Morning Links: Interesting ideas on how to shake up your career


Start your week off with coffee and a few good articles (Photo Credit: macinate, Creative Commons/Flickr)

Happy Monday! Last week, the internet was brimming with great career advice. Here is a round up of links to help you start your week off with reflection and action.

Have you found your place in the social-change landscape?

Although people are buzzing about social entrepreneurship, the reality is that social entrepreneurship is not for everyone and we need people NOT to be social entrepreneurs. Lara Galinsky, Senior Vice President of Echoing Green, wrote in the Harvard Business Review that rather than focusing on one way of making a difference, we need to encourage people to explore the various ways they can have a social impact:

But social entrepreneurs alone cannot change the world.They need artists, volunteers, development directors, communications specialists, donors, and advocates across all sectors to turn their groundbreaking ideas into reality. They need fundraisers, supporters who can change policies, someone to create a brochure describing their work. If everyone wants to start a new organization, who is going to do all the work?

If you’re ready to recharge your job search, complete this activity to figure out what kind of work you’d most enjoy in the social sector.

What beliefs are holding you back?

Sam Davidson, Co-Founder and President of Cool People Care, recently made a short list of things that don’t exist. Though they seem innocent, I think they can actually hold us back from creating the personal and professional lives that we really want:

Getting rich quick
An overnight success
Something that is easy to do and worth doing
“It’s not personal, it’s just business.”
That which is valuable or meaningful that came about effortlessly
A life without regret
The perfect man/woman/child
Having it all

What would you add?

Feel like you’ve hit a wall? Travel someplace new

Though it may seem counterintuitive, sometimes our expertise can make it difficult to be creative because our minds become set on a particular way of thinking.  According to the folks on American Express Open Forum, by going away for a while, your mind is allowed to wander which boosts creativity:

Creativity is all about making new connections between seemingly disparate concepts. “When you escape from the place you spend most of your time,” he says, “your mind is suddenly made aware of all those errant ideas previously suppressed.”

But it’s not enough to simply hop a plane to anywhere. If you want to experience the creative benefits of travel, then you have to rethink its purpose in the first place.

“Most people, after all, escape to Paris so they don’t have to think about those troubles they left behind,” Lehrer explains. “But here’s the ironic twist: your mind is most likely to solve your stubbornest problems while you’re sitting in a swank Left Bank café. So instead of contemplating that buttery croissant, mull over those domestic riddles you just can’t solve. You have the breakthrough while on break.”
Have you experienced a creative breakthrough while traveling?

Read something interesting recently? Share your thoughts and a link below!

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Launching or furthering a teaching career? Alternative ways to move forward

Amy Potthast served as Idealist’s Director of Service and Graduate Education Programs until 2011. Read more of her work at


From isafmedia (Flickr/Creative Commons)

A week after our graduate degree fair season started this fall, I went back to grad school myself—a part-time, low-residency Masters in Education program focused on adult learning and education (rather than K-12) from Oregon State. I’m a mother to two young kids and a program director at Idealist, and beginning this program has made me realize how crucial alternative format grad school options are for people at mid-career, with families and full-time jobs.

Here are some other programs worth highlighting:

Online programs
Some for-profit schools have made people leery of online education. But reputable nonprofit and public universities are offering more online opportunities all the time. For example, our host at tonight’s Washington, D.C. grad fair—George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development—offers five different online masters programs, ranging from masters programs in Bilingual Special Education, to Educational Technology Leadership. For people who don’t need the masters degree right now, the school offers a slew of online certificate programs.

Teacher residencies
Other programs around the U.S. enable people to attend graduate school for education while they teach full time in public schools. Mississippi Teacher Corps brings people from all over the country to work as teachers throughout Mississippi while earning a tuition-free Masters degrees in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Mississippi. Boston Teacher Residency and NYC Teaching Fellows offer similar programs (though the fine print varies).

Re-careering support
For established professionals from any background, programs like EnCorps Teachers Program in California can be a lifeline for starting a brand-new teaching career later in life – and putting skills in math and science to work, helping new generations of students. EnCorps is a public-private partnership dedicated to increasing the number of critically-needed STEM teachers in public middle and high schools. Teach For America, famous for recruiting top recent college grads, also enlists older professionals in the movement to end education inequity; TFA is sponsoring tonight’s grad fair and hosting a special networking event after the fair.

More resources
If you’re thinking about a graduate degree or other career transition into the education field, you might enjoy our Education Graduate Degree Overview or a visit to one of our graduate degree fairs. Tonight’s is from 5:00-8:00 p.m. in Washington, DC.

[This blog entry first appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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