Ben grew up in Baltimore and decided to persue his undergraduate degree in Boston. He was always passionate about art and when it came down to declaring a major, Ben had to make a tough decision-- study art or something that would supposedly lead to a career. He ended up studying both art and American studies and went on to get his Masters in Urban Planning. Ben eventually returned home to work for Baltimore City, where he worked in the planning department. After working for the city for a few years, he wanted to do more and so became involved with the artist community in Baltimore. Ben stressed to our clients the importance of volunteering and following your true interests. During this time, he started volunteering around the city and eventually with Station North Arts and Enterntainment, where he now works. He describes his current job as a "lifestyle job," where he is constantly working, even if he is on vacation. Ben talked about how to gain respect in the workforce and advised clients to "be confident in the skills that you possess, but be honest and open about the skills you could improve on." He explained that it is important to show that you are self-aware and that you want to interact and learn more from other people as well.
Don was a long-time Philadelphia resident and studied at the University of Pennsylvania. He developed a love of education and believed that "education is the way to get the key to open the door of opportunities." Don ended up continuing his education after his undergraduate degree and earned two Masters degrees and a PhD. He now works for his own consulting company and thoroughly enjoys his work. He told our clients to see roadblocks in their career journeys as "speed calming bumps," instead of complete stops. He stressed the importance of having a plan while you are in the job search process and writing it down. Don said that time is critical when making plans, and that the objectives have to be realistic. He also told clients to be committed in everything you do so you can learn from that experience.
Rob is a professional writer and described his career as a "business poet". He currently writes for the Baltimore Business Journal. Rob shared a personal story about a tragic incident in his life and how he had to decide to either stay home and be with his friends and family, or accept a position as a humor columnist that he had recently gotten. He chose the harder option, to write. Through this experience, he discovered his purpose in life-- to use his gift of writing to fill people with hope and love. He explained to clients how to figure out their purpose, with five important questions to consider: "What am I here to learn?" What am I hear to teach?" What am I here to overcome?" What am I here to complete?" and finally, "What am I here to express?"
Bill began his story by saying that he has been a teacher and coach his whole life, just in different forms. He is currently a business attorney where he helps his clients realize their dreams of owning a business or becoming an executive. Bill had many different career paths. After he graduated from Brown University, where he learned to think creatively and " to color outside the lines", he was a programmer and taught companies how to use the internet to improve their organizations. He advised our clients to "find the thing you love doing, and do it." Bill said that in the job search people may at first find a survival job. This job may not be perfect and is just to pay the bills and rent. However, that job is important because you are still learning and putting tools in your pocket for later use.