Earlier this month, I had the chance to tour the impressive, attractive and accessible Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley’s (ILCHV’s) office spaces and first floor art gallery.  This took place at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Center’s newly renovated space. Hats off to Executive Director Denise Figueroa and Director of Development Barbara Devore!  The gathering marked the completion of a $900,000 multi-year renovation project!

The highlight for me that day was the newly-unveiled mixed media project – “I am Able: What I Love About Me” …and the pride and excitement displayed by several artists (and ILCHV program participants) present that afternoon.  I am someone, who is invigorated by understanding each person’s uniqueness.

One artist Sarah brought me over to her piece, That’s mine with the butterflies.”  She explained to me how much she loves butterflies and pointed each one out to me.  Another woman Alice, both feisty and less mobile, pointed to her piece across the room, “Mine is over there!  The words and symbols on her piece read:  “I am able!  My superpower … ADVOCACY, ACTIVISM, OUTREACH.”

Given my profession in workforce development, I couldn’t help but think, “What an energetic and determined advocate Alice must be…a career that would certainly make use of her natural talents!”  Finding what energizes us – and what we are naturally drawn to – are great starting points for career exploration and finding that right fit!  Sarah’s love for butterflies and possibly nature in general, might be a place to start if she was exploring careers or job opportunities.

This is true for all of us!  Whatever our education, our strengths or challenges, even the expectations that others have for us, the ability to find that right career fit and achieve on-the-job satisfaction and success starts with RECOGNIZING AND USING OUR STRENGTHS AND TALENTS.

But how do you do this if you are not part of a wonderful program like this one at the ILCHV?  I have learned from both my personal experiences and 30 years in the workforce development field that speaking with people in different fields/conducting informational interviews can teach us a lot about DIFFERENT CAREERS AND OUR OWN PREFERENCES, VALUES, GOALS AND STRENGTHS.

The questions we choose to ask are important.  Perhaps, we would like to learn what drew this   person to a particular career, what they enjoy and don’t enjoy?  We might also want to ask about their job responsibilities…Does the job entail working with others, answering questions, providing information, teaching, providing support, etc.?  Or perhaps we want to better understand the skills that are required for this job/career?… For example, writing skills or basic or advanced math know-how?  How about the environment in which they work?…Is the job primarily outside or do they work in an office?  Is it a small office or many offices in a large building (or buildings)? …etc., etc.

The next step is to notice our reactions…”Am I excited by what I heard?”  Or is it clear “This is not for me!”  Or I might feel the need for more information and wish to explore further…speak to someone in another department, arrange to do an internship or volunteer experience.  Learn more.

I invite you to check out my website at www.yourcareerfitmatters.com… And learn HOW I CAN SUPPORT YOUR EFFORTS to return to the workplace, get hired for the first time or find more satisfying employment.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions and/or to schedule a free consultation.

I look forward to hearing from you!


Marsha Lazarus, MBA

Career/Workplace Coach and Trainer


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