May President’s Corner: Pivotal Moments

by Gordon Helle, MCDA President

In life, there are times when something so radical happens that it changes everything. This could be a global event (e.g. war), a local event (e.g. shutting down a factory where half a town works), or an individual event (e.g. losing a job).

They can also be good events. They can be the birth of a baby, freedom from oppression, a new law passing.

There can even be events that are viewed positively by some and negatively by others. These are truly pivotal moments.

I believe that each year the MCDA Careers Conference has a chance to be a pivotal moment for our organization. Whenever the largest gathering of Minnesota career professionals happens, there is a chance for something truly special to happen.

As I sit and reflect on this year’s conference, that’s the question I keep coming back to. Was this a pivotal moment for our organization? For our members? For our clients?

The thing about these moments is that you rarely recognize them when they happen. I learned about my first job because my dad and I happened to go to a restaurant for lunch that was looking for help because someone there had been caught stealing from the cash register. Move that lunch one or two days in either direction and the job wouldn’t have been available. Move it to a different restaurant and it probably wouldn’t have happened.

As career development professionals, our role often as not is to help find these pivotal moments. Sometimes they happen during our meetings with our clients/students/customers. At other times, it is our conversations that help to uncover moments they have experienced in the past that have shaped their journey.

We can’t force these to happen; it is usually a combination of both timing and openness.

In wrapping up the conference and looking ahead, all I can do is hope that what we’ve done was a spark for some, a jolt for others, and a pivotal moment for the rest. Only time will tell which it was.

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