Career counseling can save you time and heartache. It might come as a surprise, but an amazing number of people don’t enjoy what they do for a living. Sure, sometimes in life you can’t always be choosy when it comes jobs, but you can always change.
No one wants to get to 30 and find themselves totally miserable, because they hate their job and didn’t plan earlier. This article will give you some advice from a number of old timers about career counseling.
Visit a career counselor
People can find themselves in a career either by chance or because they were led into it. Let’s put things into perspective. You might find yourself in a career because of the subjects you studied or your grades. You might be an architect because your mother is and your grandfather was. Some things run in families…
In history, surnames such as Taylor or Smith in the UK were based on what the person did. A Taylor was literally a tailor by profession whilst a Smith was an iron smith for his working life.
If you are stuck in a loop, you should seriously think about going to a career counseling session. If you are in high school you should do it now. Most schools have career development days. Career counseling is also useful when you want to select a major. Remember a career counseling officer is very experienced and might be able to point you in the right direction. He or she should also know where the best prospects are. Most colleges offer free career counseling for their own students too.
What is a mentor?
The concept of mentorship is simple. A person new to a career works alongside a seasoned practitioner and learns the ropes from them. Sure, Donald Trump might have made it look scary in The Apprentice, but in reality being under the radar of a seasoned professional can be really helpful. The trick is to get someone you can use as a sounding board. Fortunately, mentorships are often available when you join a company or when you start a trade.
But wait. Let’s take a step back.
Before you even join a company or trade, you will need a mentor to guide you. Some of this guidance starts before you even choose your subjects or set foot in college.
Think about it this way. Why would a young man want to join the army, for instance? In the US, the army runs a program called the Reserve Officer Training. This program enlists young men into the army for a short period and during this time they are taught leadership skills.
That is the best example of a mentorship program that helps you take charge of your destiny even before you step into tertiary education.
If you can’t get an informal mentorship, say helping out your uncle at a clinic over the weekend, then look for a program that encourages mentorship. By the time you have to spent time in a career, you will know whether you can stomach it or not.
So how do I chose my passion?
Any good career counseling session will involve a lot of talking about what you want. The talk will be about the balance you want between wages and passion. You might also talk about the current labor market and how relevant your chosen career is.
In a way, this is the best reason to go to a career counseling session. A counselor is a person who has their ear to the ground. They know what the labor market has to offer and they are familiar with the new jobs that have been created in the last few years.
You finance your college education by debt financing and go ahead and do a degree course. Then you run into a labor market that is not responsive to your qualifications. That would be way more than just frustrating. Career counseling beforehand would probably have saved you time and money.
Career counseling works in many ways like psychology. They do not give you answers to problems; they help you weigh up the positives and negatives of your decisions. So at the end of the day you make the decision. There is no right or wrong answer about the career you are passionate to follow if you own your decision. Then again, making a career choice without a counselor can be painful. The labor market mostly works according to the laws of economics.
The last element for success, as you chart out your career path, is developing a professional network of sorts. Career counseling professionals are well placed to know what professional associations and groups will meet your interests. It is way easier to access these groups with a reference from a career counseling office than attempting to do it solo.
When it comes to networking remember the concept of the six degrees of separation. If you are unfamiliar with this theory look it up. You will see that anyone who wants to climb the ladder in a chosen career can’t do it alone.
A professional network will look out for you, as well as keeping you in the loop about trends and developments in your industry. A network is also a club of sorts where you get to meet with people who have a similar worldview. This can only be a positive thing.
Mapping out a career needs planning. Visit a career counseling officer, find yourself with a mentor and create a professional network. A career counseling session will help you search out choices. A mentor almost certainly has more life experience than you and they can show you some short cuts. So can a professional network. So why not use them to your advantage? Be smart, ask for advice so you head the right way and don’t regret time wasted later.