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Now What?: The Young Person's Guide to Choosing the Perfect Career Paperback – May 6, 2008

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  • The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success (Touchstone Books)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

NICHOLAS LORE is the originator of the field of career coaching and founder of Rockport Institute, an organization that has guided thousands of professionals, executives, high-tech people, artists, support staff, and government officials through career change, and helped numerous young people design their work. He has been commended for excellence by two U.S. presidents. He lives in Rockville, Maryland.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.

-- James Bryant Conant

The greatest adventure is living life fully. What makes it such an extraordinary adventure is that it continues all through life, turning you into the main character in your own long and interesting novel. If you live your life fully day after day, you will never run out of enjoyable things to do. Since you will spend more of your life working than doing anything else, why not make your career part of your lifelong adventure? For most people, working is anything but interesting, enjoyable, rewarding, and fulfilling.

"We know that 55 percent of all U.S. employees are not engaged at work. They are basically in a holding pattern. They feel their capabilities aren't being tapped into and utilized, and therefore they really don't have a psychological connection to the organization," says the Gallup Organization, the experts in large-scale surveys. I know, just another statistic, but what if you turn out to be part of that 55 percent? Here's another statistic: only something like 30 percent of college-educated professionals say they like or love their work. The rest range from neutral to the deepest depths of career hell.

In the face of overwhelming (70 percent) odds that you will not land in the perfect career for you, you need expert coaching. This book will show you how to choose a career direction that fits you perfectly, a career that is not a compromise. I will supply the powerful and effective methods. You bring the commitment not to settle for anything less than spending your day in a career where you are successful, happy, and fulfilled -- doing work you are proud to do, that is rewarding and challenging, with a big dose of self-expression, passion, fun, and the joy of making your dreams come true.

You may be still in school or you may have already experienced that slide from new-career delight to "Uh-oh, I have a bad feeling about this." Wherever you are, this book will save you time, money (wasted in studying the wrong thing for you), and worry.


I have been coaching people for more than twenty-five years -- thousands of people who have been in the wrong career for only a few years or as long as thirty years. I've seen them "before" and "after." I know the advantages of choosing a career that fits you perfectly.


Success comes naturally when your career fits you well. Many people think they can guarantee their success by choosing a big-money career such as investment banking, medicine, or law. Money is definitely one way to measure success. Prestige is another.

Here's the dirty little secret no one mentions: if you are not happy to hop out of bed in the morning to go to work, the money or prestige will never be enough. I have clients who make six or seven figures. They will tell you it's not enough. It's never enough. My clients have included stockbrokers, doctors, lawyers, Hollywood movie producers, and CEOs of various kinds. Engrave this on your mind: no matter how much money or prestige you earn, you are not successful if you are miserable or not fully engaged in your work.

On the other hand, if making a lot of money is important to you, you are much more likely to reach that goal if you pick a career that both fits your talents and holds the potential for above-average earnings. Being good at what you do, you compete more effectively in the marketplace. Enjoying what you do, you bring an appetite and enthusiasm to your work that usually pays off.


Having a career that fits feels better. It's as simple as that. When you're young, however, several things can obscure how badly a career fits: new experiences and the fun of trying your wings provide excitement, helped by powerful hormones that lend a rock-and-roll edge to life. When the novelty and chemicals taper off, however, you're left to your own devices. Watch the over-thirty crowd on their way to work. See how many look resigned, bored, angry, stressed, or sad. Contrast that with people whose eyes sparkle with pleasure, satisfaction, and interest in their work.

Personal Attractiveness

Speaking of eyes sparkling, being satisfied and fulfilled makes you more attractive to others. People love to be around people who glow with life, joy, and self-expression, whether or not they were born beautiful.

Good Relationships

Healthy people choose friends who make them feel good about themselves. They want friends who lift their spirits, who are fun to be around. Imagine, on the other hand, what it's like to live with someone who comes home exhausted and unhappy at the end of each workday. To enjoy great relationships, live a great life.


We all have innate abilities that want expression in the world. When we express them, we are most likely to make a contribution. If we do not express them, we sense that something is missing. All creatures except human beings express themselves naturally. We human beings are the only critters who are smart enough to talk ourselves into the wrong careers.


Self-esteem is the reputation you have with yourself. Self-esteem never hovers. It is either rising or falling, based mostly on what is occurring in your life. It usually rises when you win, when you are satisfied with yourself and the progress you are making in your life. It falls when you lose regularly, when life is a constant struggle, when your confidence is eroded, when you feel no connection between you and the world around you. Your work profoundly influences your self-esteem. People who change paths in midcareer nearly always report that their ill-fitting careers had damaged their self-esteem. Create a future you will be proud of, and your self-esteem will take care of itself.

Health and Vitality

Many scientific studies show that the wrong career can actually make you seriously ill. People under significant stress at work have more than double the average number of colds. Their compromised immune systems cannot defend against illnesses, even life-threatening ones such as cancer. New research also shows that a lot of stress at work makes people age faster and die younger. People whose work uses their talents fully live longer and enjoy better health and, as a result, more vitality and well-being in all aspects of their lives.


You can write yourself into this book as the hero in your own life, on a quest, a high adventure to find a career you love. As with any great adventure, you don't know how it will turn out, but you know there will be exhilarating moments, scary moments, and times when you want to turn back. That's the nature of an adventure. You don't go into the woods alone, however. Heroes have mentors to encourage them over the rough spots and a sidekick or two to offer moral support along the way. Start looking around for people who have your best interests at heart.

As the author of this book, I offer myself to you as a mentor. For more than twenty-five years I have scouted the woods of career choice. I know them like the back of my hand. Most important, I know where the pitfalls are.

Let's say you and a group of friends gather in a clearing in the wilderness to play a game, the winners being the first people to find their way back to civilization. The game starts. Off you go. Now suppose that you are the only person playing who has a map. Everyone else just wanders around, trusting to luck, hoping for the best. Some of your fellow players are confident they will do well. Others have big doubts. None of that matters because they don't have a map. You do. You have a huge advantage over your fellows who are just blindly bashing around in the woods. That's half the battle. The other half is committed action. If you just stay in the clearing and study the map, you won't win, no matter how good the map is. With a good map and committed action, you will win the game, which in this case means having career success and a life you love.

You and the Map

You are holding the map in your hands. I designed it specifically for you. Almost all career books and counselors are well-meaning but not capable of actually guiding you through the process of choosing the perfect career. Several years ago, frustrated because there was no really excellent career guidebook I could use with my career change clients, I wrote that book: The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success. It has been used by hundreds of thousands of people to design their careers and their lives. People like it because it works. Many people say it was the only book that got them to their career choice goal. But I wrote it mostly for midcareer people who are ready for a change, people who made a mistake early on and then want to correct it years later. This one is for you.

I am passionately committed to making sure that doesn't happen to you. What I care about is your having a life you love. I'm not particularly interested in whether you like me or not, at least not enough to suck up to you. This is not a kids' book. I promise you I will not pull any punches with you. I am almost certainly older than you, but I will not insult you by talking down to you or trying to sound "cool."

This may not be the right book for you. This one was written for people who want to live an extraordinary life and are willing to kick their own butt in the direction of that goal until they get there. If that isn't you, if you just want to dream about the future or complain about the present, then this book will only upset you.

I will suggest some other resources, other books, some additional testing of your talents, and so forth. But for the most part, this book is a complete guide. It won't leave you stranded in the middle of the woods. It will guide you through to your goal, step by step.

Th... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; a edition (May 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743266307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743266307
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

242 of 267 people found the following review helpful By Clashboard on January 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hello folks, this is my first review on Amazon. yay. I'm not much of a critic and I hate to bash on other people's work, but I really felt the need to give my two cents about this book.

I'm in my mid-twenties who wants a career change and I plan on reading a handful of these self help books. A few weeks ago I completed Richard Bolles' Parchute 2009 book and thought it was awesome. I was fully engaged from page one and enjoyed all the exercises.

For my next book, I debated between Lore's Pathfinder and Now What?, and decided on the latter because I thought it would have updated info based on this rough job market.

Chapters 1,2 and the first part of 3 are fine. Lore briefly explains why a career that fits you benefits various aspects of your life and how tradition methods of career placement usually fail (i.e college career centers, parents, etc....) The last part of Chapter 3 is what kills it for me. He explains that if I truly want to find my perfect career, I should invest $500-600 on a personality testing program conducted by various organizations including the Rockport Institute which, duh, he started and owns. While he's at it, he should've pitch in a timeshare in Tahoe... he might have sold me! It was just awkward. He might have been able to get away with it if he worded it differently and maybe mentioned it toward the end of the book. Instead I was stuck with the mentality that I just spent my $$$ on something that the author just admitted isn't the best thing for me. Laaaame.

Everything that followed was just as lame. "The Career Design Toolkit" exercise, which is supposed to be the meat of the book, doesn't come until about chapter 15.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Amy on June 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a young professional who devoted so much time and energy to a career I thought I would love, it was disheartening to realize after 4 years and 2 companies that I hated what I was doing. I had no idea how to figure out what to do next... then I found my guide - my career coach and co-author of this book, Anthony Spadafore.

I spent the last few months working with Anthony ([...]) and became a guinea pig of sorts as he helped me navigate my way utilizing this new book. Each chapter is filled with relevant and purposeful information, as well as meaningful inquiries to help you dig deep inside and really put some thought behind what you want to do for the rest of your life! You spend so much of your life at work... too much to be miserable and hate what you do. Don't you owe it to yourself to find what truly makes you happy, what satisfies you and empowers you? I think you do and this new book will help you do that.

Unlike any other career-related program I've personally experienced or seen advertised, this book steps outside of that box and takes you down 3 separate paths that ultimately come together as one when you are ready to design your career: 1 - Natural Talents, 2 - Meaning & Subject Matter, 3 - Workplace Environment.

This book goes against everything we are taught about choosing a career. I am willing to bet that most of you heard this question asked of you many times - "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Typically, you would answer with a job title such as "doctor", "fireman", "President of the United States", etc. Whatever your little heart desired - you can be anything! Well, I don't know about you, but the thought of "anything" was a bit overwhelming.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Katie on August 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
After a failed summer job search, I ended up spending my last summer before moving out of my parents' house working through this book. It definitely takes some time, if you want to get the full benefit of it. The layout is a bit confusing - Lore spends the entire first half telling us why it's so important that we find the right job (before we've even got an idea of the right direction), setting goals (before we know what goals we should be setting) and how to commit (before we've any idea what to commit to).

There are also lots of optional tests throughout and lists and charts in the back, and it's not always clear what's connected to what. Lore also insists that we understand certain things about ourselves and the way we think, and then fails to clearly connect these things to careers. If everything were a bit more mixed in and the instructions were more clear and step-by-step, this would be a five-star book. After spending about two months slowly working through it, often a few hours a day, I've narrowed my choices down from "just about anything" to two careers, and that weight off my shoulders is more than worth the work.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Hart on August 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
I got this from the library and then decided I needed to own my own copy. I homeschool. I wanted my high school daughter to start thinking about what she wanted to be when she grew up. I started flipping through the book and ended up reading it myself. Its a great read. She's only 14, mature and smart, but even at 14 she can follow the path in the book and develop lots of ideas. Highly recommend. I had first gotten her the teen book What Color is your Parachute? I had used the adult version and thoroughly enjoyed it. But this did not help her. It might be ok for a college aged person. But she was suppose to do alot of activities drawing on her experiences. Most high schoolers dont have alot of experiences. This book however draws upon her talents and preferences.
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