Are you currently wrestling with the gooey, frustrating question of “What do you want to do for a living?”
If so, I’m pleased to report that the U.S. Government is earnestly attempting to solve your problem through the deployment of a new website called www.mynextmove.org. Have you stumbled across this site yet in your career travels? Or spent any quality time with it?
Note, of course, that I used the word “attempting” in the above paragraph. For many years, there have been a string of occupational websites built and made available through the state and federal government, seeking to help Americans assess their skills, investigate new options, and narrow down their career goals. MyNextMove appears to be the latest incarnation of this string of sites. And while I’m not sure if the occupational data on this site is any fresher, useful, or more comprehensive than the information distributed by all of the OTHER government career sites out there — such as WorkSource or O*NET Online — at least you’ve got to give the feds credit for trying to create a more user-friendly way to help people with this challenge.
The best parts of this site? I like the uncluttered interface and “Plain English” approach to guiding people to the information that will be most useful to them. On the very first page, for example, you can navigate to some appropriate career options based on the categories of “I want to be a…” and “I’ll know it when I see it.” and “I’m not really sure.” Additionally, when you dig down into some specific job options, the site anoints each career choice with some shiny icons indicating whether a given occupation is a “green” career or has a “bright future” or whether it might be an apprenticeship-based career. And then, when you poke around and pop open the relevant pages describing any careers that strike your fancy, you’ll see a very colorful breakdown of facts, details, and information about the career in question.
The limitations of the site? As always, I’m not convinced this tool will be highly useful for most mid-career professionals, since my sense is that the underlying database (like most of them) only covers a thousand or two of the most mainstream career options — when in reality, there are an estimated 100,000 distinct career niches in the marketplace today and these roles are evolving constantly. See my earlier post here for examples of this reality. Additionally, I’m not sure most adults, with a little worldly experience under their belts, need a website like this to enlighten them that an Accountant needs to have “attention to detail” or that a Copywriter should probably have a “solid command of the English language.” Or that the career of Barber is best suited for somebody with “self-control” as an aspect of their personality. I mean, maybe it’s just me, but it seems like a fairly safe bet that somebody who can’t resist throwing their scissors, or giving people mohawks against their will, probably WOULDN’T fare very well in that particular profession.
At any rate, despite its flaws and idiosyncrasies, there’s still always the chance that a site like MyNextMove will prove useful to some of you out there who are feeling adrift in a sea of potential career choices. So if you’re in this situation, yourself, give the site a quick trial run, see what you think, and feel free to weigh in. Are tools like this useful, inspiring, and informative if you’re on the hunt for a new career? Or do the limitations of the types I mentioned above render these kinds of sites less effective for experienced professionals?