What’s Your Story – Barnard

By A-J Aronstein

Everyone’s career tells a story. Of ambition and confusion; of success and failure; of geographic preferences and life-changing relationships; of red herrings and account managers named Gary that clip their nails at their desk; of scary decisions related to money and power. Of happiness and its opposite.

As a career advisor and Dean of Beyond Barnard — the College’s center for integrated career support — my job relies on an ability to help people tell different versions of their story to potential employers, to their families and friends, and very often to themselves. Ironically, it’s the part of the work that people least expect to do when they first sign up for an hour’s worth of advising. But getting to know those stories, and having a role to play at consequential plot points, constitutes the privilege and fun that makes the job worth doing. Individuals often don’t see their career as a cohesive narrative. Instead, they describe a series of jobs, suggesting that they have stumbled through a tangle of decisions made on the basis of sundry inputs (economic, intellectual, idealistic, familial, romantic, and lots of others).

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By Crystal Du
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