Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that this April will mark two years since I moved to Flagstaff to lead NAU Career Development at University College. It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of fun! The team has been through a name change, a few staff changes, six career and job fairs, and so much more. Recently, our team met to revisit our mission. We made a few subtle wording changes that I am really excited about, affirming our commitment To empower students and alumni to confidently navigate their careers as citizens of an evolving and global world.

So what does this mean? I’d like to start with the word EMPOWER. At NAU, we believe that you are ultimately in charge of your career. We will give you tools, guidance, and support along the way, but ultimately each student must determine the path that their career will take. Career decisions can be scary, no matter how long you’ve been in the workforce. However, our hope is that each of you can proceed with CONFIDENCE, knowing that if you are true to your values, strengths, and interests, any career decision that you make will be an important part of your career journey.

Which brings me to the word EVOLVING (going a little out of order). Contrary to many myths, no one’s career is a straight line. The old concept of the “career ladder” has been replaced by the far more realistic “career lattice.” Gone are the days when most people stay in one career, within one organization, for their entire lives. Careers today may involve many jobs, and lifetimes may involve multiple careers. We will each move up, but we may also move laterally or down. Some us may step out of the paid workforce for a period of time to be with our families, or to experience new things. At times we will “lean in,” and at others we will “lean out.” Many of us will be working later in life than our parents or grandparents. Some of us will work from an office, some from our homes, some from exotic locations, and everything in between. Jobs that we think of as “stable” today will cease to exist, while jobs that we haven’t even dreamed off will become a reality.

As if this wasn’t exciting enough, we are living in an increasing GLOBAL world. Boundaries between nations are far more fluid than they’ve ever been, and we are fortunate that within our own country we are blessed with a diversity of people, cultures, climates, ideas, and so much more. We deliberately chose the word CITIZENS, because at NAU, we hope that our students will not only to think of themselves as individuals, but will recognize and appreciate their place in our complex universe.

So what does all of this mean? The most successful individuals, and more importantly, the happiest ones, will be able to NAVIGATE the path in rain or shine, (or snow!), when it’s smooth and predictable as well as when it becomes bumpy. Wishing you a Happy New Year as you navigate the path forward!

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