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July 16, 2014 / Articles

Career Counseling

career counseling

Career Counseling
by Tammie Lesesne, M.A., M.A.T., L.P.C.

Over several decades of involvement in personnel issues and career counseling, I have some key observations and recommendations to share.

Doing v. Being: Some people have a strong focus from childhood that morphs into a career, such as the kid who loves fossils becoming a paleontologist. Others have no single focus, and may wonder what is “wrong” with them. But, it is valid to start your career discernment with how you want to “be” in the world of work instead of what you want to “do.” You might benefit from discerning your personality attributes, values, range of interests and natural talents. Explore how these elements are your “motivators” that you can apply in the world of work. A superb resource is “Do What You Are” by Paul Tieger: http://personalitytype.com.

What is “out there”?Finding information about potential careers involves digging below assumptions and stereotypes. Use resources such asthe US Dept of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.bls.gov/oco/), conduct informational interviews, and access the library’s references.

Giving “permission”: We might have voices in our ears that tell us what we can’t do because of our age, gender, background, family script, etc. Examine your various messages and how valid they are for you!

“Triggers”: Workplace satisfaction can be impacted positively and negatively by those around us who remind us of peopleor situations from our childhood. You may be fully aware of those reminders, or they can play out at less conscious levels. One client spent her childhood staying off her alcoholic father’s radar screen, and learned through career counseling that she had recreated invisibility in her workplace. That, rather than the wrong job, was the source of her career distress. Connect the dots in your life.

Ages and stages—it’s a changing world: Traditionally, 20-­‐somethings are learning many lessons about the world of work, including what they don’t want! 30 & 40-­‐somethings usually are in career growth mode and assuming partnerships, mortgages, growing a family. 50s are often parlaying experience, 60s considering retirement. Yet, these patterns are increasingly falling by the wayside with tectonic societal shifts. Cultivate resilience in your expectations and experience of change.

Handling job loss: Grief, loss, shame, anxiety, despair, and even relief can accompany job loss. Utilize support groups (St. Johns Episcopal Church on Carmel Rd has a venerable Job Seekers Support Group on Tuesday nights, 7-­‐9 pm). Check out CPCC’s Job Seekers Skills class, ProNetCharlotte or JobLinks. Update your LinkedIn profile. Use project management skills in your re-­‐employment efforts. Get help for the emotional side of your experience. One key caution: don’t isolate!!