Obtaining career counseling

ining career counseling

There are sometimes periods in a person's career where the unavoidable question is, "Where do I go from here?" Career counseling may be a helpful tool if forward planning is a dilemma. Sometimes there are career-related problems, like trying to restart a career after a forced stop, or some difficulty after problems with an employer.

Some people have difficulty with even the idea of counseling. Some are naturally independent people, who prefer to keep their own counsel, literally, and would have to be dragged into a counselor's office. Others are so sensitive about their careers that it's hard for them to talk about problems.

The fact is many people do benefit from career counseling. Most people hit a period of indecision and/or frustration with their careers. This is usually during the early to mid period of their careers, or at a somewhat later period where they think they've missed the bus on where their careers should be.

There may or may not be an actual career crisis, but it feels like a crisis to the people with the problems. Unrealistic expectations can create a feeling of under achievement, for example. In other cases, a career could be stagnating because the person hasn't quite recognized the dead end nature of a career situation. They just have a vague feeling life is passing them by.

This is where the career counselor, who's neutral, has a very important role. Friends and colleagues aren't neutral. They tend to be on your side, even when you're wrong, and will sympathize with your mistakes and misconceptions. This is the point where you really need someone who'll call a spade a spade.

Counseling, or any form of advisory work, is a demanding job, because you have to have all the information you need to give effective advice. That's often not easy to achieve. Some people are in no hurry to illustrate their mistakes, or admit to goofing up career moves and choices. They haven't even admitted it to themselves, in many cases. Problems snowball, and minor issues can cost a lot as they become crises.

If you're thinking that's exactly the sort of person who needs counseling, and probably should have had it years ago, you're quite right. Making career decisions, doing career damage control, and getting an act together requires a professional counselor.

What's lacking in the careers is usually cohesion, and any sort of organized approach to situations. A career counselor is trained to do that, and they work on objectives, not the sort of highly personalized knee jerk reactions that make things worse.

Career counselors provide people with ideas, options, different approaches, and most importantly, in many cases, a sounding board for career issues. Talking through a problem with a neutral observer is often highly productive. You can see the issues from a different perspective. That's frequently the most useful of all roles of the counselor, because lack of other career perspectives is often the real problem.