UNCP5505: Life and Career Planning

Robert Capalbo

Associate Director, Office of Development

Course Description

This course provides an overview of life and career planning in the context of 1.) career, 2.) personal relationships, 3.) spirituality, and 4.) ethical decision making. Students are asked to develop autobiographical responses to a series of questions about their lives in order to look for themes related to possible careers and relationship issues. Readings, cases, exercises, and guest lectures will amplify those personal themes and common issues in life in the 21st Century. The integration of spirituality and ethical decision making into one's life will be addressed by readings on ethical perspectives and the students' written reflections on a variety of issues. Students completing the course ought to do so with a better and fuller understanding of what it means to live a balanced life.

Course Goals

The goals of the course are four-fold:

The first goal is to develop a plan and campaign to seek your first full time job. In the course of the development of this plan, students will: (a) identify and assess their skills, interests, qualifications and values; (b) clarify and formulate realistic career and job goals; (c) develop a resume; (d) organize and implement a career plan and an effective job campaign. Readings which will be directed toward this part of the course are the following text plus in-class hand outs: Clawson, J.G., Kotter, J.P., Faux, V.A. & McArthur, C.C., Self-Assessment and Career Development, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 3rd Ed, 1992 (C); Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist, Harper Perennial, New Your, New York, 1st Ed., 1998.

The second goal of the course is to give students an understanding of what his/her chosen career is like. In order to enter an organization and develop one's career successfully, students will interview incumbents of the job they seek. Students will interview two persons, one early in his or her career (5 years or less), and one late in the career (about 15 years beyond entry). Readings and discussions to help assemble interviews will be assigned as the course progresses.

The third goal is to look at the balance between one's career and one's relationships. Frequently careers demand a sacrifice of personal relationships that persons entering into a career do not understand. Texts - Lewis, Michael, Liars Poker; and Kiyosaki, Robert T., Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

The fourth goal is to examine questions on spirituality and ethical behavior to see whether they can shed light on our own life styles. We will read essays from a variety of sources as well as share our personal written perceptions on contemporary issues. Texts - Carcaterra, Lorenzo, A Safe Place. Suggested corollary reading is Carcaterra, Lorenzo, Sleepers.

Conduct of Class

This course is a seminar. A seminar, by definition, is a meeting of students and faculty for an exchange of ideas. Consequently, it is expected that you will be prepared for each class by having done all of the readings assigned prior to the class. More than that; however, it is expected that you will have reflected on the readings, integrated those assignments with your own developed or developing views, and are prepared to discuss them openly with your colleagues.

Since candor is essential, a basic shared understanding is that civility of discourse and confidentiality prevails. To that end, though you may discuss the content of a particular class with your friends, you are not to identify the individuals who articulated any particular views.

As the course develops, leadership of the seminar will rotate among all members of the class. At that point the instructor will serve as a resource person, raising questions, challenging views, but will not serve as the leader of the discussion.


Periodically we will be joined by guests who will discuss their lives and careers and respond to our questions.


Albom, Mitchell, Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist 
Tuesdays With Morrie, Bantam/Doubleday, 1996 Perennial, 1998

Carcaterra, Lorenzo, (suggested but not required) A Safe Place, Ballantine Books, 1994; Sleepers, Ballantine Books, 1996

Clawson, J.G., Kotter, J. P., Faux, V.A. and McArthur, C.C., Self Assessment and Career Development, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J,. 3rd Ed., 1992

Kiyosaki, Robert T., and Lechter, Sharon L., Lewis, Michael, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Time Warner, 2000; Liars Poker, Penquin, New York 1990

The Boston Globe (daily and Sunday) and class handouts


The six texts, all distributed reading materials, the written interview, diagnostic inventories, and reflection papers will be required.

The Written Interview

Pages 13-37 in Clawson, et al, are a key component of your written requirements. The 11 questions are to be responded to reflectively, comprehensively, and thoroughly. The Feelings Record on p. 37 is an integral part of this; do not leave it out.

Career Log

The Career Log is to contain results of the Strong Interest Inventory and The Myers-Briggs Test you have taken. It is to contain the exercises we do in class, and a basic cover letter and resume oriented to the job and career you would like to have. Also, include the two interviews, one of a person who has recently entered your chosen career and another person who has been in the career for at least 15 years. A business card of each individual interviewed is to be attached to the interview. The Career Log must be typed. It is strongly recommended that you put this information on a disk. Remember to back everything up that is on a disk--no excuses will be accepted for losing material on a disk. Logs are to be placed in three-ring binders.

Basis of Grade

Final exam 10%
Written interview, Career Log, and all written assignments 40%
Class participation including discussions of books/assigned readings 50%

You are who you are until you die.
--John LeCarre, Single & Single



Outline of Course
Start reading The Alchemist


Career Management, Individual and Institutional Perspectives
Intro. Written Interview
Your Obituary, chapters 1-2; Your Eulogy, submit same; C pps. 13-19 (through reply 3 only)

All we want to be in life is to be remembered.


Continuation-Written Interview; The Career Concept; Written Interview Analysis
C pps. 21-24 (replies 4-5); C pps. 25-30 (replies 6-8); discussion The Alchemist


Is the life I am living the same as the life that wants to live in me? Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.
--Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak


Written Interview Analysis; Resume and Cover Letter
Guest: Theresa Harrigan, Director, Career Center
C pps. 31-37 (through reply 11); C 23; C 26 pps. 297-306. Submit draft of resume and cover letter; skim C 24; start reading A Safe Place

“At the end of your life all you have left is guilt.”


Making a Career of Careers; The First Year Out: Sorting Career and Life Values
Guest: Caitlin McGrail, '03, Mother Caroline Academy
C 4, use the aspect cards in back of C after p. 444; C 35


Survey of Behavioral Characteristics Survey of Managerial Style
C 5, Please score as well; C 6; discussion: A Safe Place


Interviewing Interpersonal Style Inventory
C 27; C 28; C 9; this needs five friends to take a short survey about you - start early. Do not do standard deviation. Start reading Liar’s Poker.

Work is a curse that can only be defeated by more work.
--Naguib Mahfouz, Children of the Alley


The Early Career Guest: Strong Interest Inventory
C 37; skim C 25-26; C 13


Guest: Christine Merkle, University Counseling Services
The Predisposition Test; submit written interviews
C 25; discussion Liar’s Poker; C 10


Company Visits; Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Guest: Patricia Touzin, Director, Faculty Staff Assistance Program
C 7; C 28; start reading Tuesdays with Morrie

Week 11

Assessing a job offer; Accepting a job offer; 24 Hour Diary; Creating Life Style Representations
C 30; C 31; C 11; C 12 discussion Tuesdays with Morrie

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

Week 12
Analyzing the Written Interview; The Perspective of Parents; Guests: Tracey & Christopher Giglia, ‘98 Start
C 14; C 16; C 17; C 32; C 38; reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Week 13
Thanksgiving vacation


All that we will have to do is to decide what to do with the time that is given to us.
--Gandolf, Lord of the Rings

Week 14
Financial Management for the Young Executive' The Balanced Person; all written assignments due by noon
Discussion Rich Dad, Poor Dad

"As children, learn good manners, as young men, learn to control the passions. In middle age, be just. In old age, give good advice. Then die, without regret."--Inscription on a pillar at Ai Khanum, the military headquarters of Alexander the Great in Afghanistan