Use Your Computer to Find Your Life's Work! 
By Robert Ross 


"Work is love made visible"  
- from The Prophet,  by Kahlil Gibran 

To work with love . . . this is the path we know at some level of our being, we should be on. But phrases like love made visible as quoted above, or to work with love, are the words of a poet - poetry that was written before the age of Pentium chips and megabytes of RAM. Musings  of love nurture our souls but what about words like Pentium . . .  megabyte . . . cyberspace?  

It's difficult to grasp that something as inanimate as the computer has the potential to nurture us in ways that only a few years ago, we wouldn't have thought possible. Oh sure, with the aid of the computer we can add numbers faster and design better space ships, but can we use  the same computer to help us find our dream job, to help us fulfill ourselves, find our calling? The answer is beginning to sound like a resounding YES! The computer can be an invaluable tool in our quest to find our life's work.  

However, before we jump into this "virtual fulfillment" via the Internet, there are a couple of preliminary steps, some self exploration, some homework to be done if we hope to have a successful career/job search experience on the Internet. 

Let's assume you're ready for a job or career change. Perhaps you've recognized an inner hunger, a feeling of incompleteness, or a lack of satisfaction with what you're doing. You feel stuck, in a rut, or perhaps you're experiencing job burnout. Once the need for growth or  change is recognized, it's time to take action. 

The more we know about ourselves, the better our chances of going down the right path. We begin by gathering information about ourselves. A  number of resources are available in this quest to identify who we are, and what makes us unique.  The community colleges are an invaluable resource for career testing and career counseling. The book or CD ROM "What Color Is Your Parachute?" and its companion book "How to Create A  Picture Of Your Ideal Job Or Next Career" by Richard Nelson Bolles is highly recommended. Additionally, there is always room to include sources outside the conventional path . . . astrologers, psychics, tea leaf readers . . . if it works for you, then by all means.  

Let's assume that you've done your reading, taken tests, talked to a career counselor, dusted off some old dreams, uncovered some new ones and had glimpses of your dream job. What now? Is it time to jump on the old Net and double click your way to happiness? Ah . . . not just yet.  

The information you will have accumulated during your reading, career testing and counseling will at times seem overwhelming. Defining your skills, values, self-management skills, philosophy, salary needs, temperament etc., will have little meaning unless you can put them in some sort of order of importance. Is a high salary more important then using your favorite skills? How significant is it to work on your own or do you need to be a part of a team? Do you enjoy working indoors or outdoors, or a combination of the two? 

So, you prioritize, then prioritize and then prioritize some more. Finely, a picture begins to emerge. You may not have a job title at  this point, but you've got a list.  

The last step, before going on-line, is to come up with some job titles that you can associate with this list. This is often the most difficult phase of career planning, because it requires that you go out and talk to people, in person, on the phone or via e-mail. Talk to people who may be doing the job that interests you. You're ultimately looking for a job title, or to create a job title. 

Noooow can we go on the net? Oooookay . . . since you've done your homework and you've come up with a job title (hopefully), I'll let you have a little fun. 

Fortunately, you won't spend a lot of time or waste energy wandering from one web site to another. I went to my favorite search engine ( ) plugged in What Color Is Your Parachute? and was immediately given Dick Bolles' (author of What Color Is Your Parachute) web site ( ). The What Color Is Your Parachute Web site is literally a one-stop shopping center. You'll find links to job listings, resume posting sites, career counseling sites (which include some fascinating free personality tests), a research site  and some networking sites. Mr. Bolles has taken the time to scrutinize these sites, and personality tests, and offers some insight as to their effectiveness. In fact, if he likes a site or a personality test, he'll put a little parachute next to it.  

If for some reason the Parachute site isn't your cup of tea, try, which lists over a dozen job search engines to which you can link. The job search engines listed specialize in such things as education, medicine, and a myriad of other occupations. It also lists upcoming job fairs, and job search magazines to which you can subscribe. 

I began this column with a quote from Kahlil Gibran, "work is love made visible." It is working at a job you love that will put you on the path to finding your ultimate mission in life. The Internet may lack the poetry of Mr. Gibran, but as a resource to finding the job that you  love, it is invaluable.  

And, after all is said and done, if your heart still yearns for poetry,  you can always go to . . . you guessed it . . . The Kahlil Gibran Research and Studies project at:  www.bsos.umd.-edu/cidcm/gibran/ 

If you've discovered some real "finds" using the Internet, e-mail me at  and I'll share your tips in future columns. 

Copyright 1998 by Robert Ross, all rights reserved

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