Pursuing a Non-Traditional Career: The Joys and Challenges
Name: Geneviève Beaupré
Organization: George Brown College (Toronto, ON)
Summary: My idea is to create a website with a searchable database of stories (positive and negative) of people working in non-traditional careers (e.g., women in engineering or trades, men in counselling or fashion design). Stories would include benefits of having chosen a non-traditional path, the barriers and challenges faced and how they overcame them, as well as tips and advice.
Project Description: The website would invite submissions in the form of a questionnaire to make the stories searchable by gender, occupation, or industry. The identity of the writers would be kept confidential.
The website would benefit career explorers of all ages and those who help them, such as parents, teachers, and career counsellors. It would also assist newcomers considering a career change and provide a useful tool to help elementary and high school students explore careers that are not typically associated with their gender.
Stories would need to be vetted for completeness and appropriateness by a career organization or grouping of career professionals (i.e., professional association). The gathering of stories would be ongoing and the database would grow over time. Initial stories would be solicited by approaching professional associations, HR managers, and clients of career counsellors. Social media would also provide an avenue for sharing and gathering stories.
Perceived Impact: These stories may inspire career explorers and give them permission to pursue work that they may have otherwise written off. They may also help shape future generations by breaking down some of the stereotypes surrounding careers. This project also has the potential to educate the general population and counsellors who may have consciously or unconsciously steered clients away from certain careers because of their own personal biases. Understanding the challenges can help career counsellors focus on preparing their clients to face barriers rather than simply avoiding or running away from them.