"Follow the passion in your heart and never give up the good fight for the work you want to do," advises Rose Ann Pastor, the newly appointed...

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“Follow the passion in your heart and never give up the good fight for the work you want to do,” advises Rose Ann Pastor, the newly appointed executive director of Career Transitions Center of Chicago, a nonprofit organization.

Pastor asserts that “if you do the grunt work required, you’ll succeed.”

Her agency works with people in transition, from administrative employees to midlevel managers and professionals. Finding your dream job begins, says Pastor, with “due diligence” — a self-assessment to pinpoint exactly what you want to do, talking to people in your chosen field and networking. And you have to be clear about your chosen profession.

“Branding yourself as a marketable product is an important step,” the director said.

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Pastor warns it might take a while to find your dream job: It took her 15 years to find hers — her present post.

“But I continually assessed myself and kept moving forward, adding the skills I needed,” said Pastor, who has worked in the area of career counseling for 25 years.

“My work always was satisfying — but it wasn’t my dream job. Deep in my heart, I wanted to be part of a community with a spiritual connection. And now I am.”

Speaking of Spanish: If you’re an executive earning upward of $100,000 — or want to be — it might be a wise decision to learn Spanish.

A survey by TheLadders of 1,496 U.S. executives who make six figures or more shows that 61 percent said that “Spanish is the most important second language for today’s business people.”

Marc Cenedella, president and chief executive officer of the online job search service for top earners, explains that “an executive with a proven track record who can also move fluidly between English and Spanish is in a tremendously strong position right now.”

Asian-American values: The Asian-American population is growing rapidly in the United States. But this doesn’t mean the workplace is accommodating these valued workers.

“The difference between Asian and mainstream Western values has serious implications for Asian-American professionals,” according to Jane Hyun, author of “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Career Strategies for Asians” (HarperCollins, $24.95).

“Yet I do believe that Asian Americans have the same capacity for achieving success in the workplace even if they may have been culturally trained to show these traits in manners fundamentally different from that of Westerners.”

E-mail questions to Carol Kleiman at ckleiman@tribune.com. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.