Recently, I came across an unusual source for sage career advice: Dr. Seuss. Experts everywhere are serving up the latest secret to success – in bookstores, on television and, of course, on social feeds. So, it was surprising that the author of “Oh the Places You’ll Go” had such a fresh perspective.
If you haven’t read this illustrated children’s book, it’s a rhyming, wonderfully wise story written in the second person that takes the reader on a journey about uncertain futures, dropping hints on how to seize new opportunities, keep an open mind and try new things.
I am working with the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN), whose mandate is to position the province of Ontario as a world-leading automotive player. One of its latest initiatives is to promote sustainable careers in the electric vehicle industry. Rather than trotting out another set of tired tips to help you go places with your career, here are five ways to electrify a new direction for your professional future based on quotes from “Oh the Places You’ll Go.”
- “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
In other words, you have a lot of choice and control over what you want to do. This is a helpful idea: that people have agency over their lives and careers. (Plus, I like the driving reference.) The Co-Active Institute, one of the world’s leading coaching organizations and recognized by the Harvard Business School, puts this in a contemporary context by stating that people are “creative, resourceful and whole.”
The tip here is that in spite of the anxiety you may be feeling about choosing a path for yourself, you are “capable of finding answers, capable of taking action, capable of recovering when things don’t go as planned, and especially, capable of learning.” You may not have all the skills or accreditation yet, but you’re equipped already have what you need to get started on a fulfilling career journey. And yes, the EV industry is a smart option.
- “…you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.”
Another automotive callout. The idea here is that while you could search high and low for career advice, you don’t have to. Careers in the EV industry are buzzing right now as the shift is already on to drive economic development that catalyzes a future with safer, cleaner and more efficient transportation. The Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network has your back here again, as it’s developed a robust skills and career website, located at OVIN-Navigator.ca
, that offers resources, courses and information needed to discover potential careers in Ontario’s automotive and mobility sector and a personalized career guide.
- “You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed. You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.”
This is an interesting piece of advice because it speaks to an important aspect of career guidance: momentum. One place that can give your hunt some real oomph is the Personalized Career Pathway
section of the OVIN-Navigator website. With skills and career decisions built right in, this part of the website acts like a GPS for your career, whether you’re in the exploration, reskilling or job placement phase. And because you can come back to it again and again, it keeps you on track to “pass the whole gang.”
- “Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go, or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow, or the waiting around for a Yes or No…”
This is what happens when you stop moving your feet: you end up in the waiting place
. No, we’re not talking about the lineup at Service Ontario. The tip here is that waiting for something to magically open up for us isn’t recommended. Yes, this dovetails right out of the previous point, but hey, action is important. We recommend creating a to-do list of five areas that interest you about the changing automotive sector. Don’t be shy about the changes coming to the automotive sector, start researching them today. Daily action is a simple, intentional way to focus your attention and move toward your goal a day at a time.
- “Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 per cent guaranteed.)”
One of the closing remarks before suggesting to excitedly “get on your way,” this quote is less about doing, and more about being. According to mindful.org
, “the being mode involves a shift in our relation to thoughts and feelings
.” In other words, bring curiosity, attention and some kindness to whatever comes up as you progress on your journey, and even if you hit some curves in the road or cul-de-sacs, trust that you will get where you’re going. And hey, while there are no absolute guarantees in life, with a recruitment gap of 30,000 jobs in the automotive industry estimated between 2021 and 2030, finding your path at OVIN-Navigator.ca
is a great place to get going.
Jason Levine is a member of the skills and talent team with the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network.