At the beginning of the year I became a casualty of the massive layoffs and firings of the organization I worked for. I was devastated because I loved the adolescents I worked with. I was at a loss, I immediately began sending out resumes, networking as much as I could and stayed as a member of the committees for Chi Sigma Iota (Eta chapter), Eastern Ohio Counselor Association, Association for Creativity in counseling a branch of ACA. Keeping involved in these committees helped me stay on top of the counseling world and kept me going during the rough times, no agencies were hiring because of the layoffs going on, the funding for counseling agencies in this area is poor. I went to so many interviews but most of them were concerned that I will want to leave the position once I got my doctorate next year and wouldn't even give me a chance. This went on for 7 months.
When finally at a conference that I went to on Personality disorders I overheard a conversation of my friend and her ex-supervisor when I asked who is hiring she told me Specialty Care counseling, it's an independent counselor position where they pay a percentage fee, they accepted me immediately. When I was given the start date I got butterflies in my stomach. I hadn't been counseling for 7 months and I was a little concerned about starting up again, will it come as natural for me working with the adults as it did working with the adolescents? When my first client arrived the butterflies in my stomach continued, however when I got her in my office and began the intake process, it all came back to me easily, just like riding a bike. No matter how long you are away from it, you can still jump back into it comfortably.
For any fellow counselors out there who are facing what I faced, a layoff doesn't have to be the end to your career. Keep connected with ACA committees, and any other committees you may be on or if you aren't on any, I suggest you join one or two, or even three. Also, attend seminars and conferences. This helps you stay connected to the counseling field, it helps with networking. Many times jobs are found through networking, it is very important in this field, not just to find a job but to make connections with colleagues that can help when you get back to work. I have been so excited to be back on the bicycle now and my practice is expanding rapidly, I am enjoying each and every one of my clients and have groups I am planning to start soon. Don't give up, job loss can be a very trying time but there is hope and as I end this blog I hope it will help some of my fellow counselors out there going through what I went through.
Kimberly Beck is a counselor and a doctoral candidate with a special interest in Self-injury. Other interests are PTSD, trauma, and Borderline personality disorder