naturally have the enthusiastic, creative approach to their work that brings success.

The problem is that most young people -- and even many adults are never exposed to the wide range of existing career choices. They only know about the jobs their parents have, and the ones they see glamorized on television. So for the next few years, explore the world of work and discover what jobs sound fun and interesting to you.

Talk to every adult you meet about what they do. Ask what are the good and bad points of their job. (Unfortunately, there are good and bad about everything. The issue is whether you will enjoy the good enough to put up with the bad.) Browse the career section of your local library. There are books about almost every career. One big one is The Occupational Outlook Handbook, which has a page or two of in ation about the jobs that 80% of Americans are employed in. It's online, so you can read a little every week if you want. When you find things that look good, you can do more research.

Make a game out of this for yourself. If you take this approach, you will be miles ahead of your peers in terms of finding the career that is right for you. And, since you are worried about getting into the "right" classes, I'll tell you more about that next week.

The Career Doctor



The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.

Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.

For more in ation go to