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  • Paul Hogan

A Tale of Two Planners

Updated: Jul 13

SetPath offers young adults holistic life-planning and mentoring in key areas like: Friends, Family, Relationships, Mental, Physical, Spiritual Health, School, and Money.


Lately, the “Jobs” category has captured lots of Planners’ attention as they ponder, “How can I find meaningful work that will lead to the career path I desire?”


The combination of a written plan and a caring, experienced mentor (aka Guide) offers a powerful way to kickstart a Planner’s career journey. Our young adults know that they will have lots of different jobs in their lives, but often taking the first step (or the next step!) can feel overwhelming.


This is a story of two Planners who found jobs, thanks to their own thoughtful reflection and the help of their Guides. I have changed the Planner’s names below to protect their privacy.


Alicia is from South America, studying in the US on a student visa.


Summer is a very tough time for students in Alicia’s position, especially if they cannot afford to go home. Alicia is between semesters, and her visa limits her job prospects to positions at her college. Alicia shared with her Guide that she was in a precarious financial situation as summer hit.


The only viable role open to Alicia was a work-study job at her school, but the competition for the position as a counselor in a youth camp was intense. Because English is her second language, Alicia was anxious about interviewing.


The week before the big day, Alicia and her Guide dedicated their weekly SetPath meeting to a mock interview. When Alicia struggled to find the right words in English, her Guide offered suggestions, and they paused so Alicia could write them down.


By the day of the actual interview, Alicia was not nearly as nervous. She had spent the week practicing the vocabulary her Guide had suggested, so she could focus on presenting herself as confidently as possible.


Alicia got the job in a youth ministry camp, a field in which she would like to work long term. Her experience will serve as a launching pad for her career—while allowing Alicia to support herself between semesters, when the school cafeteria is closed. Alicia credits her SetPath Guide and her week of practice as the key factors in landing this coveted position.




James is in a completely different situation, but his need for clarity was just as intense as Alicia’s. A 26-year-old who lives on the East Coast with his wife of one year, James moved from Portland so his wife Sally could attend graduate school.


With a degree in business, James had worked for a Portland-based auditing firm, but he told his Guide that his real career goal is to become a high school teacher and coach—and then perhaps an administrator.


Over the course of several SetPath mentoring sessions, James expressed frustration with his current job as Assistant Manager of a tennis club. The Manager and clients could be cranky, the job did not pay well, and being Assistant Manager required a lot of evening and weekend work, without extra compensation. James was feeling stressed and did not see a clear way through.


Through his research and conversations with his SetPath Guide, James came to realize that in order to become a teacher, he would need to pursue at least a Master’s degree and likely a teaching license as well. The path ahead seemed overwhelming.


His Guide encouraged James to research graduate programs in secondary education, while exploring jobs that would value his business experience in the interim period while Sally finished school. James made a job-search plan, which he discussed frequently with his Guide.


With five minutes left in their penultimate Planner-Guide meeting, James received an emailed offer for a consulting job. The job offers remote work and pays much more than his tennis club position, so James is able to spend more time with his new bride and pursue grad school, while expanding his experience in the financial sector. Because James ultimately wants to be a high school administrator, the business experience he is gaining will prove invaluable as he moves closer to his long-term goals.


Says James, “The job is a perfect fit for the next year, while my wife finishes her Master’s. When we moved East, I felt uprooted and in need of mentorship and clarity around my career and other life goals. SetPath enabled me to record my aspirations in an easy-to-access place. Reviewing my life plan daily cemented my goals and helped me stick to them. Meeting with my Guide regularly provided motivation to reflect, sharpen and pursue my goals.”


James plans to update his life plan each month going forward as he moves closer to the career path that aligns with his values and passions. Of his SetPath experience, James says, “I strongly recommend SetPath to anyone from their teens to late 20’s seeking real direction, accountability, and momentum.”


His younger brother has already taken James’ recommendation, and just started his own SetPath Journey!


If you are a young adult (or know one!) between 16 and 28 and interested in SetPath's free life-planning and mentoring services, click here: https://setpath.com/. If you would like to support SetPath's free services, go here and click "Donate": https://www.setpath.org/




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