Author Topic: Anyone here ever use a career counselor?  (Read 1050 times)

WootWoot

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Anyone here ever use a career counselor?
« on: November 20, 2017, 12:17:47 PM »
I'll admit it: Career-wise, I'm lost. Sure, I'd love to FIRE, but it's just not feasible under my current circumstances.

All my life, I've had a tough time with the jobs I've held. I was always sure something better was out there. For slightly more than a decade, I worked in pink collar clerical jobs. I then put myself through college to get a BA in English, because writing and books were the only things that ever interested me. Also, I figured it would be easier to get hired for any kind of job with a bachelor's than not.

I had just one job I really loved, as a journalist. Lost it right after 9/11. Then I got what I thought was going to be my dream job: public relations assistant at a college. I was there for 7 years, and by the time they let me go 8 years ago, the job had become a nightmare. I was also going through some personal problems that were affecting my work. I was in therapy at the time, but it didn't save my job.

I'd had it in the back of my head for a couple of decades (yes, you read that correctly) that I wanted to be a librarian. I guess I had some lofty ideas of what a librarian's work was like. After being out of work for 3 years (suffering from depression and an idea that I could NOT work--because I was let go from four jobs in a row), running out of UC benefits as well as savings, I took a job at a local college library. I had applied to an online library school and was accepted, and was happy--for about six months.

Till I found out this place is crazy. It's run by people who don't actually want to do any work--including my immediate supervisor. The employees sit around on the Internet most of the day. I am not joking. There are a couple of people who are overworked, and I've offered to help them, but my boss will not let me (I'm referring to some of the librarians).

I'll cut this short(er). I don't know if I can keep doing this for the next 13-14 years. My DH says when administration changes/the library director retires, someone is going to find out what a charade this place is and people are going to get a wake-up call that won't be funny.

My problem: I can no longer identify my areas of work interest, or career interest. I feel like I was an epic fail when I got my coveted English degree and flubbed the dream job. My self-confidence has plummeted to the point where when I read a job description, even for a clerical job, I say to myself, "You can't do that." When I do see jobs related to PR or marketing or journalism, they're usually low-paying, entry-level, or have requirements I can't meet.

I think I'm suffering from long-term depression. That might be a large part of the problem. And I May go back into therapy (though I am not sure it will help).

However, it occurred to me that perhaps a career counselor might help. I also know from a lot of online reading that there's quite a few charlatans out there billing themselves as "life coaches." I'm also realistic enough to know that you can come up with some sort of a career that you would LOVE, but um...that doesn't mean you're going to get a job in that field.

So what are your thoughts on this? Of course I want to be smart with my money (which is why I'm not even sure regular therapy is something I want to spend money on). I feel like I've been going in circles with this issue forever. I've been in this job five years and it's starting to feel like...I don't know what...

Note: Someone here suggested correspondence courses. I'm not sure where to look for them, what kind to take, etc. Also they'd have to be closed-captioned. We're not allowed to wear headphones or earbuds or have the volume on our computers turned up.


Acastus

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Re: Anyone here ever use a career counselor?
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2017, 02:27:36 PM »
You seem to be in a job that allows plenty of time to job search on the side. They may not even notice if you surf the web. You are more employable if you currently have a job, so keep this one until you can find a better one.

Free is a good place to start. Try your county job center (ex unemployment office). In most states, anyone can use their services. You do not need to be out of work. Some have evening hours. You can get job coaching there and find a job hunting group to join that meets at a convenient time. Some states have a few sites that are more tailored to degreed professionals. The default is helping blue collar workers. If your college is nearby, use their career placement office. They want you to have a great job and punch up their numbers. If you find you need more support, try a paid coach after you try this.

I have been tossed from my job more than once. You are in good company. Keep in mind that millions of people leave jobs and millions find new ones every month. The job numbers that make the news every month is just the difference between those going and coming.

mozar

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Re: Anyone here ever use a career counselor?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2017, 03:41:04 PM »
I've been fired/let go a few times and I keep getting jobs. If you haven't already you should try aptitude testing. I forget the website I used but because I'm cheap I read the book about aptitude testing from the website and took the aptitude test on oprah.com to figure out what my aptitudes are. I think the one I used was called Johnson O'Conner.

CNM

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Re: Anyone here ever use a career counselor?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2017, 04:10:54 PM »
I'd recommend the counselors at Wolf & Heron.  http://www.wolfandheron.com/

They're not psychologists or mental health counselors (as far as I know) but I've taken a workshop thing with them about career pivoting that was excellent.

Le Poisson

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Re: Anyone here ever use a career counselor?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2017, 06:01:42 AM »
From here it sounds like you are focused on finding a career, but your heart is seeking a lifestyle. My advice is to sit down somewhere quiet with a cup of coffee (or whatever) and draw out a lifemap.

Start with where you are now. Focus on what is bringing you joy and what is making your heartache. Really take inventory of your abilities, your moral compass, your weaknesses and your desires. What social expectations are you facing? What demands does your family put on you? This is only a baseline. Be dreadfully honest. If it is depressing, that is OK, because this is just a startline. This is your lowpoint.

Now look ahead three years. Three years is a real and attainable timeline. It is the length of a college diploma program here. It is enough time to get your life rearranged into something to grow from. What do you want your strengths to look like. Do you care if those weaknesses are fixed, or do you want to focus on other things? what new baseline do you want to build from? Has your family changed? At this three year baseline what matters in a career - not what job do you have, but what matters. Is it prestige? Pay? Work-life balance?

Knowing what that three year horizon looks like, you can begin to consider what areas to focus on improving. Make a list of short term goals. Think about broad practice areas that will open the doors to other careers.

Now do a 10-year stretch goal. As your three year goals mature, how do they define your 10 year horizon? Can the broad 3 year practice area be narrowed into a 10 year job. Is it realistic for you to build toward that?

If your goals and visioning are realistic, you will have something to look forward to. Study after study has shown that people are most excited about the future and not very excited about the present. Yet, if we can hold on to the present without the pressure of the future, we find immediate joy. I suggest that by having a clear vision of the future with goals to work toward, and having things to do in the "now" you may find more fulfillment.

This would be an awesome presentation for CM*TO. I should hunt around for a speaker who can do it as a career path thing.

historienne

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Re: Anyone here ever use a career counselor?
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2017, 07:06:15 AM »


I think I'm suffering from long-term depression. That might be a large part of the problem. And I May go back into therapy (though I am not sure it will help).


Yes, get a therapist - but I'd also be talking to someone with prescribing powers.  If you have major depression, a new job is not going to fix it.  I don't know if you do, but you're throwing off enough warning signs that it's certainly something that you should be screened for by a professional. 

WootWoot

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Re: Anyone here ever use a career counselor?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2017, 08:12:25 AM »
Thank you all for your suggestions. They all look doable.

Prospector, your post reminds me of the "fearless moral inventory" in 12-step programs.

Le Poisson

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Re: Anyone here ever use a career counselor?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2017, 03:42:13 AM »
Thanks for the mention woot. I've never 12 stepped, so I wouldn't know about that. Good luck in sorting this out.