If you’re like most people, you’re not doing (or still planning to do) what you told the rest of your class you’d do for work during Career Day when you were 13. The funny thing is that many people seem to become less sure about their career path as they advance toward adulthood or even middle age.
A good career counselor can help you navigate the many decisions that go into planning out your career. They can help you cope with issues in your current workplace, understand how work and career fit into your overall life goals, and even help you decide what you want to do with life after you retire. Here’s how else they can help you.
What career counseling is not.
There are many misconceptions about career counseling, so let’s begin with what it is not. Career counseling is not limited to helping you pick out schools, university majors, programs, and jobs. Career counseling entails much more than that, especially today.
A career counselor can help you manage work-related stress. They can also provide a roadmap for advancing within your chosen career field, and teach you how to use what you are passionate about to help others. Career counseling is not a nebulous service provided by some tie-dyed, free-spirited happiness guru who helps you “find yourself”. Even if your career counselor does like to wear tie-dye and make people happy, they can help you lay a concrete, actionable foundation for your career.
Career counseling also cannot be reduced to a just vocational or interests assessments, values questionnaires, or aptitude tests that magically tabulate your answers and plan out your future for you. Yes, a counselor may employ one or several assessments to focus counseling with you. And they serve as a starting point to further exploration and decision-making.. However, career assessments are not intended to provide you with all the answers. Insead, assessments work in conjunction with the other tools and methods employed by your counselor to help you choose the career path that is best for you.
In other words, as with inaccurate caricatures of therapy seen in movies and on TV, many of the commonly held beliefs about career counseling are simply untrue. Your first meeting with your career counselor will likely dissolve these commonly held misconceptions.
What career counseling can do for you.
Career counseling is about much more than finding a career in which you’re apt to excel. It’s also about figuring out what career path will allow you to be the best version of yourself, personally and professionally. Career counselors often help people get over letdowns and issues from the past that can be roadblocks to future progress.
The right counselor can help you deal with issues that can be seriously debilitating to your career, such as the fear of failure, or even the fear of success. These fears are often the result of what people are told or made to believe about themselves at a young age. For example, just because you live in Washington, DC doesn’t necessarily mean you want to be an attorney, career politician or lobbyist. As a matter of fact, DC has one of the most diverse career pools in the country. If you’re at a crossroads in your career, are facing mounting pressure from work, or just want to improve yourself within your chosen career path, then career counselors in DC can help you.
Discouraging parents, disappointing report cards, and bad classroom experiences can all cause a person to lack confidence in themselves and their abilities. Counseling can help you identify these sources of struggle, pain, and angst and show you how to use them as fuel for your fire. They can even help you discover ways to use your painful past to help others better themselves. So don’t put off seeing a career counselor if you feel you could use professional support for you and your career.