Career of a lifetime
By ANGELA PIDDUCK Sunday, May 20 2012
Gone are the days when the choice of a profession was either a doctor, lawyer or engineer. Today, life and career coach Anthony Hadeed, chief executive officer of Your Life Purpose (Helping You Discover Your Purpose in Life), says that with psychometric testing “there are 840 categories of careers in the US Department of Labour database under which there are multiple careers, so there are thousands of careers that young people have to choose from, so it is understandable that young people are confused because of the proliferation of career choices”.
Hadeed, a Jerningham Gold Medallist from St Mary’s College in 1979, initially wanted to be a medical doctor.
“My father died when I was 15 but I always wanted to help people, and was as a teenager concerned about people suffering,” Hadeed told Sunday Newsday.
However, as the seventh of eight children and with the A level results late that year, his mother gave him a ticket to Canada and one term’s tuition. Hadeed was 17 when he entered Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and had started to study the sciences in a pre-med course, when his mother called to say that he had won an Open Science Scholarship and the Jerningham Gold Medal having topped the A level exams in the country.
Meanwhile, he had been accepted to study medicine at both the University of Edinburgh and Manchester, but gave up his dream to pursue medicine, decided to become a professor instead and remained in Canada. By 1983, he had obtained a first class honours Bachelor of Science degree in physics, and by age 22, in 1984, had obtained a Master’s Degree in High Energy Physics from the University of Toronto.
“I thought of pursuing a doctorate in physics, doing some research and teaching physics, only to find out that Canada was not hiring then so came home in 1986 and tried to get a government job to pay back for my scholarship, but they couldn’t find me a job in my field,” Hadeed recalled.
In 1987, Hadeed returned to Canada and kept searching for a job, when he met a Guyanese national at a cricket game.
“He started to talk about his programmer that was leaving in two weeks at Crown Tek, owned by Crown Ex in Canada, and asked, ‘Would I take the job of C programmer?’ This was my first entry into the world of information technology,” said Hadeed, who quickly did crash courses on his own and taught himself C programming in two weeks.
His only experience in IT had been a half course ten years before but by September 1987 he was employed as a full time programmer analyst. It was at this point that Hadeed gave up the dream of becoming a professor in physics.
At the end of 18 months, Hadeed transferred to systems engineer, which he said “was more suited to my personality, programming was too isolated, I am a people person, this gave me an opportunity to help people and as simple as it seems I was helping people”. Within a year he was promoted to manager systems engineers.
“I was not just installing systems, but helping people stay employed, because if the systems go down they are out of jobs, my staff were motivated when they saw the people connection. I learned always to try to keep people contact, you are a human being helping other human beings, so I got them to see they were helping society.”
After eight years working up the chain of command with Crown Tek/GE, Hadeed started his own business in IT – AMH Communications Inc, Toronto, again accepting something that was not his passion.
“Major law firms in Canada were our clients. We were providing IT solutions for them, by understanding their needs on how your money is spent and not waste it.”
He enjoyed 14 successful years (1995-2009) but said, “It catches up to you in midlife. I was doing something that I wasn’t really happy doing. I was no longer going out to customers, I was managing and the isolation started to kick in. I was literally burnt out and almost gave away my business to get out at all cost. I was happy my employees took it over, as it was not worth my peace of mind and health to continue.”
Hadeed quoted John Schurmann, life and career coach, who said that three out of every ten people suffer from health or family problems because they are not living a purpose driven life, a life with the right career. He said Schurmann noted that eventually this affects your health and you take it out on family, as you keep the unhappiness within you and it causes health problems.
Psychometric testing (derived from psychometrics, the science of measuring mental abilities and processes), recommended that Hadeed try careers like guidance counsellor, medicine, youth counselling and medical technician.
“I realised if I started studying medicine at age 47, I might be a medical doctor at 56, that much older for studying, and the stress of internship. But with one or two years study as a “coach” I could help people to be proactively happy, as if I catch them young they will see a job as a hobby, and I was always comfortable working with the youth,” Hadeed said.
“The good Lord was leading me to guide them into the right path, almost like preventative medicine, so I would at the same time fulfill my childhood dream in a different way. I saw the effect on my health and life from not doing what I really wanted to do, and knew the dangers of not speaking up and going into the wrong career ... I wanted to do medicine but just didn’t express my views.”
It is because Hadeed once again gave up his previous dreams that he is able to pick up when young people are not in touch with their emotions. He said if one’s emotional intelligence quotient (EIQ) is low, you cannot assess your own emotions and will be unable to assess other people’s emotions because you are not emotionally perceptive. He noted that an emotionally well balanced person is someone who can show reasonable ranges of happiness, anger and sadness, without going from one extreme to the other, as no emotions and extreme emotions are both unhealthy, somewhere in between is healthy. With a high scoring EIQ, an emotionally well balanced person has a much greater change of being successful in his/her career, family and society, “it’s a modern indicator today, and businesses are aware and schools are becoming aware, that an early indicator of a child having problems and shutting down, means they are not in touch with their emotions”.
Hadeed realised that career guidance is one of the weakest points in the global education system, went online and eventually got certification as a certified professional coach, specialising in life coaching and career coaching with the International Coach Academy, a worldwide international company. A year ago, well into his 40’s, Hadeed became nostalgic and the extremely spiritual man felt God was guiding him back home.
“It sounds crazy,” he said, “with the kidnapping and everything else, but I felt I was being guided back to Trinidad. I was suffering the seasonal affective disorder syndrome, depression in winter, and just needed to come back and see if I liked it. In a matter of months everything gelled, I completed the international coaching certification and opened my business ‘Your Life Purpose’ at 9-11 Fitt Street in Woodbrook in July 2011, and nearly one year later am happy.”
Eighty percent of his business is career coaching and the list of psychometric assessments offered to clients is very extensive and covers a wide spectrum of assessments in the categories of career, personality, attitude and lifestyle, intelligence and relationships, to recommend careers which suit their personality. The other 20 percent of his business is life coaching, which includes four coaching aspects — physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. If something is missing in a client’s life, Hadeed helps them to get a better balance and avoid a crisis.
Because health problems can follow not living a purpose driven life, Hadeed stressed it is incumbent upon the Ministry of Education to focus some efforts on career guidance in a more structured scientific way, such as starting psychometric assessments for students from form three. It should not be all about academics, he said, career guidance is an integral part of developing a successful individual, which in turn would bring tremendous returns for the citizens of this country and their families, if they lead purpose driven passionate lives through their careers. He said, however, that to do so, persons must get their career right and have the courage to make that change at whatever age, preferably before going to university.