Friday, November 19, 2010

Career Trajectories

We often speak to Co-op students about their career trajectory. Keeping in mind that the possibility for one work-term that doesn't suit a student can happen, students generally are developing their career sense, if not a definable progression, during the three or so years they're in Co-op. So, when they're finished and graduated how does this continue?

Take a research a Co-op student you would hope they get a few good stints in the lab. Perhaps they even get to explore some notions and ideas under a good mentor. Will they ever have the rapid rise in capabilities and exposure to personal development that happens in the crucible of the work-term? If they commence work in a research lab, post-graduation, will they be drinking the same amount from a fire hose or just a water fountain?

Consider a marketing student. They see four different studios and four different organizational structures, perhaps. This in the span of three years. Is that going to happen to them again...even with the shuddering thought that they will have to bounce from job to job due to economics?

Co-op is a steep learning curve for many reasons. First, you have to learn to know yourself and sell this notion on paper. Then, you have to adjust and perform in a new working and learning world for four months and return to apply that new knowledge in class. That point isn't really expected in the conventional working world...but maybe it should the sense of sharing knowledge with your team.

Have any of us thought about the rapid adjustment and the need to internalize the change that goes on in the person of a Co-op student...likely not from the vantage point of our rather more shallow, later in the career, learning curves.

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