A Day in the Life of an Eccentric Career Architect
By Ebony Tara Scurry
I love my career. Not a day goes by that I don’t think how fortunate I am to help others in their quest to feel the same. When I say “quest”, I mean it down to the core. Wikipedia, describes a quest as “a journey towards a goal…In literature, the objects of quests require great exertion on the part of the hero, and the overcoming of many obstacles, typically including much travel.” My clients are on a quest to make a comfortable living in a career they’re passionate about and which allows them to leverage their uniqueness and creativity.
Building a Solid Career Foundation
I am “The Career Architect” because my style and approach focus on building a solid career foundation from the ground up for all of my clients, regardless of their eccentricity. I’m about solving the root of the problem for long-term success. All solid houses need a strong foundation. In career terms, we’re talking about professional development and strategies that help our clients not just survive, but thrive during economic uncertainty.
The key is putting into action the concept that thriving has less to do with meditating on external labor market limitations, and more to do with internal fortitude and confidence in our high potential as human beings. It’s about embracing and elevating an internal locus of control.
Serving “Eccentric” And “Creative” Clients
For me, “eccentric” and “creative” equal some of the most interesting people on the planet. When I’m not providing services to federal agencies, businesses, and non-profits, my creative clients have my heart and time. From the serious-gamers and Anime enthusiast to Goths - extreme creativity and an unwavering dedication to being true to themselves are the links that tie these clients together.
One of the most interesting things about being an eccentric Career Architect is that I’ve inadvertently attracted clients who found themselves on the fringes of mainstream society. From convicted felons to people still engaged in illegal activities who desperately want “out”, these clients have a need for a non-judgmental consultant in order to secure legit careers and break the cycle. One client said to me, “I’ve wanted to get out but there weren’t any reasonable options that would pay the bills. No one wanted to help me, but I heard you help people like me. You’re literally helping me change my life.” This is the type of feedback that motivates me every day.
Strive To Be a Comprehensive Strategy Guide
Getting through the barrier of choosing from the ocean of opportunities can be one of the most difficult obstacles to conquer. It’s like a role-playing video game. All good video games come with a strategy guide and that’s where I come in; I share tips, secrets, and maps to help clients get to their goals as quickly as possible with less effort and more confidence.
These video game strategy guides speak in lay-mans terms, have simple directions, and walk the gamer through each phase; practically assuring 100% completion. Strategy guides increase our chances of completing the game faster and more efficiently. This is exactly how we should serve our clients.
We don’t have to be a Jill-of-all-trades to provide value, but we must strive to give the most comprehensive solutions to our clients. This means cultivating long-term relationships and implementing a referral network to serve client needs outside of our scope.
In Practice: Building a Foundation and Strategy Guides
One of my clients had a well-paying job that was literally making her sick. Knowing that she was under the care of a physician and a therapist for work-related stress and anxiety helped me support her in eliminating the root of her problem. To build her solid career foundation we explored visions of her dream career, her personal mission statement, and the circumstances that caused the situation to unfold. We then identified potential opportunities and pitfalls, while leveraging her transferable skills and extensive volunteer experience.
I strove to offer a comprehensive strategy guide by initiating proactive conversations about potential obstacles and helped her brainstorm solutions. This strategy can reduce client anxiety and help build credibility and rapport. I also taught her career strategies customized to her strengths and situation which increased her confidence and empowered her to take action.
To add value, I hired a professional organizer from my network to assist her when I noticed that her disorganized personal workspace was impeding her success. She became more able to successfully gather documents for her career portfolio and keep track of networking prospects and job leads. Now, my client is working in a leadership capacity at an exotic plant nursery until she can live her dream of managing and owning multiple medical marijuana nurseries once they are legalized in her state.
Balancing Client “Needs” With “Wants”
Helping eccentric clients achieve their goals takes strategies that aren’t covered in the average career coaching handbook. As a creative and eccentric person myself, I know this first hand. To say it was a challenge matching my goals and values within the constraints of mainstream professional society would be an understatement. Connecting with my clients through trust and an understanding of their unique lifestyle allows me to help those who have previously been too cautious or pessimistic to ask for support.
One of my biggest daily challenges is doing what the client wants, versus providing them with what I believe they need. A common perception is that a “good” resume can fix any career obstacle. However, I often find that their resume should be the least of their worries. Guiding them into long-term success by addressing the root of their problem is always my priority. It isn’t easy, but it’s definitely a challenging and rewarding adventure.
Ebony Tara Scurry, PHR, GCDF is The Career Architect™ at Eidolon Career Solutions, a career management and diversity-inclusion division of Tara Enterprises, LLC specializing in serving motivated, creative communities and the organizations that employ them. Scurry holds degrees from Sweet Briar College and Johns Hopkins University. She also serves as Adjunct Faculty at a Washington Metropolitan Area career-focused college teaching courses in Human Resources, Sociology, and Career Development. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .