A Fork in the Road: A Career Planning Guide for Young Adults


A career planning book specifically written for young adults. Filled with quick and engaging assessments that teach career self-management skills which they can use throughout their life.

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ISBN: 1-57023-197-4

“This book serves as an excellent resource for young people and for anyone who offers career advice. I wish this book had been available years ago when I was pursuing my own career path!”
Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

By Susan Maltz and Barbara Grahn

#2619. Most young people are uncertain about what career they want to pursue. Often lacking focus, easily distracted, and impressionable, they acquire new interests, skills, and values through involvement with family, school, and peers. Life may be fun, but it also is often directionless, unpredictable,
and serendipitous. At the same time, they begin making critical decisions that affect their choice of college, career, and lifestyle. These decisions will determine the direction their lives will take.

But how can young adults successfully channel their new-found passions and motivations into making the best career planning decisions possible in these formative years? What can they do proactively now to make smart career moves for the future?

The answers to these questions are found in A Fork in the Road, a unique new career planning book for young adults ages 15 to 25. Unlike other career books that often preach to young people or present them with a set of questions and answers, this self-assessment guide lets the reader make decisions based on information generated from a thorough understanding of his or her own interests, skills, and values.

Using the scenario of a road trip – a common dream shared by this age group – it helps them identify and channel their passions and motivations, through a series of self-assessment chapters, into exciting career alternatives.

A Fork in the Road is a user-friendly, fun-to-read guide which is fully illustrated and meets the National Career Development guidelines. It’s filled with quick and engaging assessments that teach young adults career self-management skills which they can use throughout their lives.

126 pages. Softcover. 2003. $14.95.

Susan Maltz has over 20 years experience as a teacher, writer, career counselor, and training specialist. She has designed numerous career-related programs and workshops as well as provided individual and group counseling to students and staff at Stanford University. She is certified in administering the Strong Interest Inventory, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, the Career Architect, Skill Scan, and other assessment tools.
Barbara Grahn has 13 years experience as a Training and Communication Specialist at Stanford University where her work included writing and designing curriculum to help staff develop their careers, writing Web-based training, and designing comprehensive training programs. She also spent over a decade as a program director, teacher, and writer. Currently, she is a human resources consultant and artist with a passion for travel. The authors reside in Burlingame and Palo Alto, California.



  1. You’re in the Driver’s Seat
  2. Values are Along for the Ride
  3. Take a Road Trip
  4. Up the Mountain, the Road to Success
  5. What is Your Navigation Style?
  6. Need Directions?
  7. A Fork in the Road, Choosing a Direction
  8. Fuel for Thought: Listening
  9. Reaching Your Destination
  10. Resources and the Information Highway

Appendix: Skill Cards, Career Road Map


“The career planning model that the authors offer to their audience is the same one that is offered to professionals at all levels in organizations. If young adults follow this advice, they’ll have a perfect head start for the rest of their careers.”
–Beverly Kaye, author of Up Is Not the Only Way: A Guide to Developing Workforce Talent and Love Them Or Lose Them

“If Only I’d had such a great road map in the early days of my career.”
–Bob Rosner, author of the bestselling Boss’s Survival Guide, and an internationally syndicated columnist

“One of high school’s greatest failings is its ignoring of anything related to careers. A Fork in the Road can really help.”
–Marty Nemko, Ph.D., Career and Education Coach, Producer and Host of Work With Marty Nemko, author of Cool Careers for Dummies, and columnist for Monster.com and San Francisco Chronicle.

“An engaging workbook that makes you ask the important questions to find your strengths and pick the right career. Filled with thought-provoking questions and examples from real life, this is a must-have for all students who have questions about their future.”
–Kelly Tanabe, author of Get Into Any College and Get Free Cash For College

A Fork in the Road is an entertaining and thought-provoking book that involves the young adult reader on a ride toward their future. The skills gained almost effortlessly along the way are sure to become the foundation from which the reader can make comparable career decisions after college and beyond. The authors have front row seats in the subject area and communicate their knowledge with ease.”
–Shary Price, PrepWorks Publishing, publisher of Tuning In To My Future: A Middle School Career Exploration Program

“Information on training, providing the best possible image, preparing themselves for interviews, and so much more fill the pages of this excellent and highly recommended supplementary resource to choosing an ideal career path.”
The Bookwatch


EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 1: Beginning to Plan

This book, designed as an interactive guide, helps you map your direction. Each section contains activities to help you find out more about your interests, skills, motivation, values, and working style, and help you explore the options available to you when choosing a career.

When you are exploring your career choices, it’s important to begin your planning by thinking big and then narrowing down your options. The Career Self-Management World Map on the next page will help you identify the areas you need to explore.

As you embark on your career journey, choose a place to start, but know that at any time in your life you can re-enter the career planning process and continue your journey around the World Map.

The section called “Know Who You Are” is a good place to begin. It is important to learn about yourself and what you have to offer the world.

The first six chapters of this book focus on knowing who you are:

  • Your values
  • Your interests
  • Your skills
  • Your accomplishments
  • Your working style
  • Your passions and motivation

Chapters 6 and 8 focus on exploring the world of work:

  • How to research careers
  • Explore work environments
  • Explore lifestyles
  • Conduct informational interviews

Chapters 7 and 8 help you evaluate your choices:

  • Make decisions
  • Set goals
  • Get the necessary education and training
  • Do reality testing
  • Listen to yourself and others

Chapter 9 provides you with tools to reach your career destination:

  • Write an action plan
  • Make contacts
  • Create resumes
  • Write cover letters
  • Prepare for interviews


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