Self-Assessment and Evaluation
Deciding what type of career is right for you takes careful planning. It's important to think about your interests, values, personality, lifestyle, talents, abilities, and skills. Do you have any work or life experiences with animals? What about schooling? Does going to veterinary school on top of college intimidate you? It can be daunting. If you specialize on top of that, add another year or two of school. However, the need for education and the money to pay for graduate school shouldn't hold you back. In this chapter and the next, you'll learn more about education and financial aid options.
Working with animals takes commitment, creativity, smarts, skill, and plenty of determination. One of the best things about this field is the people in it. Ask them about the pros and cons of their profession. Most are willing to talk about the challenges they faced along the way. Talk to them. They will fuel your ambition.
Looking at your life to determine what you want to be means being truthful. “I think self-assessments and evaluations are an important consideration,” says achievement expert Doug Vermeeren, “but sometimes it is hard to do an evaluation on yourself. Make a list of things you need and then the things you are passionate about. Next, seriously take a look at jobs, and while it's not always going to be a perfect fit, be honest and look at everything.”
Can I go from docent to professional?
Having some experience and a good deal of knowledge is a great way to learn about a profession and get in on the ground floor. Sue Smith started as a docent at the Palisades Interstate Park Commission before moving to a career as research and development director. She did get her master's degree at Columbia University while she worked as a docent.