“I feel hopeless.” Mandy said as she walked into the offices of Career Counseling Connecticut. “I’m stuck on a 1 hour drive through I-95 each morning from Guilford to Norwalk heading to a job that I don’t like but need to pay the bills.
At the end of our meeting, Mandy had two things: (1) a distinct plan to explore a new career direction and (2) hopefulness, which she said she had not felt in years.
I thought about my own story as I drove home…
“There is always hope.” Or so I told myself as I walked out of my law office on a chilly December day about 18 years ago. Like many career seekers, I was lost. Fortunately, even in my darkest career hour, I still had the wiring of an optimist and hung on to the only thing that I knew for sure: I had hope. I want to be clear that I did not have a solution to my career challenge. I knew I did not want to practice law. I knew that I loved advising and teaching
But I was working long hours. I had a wife and baby at home. My legal work was energy draining. New parenthood also consumes a lot of energy. However, I knew that in my spare moments, whether commuting or on the 15 minute walk that I would take each day at work or on the phone calls that I would make to wise elders each weekend, I could actively search for a new career path.
The exploratory work process led to my happy future of work. Too many of my career counseling clients have sat in misery for years at a job, expecting that they will wake up one day with a career plan. It doesn’t happen that way. Our schooling, unfortunately, conditions us in the exact opposite way that we need for the new world of work. 1st grade led to 2nd grade and so on without any creative process to make that happen. Old world of work large corporation thinking led to the same: entry level to assistant manager to manager…
That’s not the way the new world of work operates. You need to commit to exploratory work. My literal and symbolic work for many as a career counselor is exploratory work. I am delighted that I can help because this is my unique talent. But I desperately want to help because I truly empathize and I love when my career counseling clients leave with hope.