By: Tricia Bacon
Over the past several weeks, I have been looking into the Focus 2 assessments and exploring careers and job families related to my results. This week, I decided to learn more about one of those careers by interviewing an expert in one of those job families. I know that in my last entry I said that of the most common families in my results, I was interested in legal careers the least since they tend to be very social. However, the fact that it showed up did grab my attention. My dad is a patent attorney, so I have learned some things about having a legal career (most of which have dissuaded me from pursuing one), but seeing that family pop up on my results has made me think that I might want to look into it again.
One of the people who works next to my dad’s office is Victor Reinhold, the director of international trade compliance in his company. Basically, he deals with import and export laws, trying to make sure all goods shipped between countries meet the regulations of both parties involved. This can be a tricky process; just because a good can be exported according to one country’s policies does not mean the other country can legally import it. My dad has been trying to get me to meet with Mr. Reinhold about this career for a long time, since I have always been interested in travel. I figured that since I have shown some aptitude for a legal career, this would be a great opportunity for me to learn more about one.
First things first, I asked a few basic questions: what major do employers typically look for? What skills do I need for this job? How much more schooling would I need? The answers to these questions were surprisingly not very clear cut. Like many other companies I heard from at the Career Expo, undergraduate major is not the most important thing considered when hiring. Business and International Studies majors are the most common, but Mr. Reinhold actually has a Bachelor’s degree in History. Master’s degrees in the aforementioned subjects are more important to employers; however, they once again are not necessarily required. His assistant only has a Bachelor’s degree, and she might take over his position when he retires (if she is still there). The reason for this, though, is that she has very good written and verbal communication skills, which are important to the position.
Some of the most important skills for a career in trade compliance are public speaking, writing, problem solving, and memorization. This seemed to confirm my fears about a legal career – I get very nervous when I have to speak in front of audiences, and I am not a fan of constantly writing papers. However, Mr. Reinhold assured me that the speaking really was not so bad. Most of the time, you would be speaking to a very small group of people (around 10-20), and usually you already knew those people from being in contact with them online over the course of several years. The biggest point he emphasized, though, is that you must be the expert in your company; no one else should know more about these agreements than you, or your job is pointless.
The rewards from this job can be pretty great. According to Mr. Reinhold, you can get a decent amount of time for exploring and traveling if your boss is nice enough. He has been on boat rides down the Amazon, seen the Great Wall of China, and explored mountains in Italy – all during business trips. I have to admit, that part is definitely up my alley. This interview helped me to get a better idea of what this job is all about. While I may not like parts of it, it is definitely not as bad as my original thoughts on legal careers would have led me to believe, and it does seem like something worth pursuing.
EDUC 131: Career Exploration