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Taking Charge Your Education, Your Career, Your Life

Karen Mitchell Smith


Š 2008 TSTC Publishing ISBN 978-1-934302-30-9 All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or any portion thereof in any form. Requests for such permissions should be addressed to: TSTC Publishing Texas State Technical College Waco 3801 Campus Drive Waco, Texas 76705 http://publishing.tstc.edu/ Publisher: Mark Long Project manager: Grace Arsiaga Printing production: Bill Evridge Cover design: Callie Trueblood

Manufactured in the United States of America First edition


In memory of my parents, who believed in my writing and taught me that education was the key to achieving my dreams. Gail Mitchell 1924-2008 Kathryn Mitchell 1926-2007


Acknowledgements I’d like to thank the many people who have contributed to the formation of this book: Mark Long, my publisher; Todd Glasscock, who edited it; Katelyn Foster, Rachel Baldwin, Jennifer Bui and Whitney Farr, the Baylor editorial interns who helped with research; Callie Trueblood, the TSTC graphics intern who designed the cover; and Grace Arsiaga who designed the interior. I so appreciate all of your help. I’d also like to thank my family for their patience and understanding during my long hours at the computer. Karen Mitchell Smith


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Table of Contents Chapter One – Charting Your Future...........................................................................................1 I. Personal Goals—Success Starts with You..................................................................... 2 II. Educational Goals—The Path to Your Future................................................................ 4 III. Professional Goals—Achieving Your Dreams.............................................................. 6 TSTC Success Story: Elton Stuckly, Jr............................................................................ 10 Chapter Exercises........................................................................................................... 12 Additional Resources....................................................................................................... 13 Chapter Two – Taking Control................................................................................................... 15 I. Personal Time Management......................................................................................... 15 II. Educational Time Management................................................................................... 18 III. Professional Time Management................................................................................. 20 TSTC Success Story: Dave Thomas............................................................................... 23 Chapter Exercises........................................................................................................... 25 Additional Resources....................................................................................................... 26 Chapter Three – Handling Your Money Wisely........................................................................ 29 I. Financing Your Life....................................................................................................... 29 II. Financing Your Education............................................................................................ 38 III. Professional Financial Management.......................................................................... 40 TSTC Success Story: Glen Milam................................................................................... 45 Chapter Exercises........................................................................................................... 47 Additional Resources....................................................................................................... 48 Chapter Four – Better Safe Than Sorry.................................................................................... 59 I. Guarding Your Health................................................................................................... 59 II. Play It Safe At School.................................................................................................. 63 III. On the Job Safety....................................................................................................... 66 TSTC Success Story: Sean Buth.................................................................................... 70 Chapter Exercises........................................................................................................... 71 Additional Resources....................................................................................................... 73


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TAKING CHARGE: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life

Chapter Five – Critical Thinking............................................................................................... 75 I. Thinking Critically in Your Personal Life....................................................................... 75 II.Critical Thinking in Education....................................................................................... 83 III. Critical Thinking for Your Career................................................................................. 86 TSTC Success Story: Randy Wooten............................................................................. 90 Chapter Exercises........................................................................................................... 92 Additional Resources....................................................................................................... 93 Chapter Six – Research............................................................................................................. 95 I. Research In Your Personal Life.................................................................................... 95 II. Research in Your Educational Career......................................................................... 99 III. Research in Your Professional Career..................................................................... 102 TSTC Success Story: Linda Shaw................................................................................ 106 Chapter Exercises......................................................................................................... 107 Additional Resources..................................................................................................... 108 Chapter Seven – Organizing Your Records & Documentation............................................ 111 I. Personal Record Keeping........................................................................................... 111 II. Educational Success Through Effective Documentation........................................... 118 III. Getting It “Write” in Your Professional Life................................................................ 122 TSTC Success Story: Kelly Spencer............................................................................. 127 Chapter Exercises......................................................................................................... 129 Additional Resources..................................................................................................... 130 Chapter Eight – “May I Have Your Attention Please . . . This is a Test!”............................. 133 I. Making the Grade in Your Personal Life..................................................................... 133 II. Making the Grade in Your Educational Life............................................................... 138 III. Making the Grade in Your Professional Life............................................................. 141 TSTC Success Story: Larry Davis................................................................................. 145 Chapter Exercises......................................................................................................... 147 Additional Resources..................................................................................................... 148 Chapter Nine – What Are You Talking About?....................................................................... 151 I. Everyday Personal Communication........................................................................... 151 II. Better Communication for Educational Success ...................................................... 156


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III. Interpersonal Communication on the Job . .............................................................. 160 TSTC Success Story: Mike Reeser............................................................................... 165 Chapter Exercises......................................................................................................... 167 Additional Resources..................................................................................................... 168 Chapter Ten – Writing It Down................................................................................................ 169 I. Using Written Communication for Personal Purposes............................................... 169 II. Writing Your Way to Success in College.................................................................... 173 III. Writing on the Job..................................................................................................... 180 TSTC Success Story: Jan Osburn................................................................................. 186 Chapter Exercises......................................................................................................... 187 Additional Resources..................................................................................................... 188 Chapter Eleven – Diversity, Tolerance and Respect............................................................. 191 I. Appreciating Diversity and Practicing Tolerance in Your Personal Life....................... 191 II. Diversity on Campus................................................................................................. 193 III. The Diverse, Non-hostile Workplace........................................................................ 196 TSTC Success Story: Rene Herbin............................................................................... 202 Chapter Exercises......................................................................................................... 203 Additional Resources..................................................................................................... 204 Chapter Twelve – Looking Back.............................................................................................. 205 I. Personal Skills............................................................................................................ 205 II. Educational Skills...................................................................................................... 210 III. Professional Skills.................................................................................................... 215 TSTC Success Story: Dr. Gilbert Leal........................................................................... 221 Chapter Exercises......................................................................................................... 223 About TSTC Publishing........................................................................................................... 225


TAKING CHARGE: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life



Chapter One: Charting Your Future You are about to begin a journey. A journey that, if handled well, can take you to a place of happiness, fulfillment and success. You may just be coming out of high school, full of hope and excitement for your future. Or perhaps you’ve been out of school for a while, have tried a few jobs that didn’t work out for you, and you’re nervous about getting back into the study discipline. Whatever your situation, you’ve made a life-altering decision to put your feet on the road to your future. So, how will you get to your future? What challenges will you encounter along the way? Have you charted your route, or are you just striking out to see where life takes you? The fourth century philosopher, Seneca, said, “Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” The famous baseball player and coach, Yogi Berra, put it more simply when he said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” What sets highly effective, successful people apart from those who float from job to job or relationship to relationship, without ever really feeling satisfied and fulfilled? Goals. Setting, reviewing and attaining goals keeps a person focused as he or she makes the journey through life. Consider for a moment a piece of driftwood on the ocean tide. It bounces here and there with each wave. It has no direction, no will of its own and no way of controlling its destination. Now think about a sailboat on the same ocean. Why isn’t it bouncing around in the same way as the driftwood? Because it has a rudder. Someone is directing that rudder with purpose, using the boat to head in a predetermined direction to a specific harbor. If that were not the case, the sailboat could easily run aground or end up in unsafe or even uncharted waters. College will offer many choices for you, like which major to choose and what courses to select. There will be times when you must decide between having fun and taking care of business. You will be asked to choose your priorities and, in the end, if you have made wise decisions, you’ll hopefully have several job opportunities from which to choose. The goals you set now, before beginning the journey, will be the rudder that directs you as you sail toward your chosen harbor. As you grow and develop along the way, your priorities and desires may change, so you will have to check the wind and reset your course from time to time. But if you have made a basic map to follow, you can always go back to it and compare where you are now to where you want to be. This chapter will help you set goals in three areas of your life: personal, educational and professional. As you read the chapter, keep in mind the reasons you are in college. Think about the steps you had to complete to get here, and consider what it will take to complete this part of your journey. Give some thought, also, to your passions, what drives you in life and what you want to achieve. At the end of the chapter, you will have the opportunity to write out your goals and a statement of purpose. Even after completing this course, as each new semester begins, review your goals to check whether you are still on course and if you might need to make some changes to your original goals.




Chapter One: Charting Your Future

Before You Begin As you work through this book, you will keep a journal, a ship’s log of sorts, so that you can watch your own progress as you move toward the harbor you’ve chosen. Each chapter will end with exercises, some to be kept privately in your journal, some to be shared with others. Your journal needs to have four sections: Personal, Educational, Professional and Vision. You are encouraged to review your journal as you move through this semester, checking periodically to see whether you are on track to meet your goals and dreams. Place several plastic sleeves that can hold photos in the Vision section. At the end of each chapter, you will find various exercises that will require you to use your journal.

I. Personal Goals—Success Starts with You If someone asked you how much money you hope to be making 10 years from now, would you have an answer? Do you know what type of home you’d like to live in or which make of car you want to drive? A good rule of thumb to remember is “if you can’t see it, you can’t achieve it.” In other words, you need to be able to visualize success if you want to achieve success. Coaches have athletes practice all week for the big game, but they don’t tell them to imagine sitting on the bench, their heads hanging down after the devastating loss to come. Instead, they have their athletes visualize what the win will feel like and what the crowd will sound like at the final buzzer. Now, at the beginning of your first semester, is a good time to put a specific name to your goals. Many students say things like, “I want to be happy,” or “I want to make good money.” But when asked, those same students can’t say what being happy means or how much money is good money. Stating a goal in a specific manner, like, “I want to make $40,000 a year by the second year I’m out of school,” puts a tangible measurement on your goal so you will know when you have achieved it. In fact, assuming you are choosing a career in which $40,000 a year is realistic, by stating the goal in the above way you are using the acronym most often employed by life coaches and personal success trainers:

SM A RT Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timed • Specific Using the acronym SMART helps you to make goals in a way that increases your chances of reaching them. Instead of saying, “I want to live in a big house someday with a nice family,” try saying, “I want to live in a two-story, fourbedroom house with my spouse and two children by the time I’m 35.” You can visualize this goal, and when you have a specific goal that you visualize on a regular basis, it becomes a part of who you are. Professional life and career coaches call this technique vision casting. To make this goal even more specific, put a picture of one similar to the style you like in the Vision section of your journal. If you’ve got a specific car in mind that you’d like to own, add a picture of it. Perhaps you dream of a Hawaiian vacation—put a photo of Hawaii in your


TAKING CHARGE: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life



book. There will be times when school is difficult, and you may question your decision to attend. When that time comes, pull out your journal, and remind yourself of where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. • Measurable Making your goals measurable means that you have certain steps associated with achieving your goal. It helps you to see each piece of your accomplishment individually. In the example of the two-story house above, you would be able to measure your success the day you move into the house. Another example of a measurable personal goal might be losing weight. If you have a total of 25 pounds to lose, you should make milestones at every five pounds, allowing yourself to celebrate with a favorite food, or reward yourself with a purchase or a night out. Some people set relationship goals or take steps to conquer bad habits. Whatever you choose to work on, breaking the goal into measurable units will build your confidence as you achieve each level. The more steps you conquer, the more likely it is that you will tackle other difficult projects with confidence. • Attainable and Realistic Making personal goals attainable and realistic will also add to your selfconfidence. Planning to lose 25 pounds might be attainable, but expecting to do it in a month is not realistic. Students who set unrealistic or unattainable goals set themselves up for disappointment. Always evaluate your goals to make sure they are realistic for you. The attainable and realistic part of the SMART acronym go hand-in-hand, so be sure to check out both halves when you set your goals. • Timed Stating your goals with a specific time line in mind keeps you focused as you move toward your desired results. One of the biggest reasons New Year’s resolutions seldom succeed is the lack of a time-specific boundary. If you state that you want to kick a bad habit, but you don’t put a time limit on accomplishing it, your goal lacks accountability.

Putting It Together To make sure your goals meet all the SMART criteria, write them down and check each against the acronym. If all the pieces aren’t there, restate the goal. Once you have lined out your personal goals, you are ready to move on to the educational ones.




Chapter One: Charting Your Future

II. Educational Goals—The Path to Your Future By this time, you probably have given some very serious thought to the reasons you want a college education. If you’re here because it seems the “right thing to do” or because your friends are doing it, you may become disillusioned. The most successful college students can clearly articulate their reasons for choosing their path, and they have set specific goals that help them stay on track when class demands become difficult. On average, college students need to spend two hours outside of class on homework, projects and reading assignments for every hour of in-class time. If you have a 15hour semester, that means you’ll be spending about 30 hours per week studying and doing homework. While high school rewards efforts, college rewards only results. To many students this comes as a shock. Being able to clearly state why you are in college and what you want to accomplish during the time you are here will help motivate you and keep you on track. A statement of purpose, written at the beginning of your freshman year, will give you something tangible to look at and think about when you feel tempted to give up or slack off. Make your statement specific and be sure to include the result you are working toward. For example, “I will complete an associate degree in aviation maintenance technology within 24 months because I want to get a job as an A.M. tech working at DFW Airport” makes a much stronger statement than “I want an education so I can get a good job.” When classes become hard and teachers make difficult demands on you, a statement of purpose helps you take hold of your rudder and steer yourself to the harbor. Of course, your rudder, as you may recall from earlier in this chapter, is goal setting. For educational goals, the SMART acronym still applies, but because education involves more difficult challenges, you may find you need help in planning. The “Three Ps” can keep you on track: Plan, Prioritize, Persevere. • Plan Education is a marathon, not a sprint. While each semester lasts only a few months, the entire process can take several years, depending on the degree you seek. Students who look at each class individually without checking the big picture may waste time and money on unnecessary classes. Check your college catalog to identify which courses you need, then discuss the order in which you should take them with your academic advisor. Once you have formed the basis for your coursework in the upcoming semesters, look at your personal life to see how it fits. Take into consideration time challenges such as jobs, family obligations, social life and study time. (Remember: two hours of studying per one hour in class.) If you already have family obligations, such as a spouse and/or children, which require you to work full time, you may need to consider taking fewer semester hours. Keep your


TAKING CHARGE: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life



academic advisor in the loop; it’s the advisor’s job to help you adjust to college life and make decisions that set you up for success. • Prioritize Even though you’ve made a solid plan for your education, you will find that many distractions arise during your college years. Everyone wants to have a great time at college, and you should enjoy these years, but finding a balance between study time and your social life is imperative to success. If you have the willpower to choose studying for a test or completing a project by its due date over that great concert you want to attend, then you are well on your way to college success. Many times, the distractions college students face are much more serious than simply the temptation to have fun instead of studying. Married students often struggle to balance classes, study time, work and family. If you are married, be sure to include your spouse in your educational decisions. Communicate your plans and hopes openly, and keep your spouse abreast of any changes you make in your schedule. It helps to remember that the job you hold now will most likely not help you achieve your dreams. In fact, you have probably chosen to attend college so that you can get out of that job and have the career you really want. Go back and look at the personal goals you set. Pull out your journal and look at the pictures you placed in the Vision section. Remind yourself of why you want the career you are majoring in. Achieving great successes in life often involves temporary sacrifices. Have a conversation with yourself. Say, “These sacrifices are getting me where I want to be in the long run.” The rewards you and your family will reap when you settle into a profitable and enjoyable career far outweigh the sacrifices you have to make now. • Persevere When the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez landed in the New World in 1519, he gave the order to burn his ships to the waterline. Imagine how his men must have felt. No retreat. No way to go home. Cortez made a statement of total commitment to his mission in the strongest way possible. No matter what obstacles he would face, he planned to persevere. When you think about the future you have planned for yourself, what parts of it do you want so badly that you would burn your ships to the waterline? It is easy to talk big and make exciting plans, but when the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months of studying, doing homework and going to class daily, are you truly ready to make the kind of commitment it takes to graduate college? With dropout rates over 50 percent and rising, now is the time to make a commitment to complete your studies—no matter the odds. You’ve probably heard the old sayings, “Winning is 90 percent mental,” and “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Your mindset, your determination to be successful in college, must be established at the outset. If you’ve already won the




Chapter One: Charting Your Future battle in your mind, persevering when the road is long and rough won’t be an issue.

III. Professional Goals—Achieving Your Dreams With two or more years of education ahead of you, it may seem early to discuss professional goals, but actually, it’s the perfect time. If you were putting together a jigsaw puzzle, you would keep the box in front of you, referring to the final picture as you laid out the edges, or framework. Then you would begin to fill in toward the middle, until the picture matched the one on the box. Consider the journey you are on now to be like that jigsaw puzzle. You have set your personal goals that include hopes and dreams for the future. You have set educational goals and priorities, and you’ve charted how you will get from the first day of class to graduation. All of those pieces join, contributing to the finished picture on the puzzle box of your life. However, there are still some pieces missing. Most likely, you already have an idea of the job you would like after graduation. That’s why you’ve chosen the major you have. The question becomes, “Where do you want that career to take you?” Perhaps you have dreams of a management position someday. Setting professional goals now can help ensure that you don’t end up stagnated, unable to move any higher on the pay scale. If you haven’t already done so, start by thoroughly researching the career you are interested in. Find out how much money you can expect to make starting out, as well as further down the road when you have more experience. Visit www.salary.com to find out how much people in your career earn in various cities. Next, discover whether your career offers opportunities for advancement. Will you need higher educational degrees to attain the position you eventually desire? Are renewed certificates or continuing education classes required? The government Web site www.bls.gov can help you with this research. Click on the Occupational Outlook Handbook to search your career. Another way to find out this information is to contact the companies you might enjoy working for. Ask to job shadow someone in the position you desire. Job shadowing is an excellent way to discover what a career is really like, and most companies are happy to show potential employees around. Maybe you did much of this research before you started college, and if so, congratulations on your wise planning. Unfortunately, the truth is that many students randomly choose a career field, maybe because it sounds prestigious, or they think people in that field make good money. There are those nebulous phrases again—“good money” and “prestigious position.” Choosing a career should not be like throwing darts at a globe to find a random vacation spot you’d like to visit someday. You want to make certain that the path you have chosen leads to the results you desire. Once you have verified the potential of your career, it’s time to set goals. As you do, refer to the SMART acronym.


TAKING CHARGE: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life



• Specific Visualize yourself working in your chosen field. What are you wearing? What kind of tools do you have and what kind of work are you doing? If possible, add to your Vision journal by including magazine photos of people performing the work you want to do. The more specialized you can make your journal, the more it will become the big picture on your puzzle box. If you simply walk into your career with no specific goals in mind, you will end up wherever it takes you. Do you remember the driftwood from earlier in the chapter? It floats at the will of the ocean tide, whereas the controlled sailboat moves toward a predetermined destination. You get to choose whether you want to be driftwood in your career, or whether you want to control the sailboat’s rudder. • Measurable If you decide to control the rudder, be sure to set your goals in measurable units. “I want to enter a management training program by my third year in the automotive field.” Being able to measure the incremental successes in your career builds job satisfaction and self-confidence. Remember that you may have to adjust your goals as you move through life. If you find yourself in a job that does not advance employees the way you had first believed, it doesn’t mean you have failed. Some things will always be out of your control. Focus on the factors you can control and evaluate the other aspects to see whether you are willing to live with the situation or if you need to change directions. • Attainable and Realistic Next, you want to make sure your professional goals are both attainable and realistic. As stated earlier, these two work hand-in-hand. Making $50,000 a year as a starting salary is completely attainable, but is it realistic for the career you have chosen? While you need to set goals that stretch you, unrealistic expectations will only bring disappointment. If the median starting salary for your career is $40,000, that means some people start above and some people start below that mark. Would graduating with a higher GPA move you into the upper starting-salary range for your career? If so, you have a new goal to work toward. Poet Robert Browning said, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” In other words, you should always strive for greater accomplishments. If you set your achievement bar low, expect low results. Reaching for higher standards will challenge and stimulate you. Still, take a moment for a reality check so that you do not waste time working toward something that isn’t possible for your particular career. Then, if you still want those results, see what other options you have for attaining them. Remember, changing course does not indicate failure. Goals should be flexible and transient so you control them, not the other way around.




Chapter One: Charting Your Future • Timed Consider whether the career you are choosing offers opportunities for advancement. If so, set a tentative time line for reaching the various levels you would like to achieve. For example, “In two years, I would like to enter middle management.” Or, “Within six years, I hope to manage a design team.” When you actually enter your career, you will probably need to adjust your time goals, based on the reality of your actual position and the company you work for. However, having a promotion time line in mind from the outset will keep your forward momentum going.

Steering the Ship to Safe Harbor Former President Ronald Reagan once said, “My philosophy of life is that if we make up our minds what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose — somehow we win out.” The wonderful thing about your future is that it is yours. No matter how much your friends and family love you, they cannot plan your future. You have been given the wonderful gift of opportunity as you stand at the threshold of a new career. What you make of it, or don’t make of it, will be entirely up to you. If you make up your mind now that you will succeed, and if you set the goals to get you there, at the end of this short educational journey, the career you have desired will be waiting. And if you continue with the goal-setting discipline in your career, the life you have desired can be yours, too. Now that you know how to make a chart to the future you want, let’s take a few moments to review. As you set your expectations, remember to check them against the SMART rule. The “Three Ps” —plan, prioritize, and persevere—will keep you focused when distractions tempt you. Finally, be sure to perform your due diligence, as it is called in the business world. This means research your career. Know the facts—what does the career pay, what education is required, are there opportunities for advancement and so on. By going through every step in this chapter, you will find the big picture on your puzzle box comes to life as you succeed in completing each increment. Keep your journal close at hand, so you can refer to it when school becomes more challenging than you had expected, or you feel the temptation to quit. Look at the pictures of the life you want to have and remind yourself that the temporary sacrifices you make now are the stepping-stones that lead to your chosen future.

One Final Thought Beware of dream stealers. You may not have realized it yet, but everyone has dream stealers in their lives. Sometimes they come disguised as people who truly love you and want only the best for you, but who are afraid to see you try and possibly fail. People who say negative things about your goals and plans are dream stealers. “Why would you want to major in mechanical engineering technology? You’ve never been strong in math; it will be too hard for you.” “None of your brothers or sisters finished college, what makes you think you can?” Someone who hopes to spare you disappointment might make a statement like one of these with the best of intentions, but if you believe the things others say about you, rather


TAKING CHARGE: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life



than believing what you say about yourself, you will be really disappointed. Life coaches commonly tell their clients to make goals public, so friends and family can hold them accountable. You should share many of your goals and dreams with those who care about you, but consider that some goals should be kept private. Our well-meaning loved ones can unknowingly plant negative seeds in our minds. When allowed to take root and grow, those negative thought-seeds become negative actions that we unconsciously allow to sabotage our potential accomplishments. Other dream stealers can come in the way of distractions and poor time management, which will be discussed in the next chapter. Writing a statement of purpose, along with strongly defined goals, will give you strength to keep to the course when the circumstances around you attempt to pull you away. As you face the future you will craft during your college days, remember the words of the poet Langston Hughes, “Hold fast to dreams. For if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.�


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Chapter One: Charting Your Future

TSTC Success Story

Elton Stuckly, Jr., President, Texas State Technical College Waco Setting goals for the future has gotten the most successful people to the places that they are today. Elton Stuckly, Jr., president of Texas State Technical College Waco, is one of those people. Stuckly graduated from TSTC in 1975 with an associate degree in electrical power technology. Throughout his career he also has continued his education. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Texas at Tyler, and he currently is enrolled at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, pursuing a doctorate in education. Stuckly grew up on a farm with little guidance toward the path of the professional world. Still, he knew that a degree would give him a chance at employment and money and to one day manage a top-notch job. “Work and education are critical,” he said. “It expands horizons and provides opportunities to meet new people. Education is important.” He also believes that hard work is the key to achieving desired goals. “What you put into it is what you get out of it,” Stuckly said. “If you don’t get out and gain experience by working hard, it will not equal success. You have to work at everything.” Stuckly knows firsthand what it means to work hard. He worked in electrical design for five years and electrical maintenance and repair for seven years. Before he became president of TSTC, he was interim president three times. While at TSTC, he also taught, served as department chair, served as technical cluster director, and held the office of Vice President for Student Learning. Although his new career path is far different from his previous line of work, he thinks it’s a great fit for him. “I thought it would be a nice change and an opportunity to give back, because so much was given to me here at TSTC,” he said. In addition to hard work, Stuckly believes that planning for the future and setting goals is key to attaining success. He writes down his own personal and professional goals as well as goals he has made for employees and team members. He sets timelines to keep track of progress and to remind him what he wants to accomplish. “If you don’t plan and set goals and make timelines, it’s really easy to let time slip by,” he said. “By writing and documenting goals, it’s a constant reminder of what needs to be done.”


TAKING CHARGE: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life

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While Stuckly attended TSTC, his goal was to gain a skill set to be able to make a living to support a family. Currently, his goal is to graduate with his doctorate before reaching the age of 55. Stuckly loves his job as president here at TSTC because he gets to visit with employees and meet people all over Texas. He says being with people is enjoyable. He also enjoys the challenge of the job. With the challenges he faces, it is vital for him to plan, prioritize and persevere. The budget, for instance, presents a constant challenge at TSTC, he said. The budget has a master strategic plan and each department has its own two-year plan. Stuckly said it would be impossible to meet the budget goals without planning out the needs and ambitions of the school in the future. Besides hard work and setting goals, there is one other thing that Stuckly believes is important to achieving success. He said you must remember where you come from. You must respect coworkers, and listen and work as a team, because then you will have everything needed to make decisions. “There are two things you have to know,” he said. “The higher up you go, the more work you will have, and you are only as good as the people you work with.” Profile by Katelyn Foster


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Chapter One: Charting Your Future

Exercises 1) Review the SMART acronym in the personal goal section. Think about where your personal life is now, compared to where you want it to be. What things do you need to change or refocus? Be honest with yourself. After a thorough selfevaluation, write out three to five personal goals in your journal. Be sure each one fits every part of the SMART acronym. Choose one personal goal that you can share aloud in class. 2) Set up the Vision section of your journal, as described in the personal goals section of this chapter. Using photographs or magazine pictures, put representations of the things you want to own, the places you want to go and the things you want to achieve in the book. Be sure to have extra sleeves, as you will add to this book throughout the semester, and perhaps on your own afterwards. 3) Class discussion: What are dream stealers? How can you be on guard for them? Role-play a dream-stealing scene with a partner. 4) Scene suggestion: You are telling your parents (or spouse if applicable) what you plan to major in. Your parent (or spouse) does not see this as a good fit for you and wants you to be a lawyer instead because you argue so well. Articulate clearly to your dream stealer why you have chosen this field and why you will be successful. Refer to your goals or vision book for reinforcement. 5) In the educational section of your journal, write out a statement of purpose for your college plan. Include what you are majoring in and why, what obstacles you may encounter and how you will overcome them, and what you want to achieve with your education. Your statement may be several bulleted points or even a paragraph. 6) Call a company that has the type of career you are interested in pursuing. Ask to job shadow a person who works in your specific area. Keep notes throughout your job shadow day, paying special attention to duties you like and don’t like. Ask the employee about advancement opportunities, typical pay scale and educational requirements. Write a brief summary of your experience in the professional section of your journal. Plan to share this with the instructor or the class, depending on the instructor’s choice.


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Additional Resources Web sites

Salary.com

http://www.salary.com Focusing on the areas of personal, small business and enterprise, Salary.com offers the tools and resources that consumers need to improve their lives and careers to secure their future.

U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics provides up-to-date, accurate and impartial statistical data about the social and ever-changing economic conditions of the nation.

Mind Tools

http://www.mindtools.com Mind Tools offers training and resources in the skills that are essential for an excellent career. Articles, books and other products are available to help improve important skills such as time management, communication skills and decision making.

University Placement Program

http://www.uppcolleges.com/html/english/universityplanning/goals.html University Placement Program is a network of universities in the United States targeted toward helping international students find information about studying abroad in the United States, setting their educational goals and applying to a university. Books The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Stephen R. Covey. 15th edition. Free Press: 2004.


TAKING CHARGE: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life

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TSTC Publishing Established in 2004, TSTC Publishing is a provider of high-end technical instructional materials and related information to institutions of higher education and private industry. “High end� refers simultaneously to the information delivered, the various delivery formats of that information, and the marketing of materials produced. More information about the products and services offered by TSTC Publishing may be found at its Web site: http://publishing.tstc.edu/.


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Table of contents, sample chapter, and other materials from Taking Charge: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life. This is from the Texas St...

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