Book By: Harris-Tuck, Liz, Annette Price and Marilee Robertson
Review By: Denise Rinn
The College of Arts and Sciences
Kent State University

Students typically rely on academic advisors when linking majors to careers. In a world of constant flux, providing this service can seem daunting, particularly when advisees seek immediate returns on their scholastic investment. In Career Patterns: A Kaleidoscope of Possibilities, Liz Harris-Tuck, Annette Price, and Marilee Robertson provide relief with a manual that addresses modern challenges. While the text is a standard guide for choosing a major as well as a tool for the job hunt, its real value lies in the investigation of strategies for succeeding in a continually shifting job market.

The authors suggest a positive approach to employment instability. Since individuals must respond to endless technological change, the days in which a worker might expect to retire from his or her original position have vanished (pp. 23-24). While this reality seems frightening, it is also a permission slip for self-discovery and the pursuit of more satisfying work. The better one understands his or her values, the more willing and likely will the person adapt. One of the book’s many case studies follows the career of Rob Decker, a photographer who overcame the obstacles inherent in his career by “reframing” it. When his initial desire to teach proved unfruitful, he aligned his skills and talents with the work-world’s needs to secure a position in digital imaging (p. 44).

While contributions regarding the job outlook are significant, the text also highlights practical tools to identify strengths. “Building a Career Kaleidoscope,” a visual, hands-on tool, allows students to integrate elements of their self-discovery. According to the authors, “these elements are a reflection of you and your potential contribution to the world of work” (p. 43). Readers determine their core focus, for example, “passion” or “self-expression,” along with their values, interests, skills and preferences. After identifying such attributes, they explore assorted career possibilities (pp. 47-61). For those whose key to job satisfaction is “passion,” there is the supplementary exercise, “Time Flies,” which assists students in determining their deep interests, the type of work in which they experience “flow,” the sense of timelessness (p. 67).

An understanding of the strategies detailed in Career Patterns: A Kaleidoscope of Possibilities is critical to employment success in the twenty-first century. Instructive case-studies as well as hands-on activities lead the reader toward occupational awareness and self-knowledge. The authors are candid about the fluctuations in the job market, yet they also dismiss prevailing myths. Instead of fearing the future, students should embrace its openness to flexibility, diversity and creativity (p. 15). Essential for advisors and career services specialists, this text is recommended to all professionals engaged with undergraduate students.

Career Patterns: A Kaleidoscope of Possibilities. (2004). Book by Harris-Tuck, Liz, Annette Price and Marilee Robertson. Review by Denise Rinn. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education Inc. 288 pp. Price: $30.00. ISBN: 0-13-110965-0

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