“Moves Her Dream Along” With the Help of LWPC
Elizabeth is a Social Worker employed by Minnesota Valley Action Council in Sibley County and she loves her work. Her career path took some quirks and turns along the way and she is happy to be working in a field that is a good fit for her. When Elizabeth was a teenager growing up in the Twin Cities, she knew that she would go to college. Her parents had always designated her as the one (of their children) who would get a college education. Her father thought that she would make a good accountant and so when Elizabeth began her college career at MSU in Mankato she started with an accounting major.
As time went on she realized that she was only getting average grades in accounting and that she didn’t want to be average; she wanted to love her classes and get good grades. There was a career planning class offered and she decided to take it. Taking the class led her to change her major to Interior Design. She enjoyed the classes, did well in them, and switched her minor to Business to make use of the classes she had already taken. Upon graduation she worked as an Interior Decorator selling furniture and then later as manager in a design shop.
All went well for about fifteen years and Elizabeth was still working in the field combining both designing and management. However, she was noticing the economy and feeling the instability of her occupation. She also felt that “she was not doing all that she was meant to do and that there must be something more out there for her.” It was at this time that she saw a listing in the New Ulm Community Ed bulletin for “Moving Your Dream Along,” a ten-week workshop put on by Life-Work Planning Center (LWPC).
The class intrigued her; she thought that it might be something that would help with the uncertainty she was feeling. Elizabeth had always enjoyed learning and taking classes and knew that she was unable to figure out by herself how to get “unstuck.” There were four other women in the group and Elizabeth remembers that although they all came with different backgrounds, they bonded very well.
Everyone was supportive, cheering each other on as they made headway. After the series was over, the women still met on their own from time to time to offer support for each other. Elizabeth completed the workshop with the realization that she really wanted a job helping people. She began applying for jobs. Her college degree wasn’t getting her hired for anything that she felt would be meaningful. She was frustrated with the difficulty in finding work and came back to LWPC and enrolled in the Personal Growth and Career Development workshop, feeling that she needed a boost to her self-confidence.
She continued to feel a strong pull towards studying Social Work but was not quite ready to make the step. It was at this time that her feelings of job insecurity became real and her job in design was eliminated. Because of the downsizing she was now eligible for help through the Dislocated Workers Program, making it possible to go back to college. The classes were tough and she had to study hard. Her family was supportive and Elizabeth feels that it was very good for her sons to see how hard she had to work to get good grades and make her dream come true.
She is happy that she had the chance to model good study habits for them and feels that it was, in fact, a real benefit for her family. All the decisions leading to her career change were Elizabeth’s alone; she just needed the process presented in the two workshop series to help her work though her transition and “move her dream along.”
– Christine Olson, Peer Counselor