So I have a bold statement to make; so bold in fact that I am slightly hesitant about voicing my opinion on the matter. When I let these words trickle off my lips I find myself covering my mouth and looking around nervously to see if anyone caught them, but oh well. It’s time to come out of the closet with my beliefs. Who am I if I am not at least honest? Here we go… I think that I have one of the most important jobs in the world and I think EVERYONE should have a Career Counselor.
I mean I’m not sure how you define important, but when I look at my scale of importance my responsibilities are looking mighty heavy. Let’s examine why I believe that I have one of the most important jobs in the world:
1.The economy is bleak. We’re frequently reminded about the unemployment rate and the declining amounts of wage-earning opportunities afforded to American.Now more than ever people are looking for ways to support their families without totally burning themselves out. A major role of a Career Counselor is to assist a client in navigating options and making a career choice that works for their unique needs.
2.Sometimes work sucks. Partly because so many of us are working outside of our passions, natural skills set and desired environments, many people do not enjoy their work. USA Today published a study in January 2010 that revealed that 55 percent of Americans were dissatisfied with their work. Fears about the economy and lack of opportunity keep many people in positions that cause them mental stress. Stress can manifest itself in a variety of emotional and somatic discomforts. A Career Counselor can assist those millions of Americans with developing coping skills and even transitioning into more rewarding opportunities.
3.The expectations put on today’s mothers are extraordinary. In 2008 64 percent of mothers with children under the age of 6 and 78 percent of mothers with children ages 6-17, were in the labor force according to a report developed by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee. This startling number just confirmed for me that there are a lot of mommies pulling daily double shifts. I’m one of those women. I always joke that I leave my 9 – 5 and head to my 24/7. Juggling caregiving responsibilities, work, parents, relationships, church and community involvement and activities can be extremely taxing. It is imperative that all of these workers have the proper resources to manage their responsibilities or else everyone suffers. The world is better off because Career Counselors are there to offer assistance.
4.People just don’t know. Most people, even after gaining years of academic theory and knowledge, need help understanding how to make a living off of their skills. I am constantly tickled by the question, “You mean someone will pay me to do that?” Where would the world be without me and my colleagues out there assisting in career excavations with poor lost souls across the planet?
5.I save lives. I know, I know. I don’t save lives in a Dr. McDreamy, Grey’s Anatomy kind of way, but finding meaning in your work has been proven to definitely improve the quality of life for individuals. I have had clients on the brink of a mental breakdown due to their jobs. I have worked with women who were so overwhelmed by work and life that they were severely depressed. I have worked with clients who were participating in potentially damaging behavior because of the unhappiness that they were experiencing related to work. When their path is uncovered and they can sleep, digest food, stop taking medication for ulcers and headaches, spend quality time with their children they discover a life anew. Career counselors do that. Yes. We rock!
If done right career counseling is not only personal counseling, but one of the most important jobs on earth!
Andrea Holyfield is a counselor specializing in career counseling and womens' empowerment. For more information go to www.LiveWellCPS.com