February 5, 2007



"Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream!"

This song, which most of us know, is a metaphor for the part of us that wants to create, build, work, achieve and produce. Lets break it down:

The words, "Row, row, row," symbolize action, work and energy being used to accomplish something. In this example, we are moving from point "A" to point "B" on the stream.

"Your boat" are words that encourage us to be in our own boat as opposed to someone else's boat while we are rowing. What occupation does our boat represent? Did we pick our own boat or did someone else pick it for us? Perhaps we are rowing someone else's boat and working in an occupation that is not what we want.

"Gently" is a soft word/adverb that describes how to row so we do not view our "work" as a four letter word. We are working "smart" rather than "hard." It's all in our attitude about our job.

The words, "Down the stream," encourage us to go with the flow rather than waste energy going "up the stream." It is easier to row "down the stream" than "up the stream." Rowing "up the stream" can cause feelings of exhaustion. How energized or passionate do we feel about our chosen line of work?

"Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily," are the words that suggest we can be happy with what we do for a living. Are we happy with our chosen occupation?

"Life is but a dream." What is our occupational daydream? What do we want to be when we grow up?


Career: A life-long involvement that encompasses your interests, abilities, goals and self-concept.

Occupation: Work involvement involving formal teaching.

Vocation: Talents are used; sometimes no teaching needed.

Job: A specific set of work tasks carried out in an occupation.

Calling: A strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence, also known as "occupational daydream."


In order to find an enjoyable work place, you must know the following: Your interests, personality, values, skills, abilities, goals, preferences and attitudes.

Knowledge of job characteristics needed: Training, tasks involved, working conditions, benefits, wages, hours, etc.

Your PREFERENCES overrule your ABILITIES in terms of achieving SUCCESS. When you get true satisfaction from your work, success is achieved. No one can predict the future job market - so you need to follow your interests when looking for a job. Objective: To find a job that will satisfy your psychological and physical needs so you can be happy! What is your calling?

Three important questions to ask yourself before looking for a job:

1) Who am I?
2) What do I most want to accomplish?
3) How do I go about it? (A strategy is needed).

For a successful job hunt you need to know which skills you enjoy using, know where you would enjoy using them and know how to get to the place where you can use these skills. Important achievements help you to identify your skills.

Three parts to identifying your skills:

TRAITS (Adjectives that describe you).
FUNCTIONAL (What are you capable of doing?).
TASK (Skill used on the job).

All skills are transferable. Example: A waitress uses some of the same skills as a Corporate Executive (memory, organizing, etc.)

The chicken and the egg question: Does using your skills help to develop your self-esteem or do you first need self-esteem to begin to use your skills?

Some important questions to consider prior to looking for your ideal job:

What is your ideal job?
What are your personal strengths?
What is your philosophy of life?
What is your ultimate life goal?
What working conditions are of interest to you?
What geographical location is preferred in which to work?
What do you want to be doing 10 years from now?
How can it be achieved?

A resume needs to focus on your skills rather than trivia or past experiences. The resume lands you the job interview. During the job interview, talk about skills and how you can use them to help the employer solve their problems. After the job interview, when you get home, remember to send a "Thank You" card for the opportunity to interview. Believe me, I recommend it!


"Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream!"


Prior to seeking an occupational path, it is a good idea to do some research about the job in which you are interested. This will take detective skills and leg work to get some answers. This means doing some homework and preparation to learn about your occupational daydream at the outset of your job-seeking journey.

The Occupational Information Interview is a tool that is used to get first-hand job information from a person who is already doing what you want to be doing. Lets say you're interested in working as a teacher. What better way to find out about the teaching profession than to personally interview a teacher? A lot of valuable information can be obtained by interviewing someone who is already working your occupational daydream. As a sidebar, asking someone about their livelihood is different than going to a job interview.

When deciding who you want to interview, remember that most people enjoy talking about themselves and their jobs, especially with someone who is genuinely interested. Now it's time to get out there, schedule an appointment with the person whom you want to interview and learn more about your occupational daydream!

Here are the questions:

What are your major duties and responsibilities?

What aspects of your position do you find most interesting, and what aspects do you enjoy the least? What are the rewards, and what are the sacrifices?

Where does the position fit within the organizational structure of your organization?

What jobs/positions have you held that led up to this position?

What entry level jobs would qualify a person for this type of position?

What jobs could someone in your position pursue for advancement, and what are the prerequisites for advancement?

What academic preparation is necessary for entry level jobs in this occupation (specific courses, extracurricular experiences, etc.)?

What is the current demand for people in this occupation?

Does this job exist in other types of work settings (companies, organizations, agencies, educational institutions)?

What are the salary ranges for the various jobs in the career ladder for this occupation?

How does the position fit within your total lifestyle?

Does this position fulfill any of your personal interests and needs? On the other hand, have you made personal sacrifices or compromises to remain in this occupation/job/position?

Online Resource:
Occupational Outlook Handbook

Written by,
Mark S. Rogers, LPC.
Licensed Professional Counselor.

Thanks for supporting Stooltime Counseling, Cheryl!


K.roshan said...

well,this are question comes in your mind after you enter the age of 10-15 yrs or as you start growing.And same was the case with me and after i was 15yrs i unterstood what my dream is...!
great article...

Unknown said...

I can relate to "What Do you Want To be When You Grow Up." I thought I had it all figured out and was where I wanted to be. I had some unforseen circumsrances; and now at 35 years old, I am starting over. But, I love your comment that you have to enjoy your work and that will bring success!! Thanks Mark, Valerie Goguen