Only older readers will get this reference. 1980s TV commercial for Hair Club For Men. The founder spends the first couple of minutes extolling the virtues of Hair Club For Men’s toupees. At the very end, the full head of hair spokesperson reveals that he is not only the President of the company but also a client too and he pulls off his toupee to reveal his baldness. I suppose that I am not only the founder of Career Counseling Connecticut but my current career stems from being a product of the process that I teach our clients.
I share to provide hope. I believe that my career path has the same start as many of Career Counseling Connecticut’s clients.
My first career job was as a legal fellow for the summer at The Brookings Institute, a Washington, DC think tank. While I decided that I would not head the policy route because I was too action-oriented, I knew the job was part of building my career so I felt more purposeful. My work as an Assistant District Attorney had the same feel. I knew I wanted to be building people, as opposed to fighting to put criminals in jail, but I still thought it was part of building my career. So, I felt purposeful and happy. As I headed into the private sector legal practice, I gradually felt purposeless. I had the same “just making money” feel that I did in the jobs of my youth. But it was much worse. I felt anxious, lost and trapped. I felt lost.
If I did one thing correctly during that period, it was putting in the work necessary to transition. This Exploratory Work is the missing piece of the puzzle for most people who seek career change. It is work in that it takes an investment of time/energy and sometimes money to figure out what you might want to do.
I did my Exploratory Work in the late 1990s. From year 2000 onward, my work as an educator/counselor/entrepreneur stems from my calling that I discovered during that work. So you see, I’m not just the founder of Career Counseling Connecticut, I was its first client.