I know…First Generation Professional is a mouth full.
For those of you reading this blog for the first time and who have never heard of a First Gen Professional, let me start out by saying that it’s a term that I coined for myself over this past summer (2009), while completing a career development facilitation (CDF) training.
While conducting research for my independent study for that training, I began to identify more deeply with being a first generation college student.
Reconnecting with that aspect of my experience helped me acknowledge an even more profound journey that I have been navigating for the past 10 years: the path of a first generation professional.
Not only was I the first in my family to attend college and earn an undergraduate degree, I also was the first in my family to work in a “professional” field and to earn a significantly higher income.
I noticed how many of my family members could not really wrap their minds around the type of business and IT consulting work that I was doing and how my life seemed somehow glamorous and adventurous to them. Until my first hand experience of working weekends and sometimes until 11:00 p.m. at night made a certain reality apparent to me, I also held naive visions of freedom and excitement that were born out of inexperience and lack of exposure to certain professional fields.
I assumed that I would be able to navigate my career path more skillfully than I have. I excelled in my educational studies and expected my diligence and success in academia to translate to success in the work world. Many would say that I have been successful. However, by my own standard, I feel like I have been bumbling around with no clear path for some time.
What I did not realize, until now, is that I was charting new professional territory for myself and my family. Like many students, I did not leave college with the skills to understand and respond to my changing career needs. I am also not sure that anyone was prepared to help guide me through the transition of developing my professional self and creating a vision for my long-term career path. My circumstances have compelled me to figure out how to facilitate more mindful and easeful career transitions for others and myself.
My professional experience over the past 10 years in diverse industries and my study of transpersonal psychology (integrating spiritual wisdom and psychological theory and methods) affords me a distinct perspective that allows me to offer holistic guidance and insight to students and new graduates embarking on a professional work journey as well as to longer-term professionals, who have also found themselves on a very winding career path.
My intention is to…
- Provide resources to promote the development of a coherent professional self
- Help cultivate skillful career transitions
- Encourage a felt sense of meaning through work
- Have fun and enjoy myself, while building supportive and collaborative relationships with others committed to developing a compelling professional vision for their lives.
I very much welcome comments, feedback, and continued conversation about this area of human development.
Latoya J. Williams, MA, CDF