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These articles by Bart Jackson and others were prepared for the
January 4, 2006
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
The New You: Tom Caines
Get a job at age 22, stay in that same position for 35 years, and just
to keep it, you will have to totally retrain an estimated six times.
That’s merely to tread water in the same job. To advance or switch
fields involves an even more extensive re-sculpting of your
professional skills. But with what tools?
To give career changers what they need from first brainstorm to final
interview, Mercer County Community College offers "Reinventing
Yourself for Today’s Job Market," a three session course beginning on
Tuesday, January 10, at 7 p.m. Cost: $51. Call 609-586-9446. Tom
Caines, founder of ClearVision Coaching (www.clearvisioncoaching.net)
in Stillwater, guides students through the mental and physical
homework necessary to achieve the best possible transition.
Born and raised in Newark, Caines reveled in the cultural advantages
of both his hometown and the easily accessible city across the river.
In l975 he graduated from Jersey City State College with a major in
media arts. He began his working career at New England College as a
computer and audiovisual technician and quickly became a lecturer at
that school. He later lectured at Montclair State College and directed
instructional films. He then began producing training films for the
New York Housing Authority before moving on to PSE&G as an information
technology analyst, rising quickly to manager of the company’s IT
Three years ago Claire Caines, Tom’s psychotherapist wife, got
interested in career enhancement and together they launched
ClearVision Coaching. Today Claire runs the Caines Center for
Psychotherapy, also in Stillwater, while Tom heads up ClearVision,
with a coaching style they hope is a little more thought provoking
Reinvention begins with two questions. Caines asks first, what is it
about your current job that makes it enjoyable? This answer brings out
both the personal likes and individual abilities. Secondly, he asks,
"If you change jobs, what would the outcome be?" The answers from this
question leads to an examination of goals and a formulation of paths
Quick change decade. In his interviews, Caines is seeing that salary
and position are increasingly taking a back seat to the demand for job
novelty. Caines has spoken with a large number of number of people in
their mid to late 20s who have launched themselves successfully into
their first careers and then stopped.
"It’s as if there is a short-term wave that lasts only three to five
years," says Caines. After that short period, despite success in their
field, employees grow restless. They demand more responsibility and
newer challenges – and many start to cast around for new jobs.
Skilled beyond belief. "Motivate, plan, lead, compute, delegate,
coach, train, finance, speak." These are a few of the long list of
skills that Caines sets before his coached clients. He merely asks
them to circle any in the list that pertain to them and to write down
any others unlisted. "This test not only provides the person with a
skill set, but it gets them out of the square peg, square hole
mentality," says Caines.
The accountant may discover that his current job has actually
developed his abilities to delegate and his managerial skills. The
human resource worker may have more financial acumen than she
realized. If he is to change, the engineer must stop envisioning
himself as a professional category, and instead view himself as an
individual with a series of capabilities.
Value added. "Honest, fun, growth, spirituality, harmony, health,
accuracy, adventure." Caines invites clients to select from this list
of qualities those that speak to them. They are things that the
individual deems important. He may not be an overly accurate worker,
but he may value accuracy. From the circled items on this list, Caines
has clients order the top five.
With this skills set and basic core values in mind, the client is
ready for action. They will follow through on the jobseeker’s cover
letter, resume, first and following interviews – showing the extra
qualities and skills at his command. If asked about his last project
in his last job, the average candidate will respond with his prize
story of how he brought the project in under budget and ahead of
"That is very nice," says Caines, "but if that candidate carries his
skills and values within himself, he will able to offer more."
He might add the sentence, "I enjoyed most working with team members
and taking on new challenges for growth." This, Caines points out,
brings out the human side of the answer. It shows interpersonal skills
and the ability to keep the co-workers happy. Even if the interviewer
himself doesn’t give a fig for morale, he will be glad to have a staff
member on board who can bring it about.
That fantasy job. Fantasies are good. Fantasies are necessary, but
let’s keep the balloon tethered, warns Caines. Many a career counselor
asks restless seekers, "If there were no limits on training, money, or
other obstacles, what would you most love to be doing." Upon hearing
this old human resource chestnut, the eyes grow wide and dreams gush
forth ranging from Brad Pitt’s personal agent to a spinal surgeon.
These brainstorms provide a good starting point, but Caines would
immediately follow up with another question. What are the aspects of
that fantasy career that you particularly enjoy? That dream job seldom
conveniently suits itself to one’s real situation. The concept of
parlaying your sociology B.A. at age 48 into a medical degree and
surgical residency might you have you collecting Social Security
before you get a scalpel in your hands. And Brad Pitt? Don’t waste
your wishes. But if that dream of spinal surgeon is actively based on
a love of delicate precision work or the desire to actively be
involved in life saving experiences, the dreamer can take aim at a
realistic, very enjoyable life.
As a final warning, Caines suggests a look-before-you-leap approach.
Potential career morphers should think less of the new position than
on how they will be spending their days in this new environment. A
novelist is, in effect, a person who writes a term paper every day. If
it wasn’t fun in college, it probably won’t be fun now. So what is the
right career shift? As Claire Caines might suggest, probe your psyche
and find the fun.
– Bart Jackson
The Princeton Chamber presents its first annual Mercer County
Economic Opportunity Summit on Thursday, January 12, from 3 to 8 p.m.
at Princeton University’s engineering quad. Cost: $50. Park in Lot
21, at the corner of Faculty and Fitzrandolph roads, and shuttles
will run to the Friend Center at William and Olden avenues. Call
609-924-1776 or register online (www.princetonchamber.org).
James Hughes, dean of the Rutgers’ Bloustein School of Planning and
Public Policy, keynotes the event at 3:45 p.m. Concurrent breakout
sessions at 4:30 p.m. feature J. Robert Hillier, Richard F. X.
Johnson, Anthony Tennariello, Congressman Rush Holt, and Kimberly
Hillier, board chairman of the architecture firm that bears his name,
will discuss how residential communities placed near commercial and
retail development can spur economic growth.
Johnson, senior vice president of Matrix Development, will reveal
investment opportunities in urban centers.
Tennariello is in the world trade management services practice at
PricewaterhouseCoopers. He will discuss warehousing, distribution,
logistics, and foreign trade zones.
Congressman Holt will tell how the concept of Einstein’s Alley can
jumpstart growth in technology and bioscience companies.
Stever, who directs the Capital Region Convention and Visitors Bureau,
will moderate a session on how arts and cultural organizations can
strengthen the economy in the panel.
At a cocktail networking reception, from 6 to 8 p.m., municipalities
and county departments will present displays. This promises to be the
biggest economic development event for 2006. Early registrants get
first choice of breakout sessions.
Another opportunity to assess the health of Mercer County will come a
week later, on Thursday, January 19, when Brian Hughes, county
executive, speaks for the Mercer Chamber at Angeloni’s Cedar Gardens,
661 Route 33, Mercerville. Hughes will introduce the keynote speaker
at the Princeton Chamber’s economic summit, but he will be the
featured speaker on January 19 for his "State of the County" address.
Cost: $50. Call 609-393-4143.
The biotech segment assesses its own health at the annual meeting of
the Biotechnology Council of New Jersey on Tuesday, January 17, at 5
p.m. Originally scheduled for Princeton University’s Friend Center, it
has been moved to the Cook Campus at Rutgers University. Mark
Schoenebaum MD of Bear Stearns is the keynote, and panelists include
Donald Drakeman of Medarex, Geert Cauwenbergh of Barrier Therapeutics,
and Stuart Peltz of PTC Therapeutics Inc. Cost: $135. Call
Volunteers are needed to help the working poor with tax preparation.
The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness will hold training sessions
for those who will help staff sites throughout Mercer County.
These volunteers can help workers who earned less than $37,000 get
their Earned Income Tax Credits. For tax year 2005, the maximum credit
is $2,662 for persons with one qualifying child, and $4,400 for
persons with two or more qualifying children. Those who do not have
children can get up to $399 refunded.
"You can volunteer for 3 to 8 hours per week and make a huge
difference. You could help a family get back as much $4,400 and change
their lives," according to Mary Ellen Marino, director of the Mercer
The first part of the IRS tax preparation training is available at
www.IRS.gov. Print out the volunteer form and register for the second
part, a hands-on computer training, available on Saturday, January 7.
Additional sessions will be scheduled. Call Tarry Truitt at
609-844-1006 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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