Kibbutz. I liked that word as a child because the sounds of its letters were fun to hear and pronounce. I used the word frequently, because I grew up in Israel, where the kibbutz lifestyle is common. I was grateful for my good upbringing and for the admirable values that were instilled in me, but I was also ambitious and determined to have a career — even though I was not encouraged to place any importance on that decision. As kibbutz children matured and started families of their own, the adults assumed that they would settle down as members of the community and work in one of its various branches, such as agriculture or community service. With or without encouragement, I always knew that I wanted a different lifestyle for myself, so I intended to earn a degree in higher education and work successfully in that rewarding profession.

A degree in education seemed important because throughout my life, I have spent much time helping others, and I wanted a profession that would incorporate caring and compassion as integral components of my work. Helping people consistently led to fulfillment as I served people in many different ways. In the eighth grade I volunteered as a surrogate granddaughter of an elderly woman who lived alone. Twice a week I would visit her in the afternoon, and we would chat while drinking cups of tea on her front porch. When her hand shook, I would hold the cup for her and appreciate the warmth of her kind expressions of gratitude. As a teenager, I would listen as many of my friends came to me for advice on personal issues. I would offer them an objective viewpoint and help them put things in perspective. These satisfying and meaningful experiences were instrumental as I considered various careers.

When I graduated from high school, I still had not chosen my profession and was not as enthusiastic about classroom teaching as I had been previously. At that time, I was more concerned with my mandatory two-year service in the Israeli army and how I could turn military service into a meaningful and rewarding experience. Reflecting on my experiences as a drill sergeant, I recall the countless challenges I overcame on a day-to-day basis. One of my most profound experiences occurred when I prevented one of my new recruits, Limor, from committing suicide. She was grieving because her fiancé had just been killed in a terrible car accident. Limor and I spent many hours talking about her feelings and her future. Even though I had no formal training in handling this type of situation, I somehow found the right words, and she went on to complete the rest of her military service successfully. Through this and many other experiences, I discovered my talents for leading and motivating others and became even more determined to work with people for the rest of my life.

Still, it took me some time to complete the turns of my career kaleidoscope. After graduating from college in the United States, I accepted a position at Paychex and found myself working in recruitment within the corporate Human Resources Department. The field of human resources was new to me, and I was fascinated and challenged by my assignments. I worked in employee development as a trainer for one hundred sales department employees. This work developed my passion for helping others achieve their true potential and showed me the great need for companies to encourage their employees’ career development by providing the proper training. My own lack of direction and guidance in choosing my profession reinforced my interest in studying career development.

To explore my options and solidify my choice, I audited two graduate-level courses at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and found the course work quite stimulating and rewarding. The vast range of courses and invaluable resources offered by the Human Resource Development Program will allow me to develop a wide perspective of the field. The staff, faculty and other students have been friendly and supportive, indicating to me that this environment will promote my successful education and future career. I want to earn my master’s degree at RIT because its human resources program will provide me with the educational foundation that I need to reach my personal and professional goals.