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16 Things I've Learned in 16 Years of Career Counselling


I began working as a Career Counsellor in 2001. I’ve seen and learned a great deal during this time having practiced in government funded employment programs, community colleges, and private companies — including my own. I’ve provided Employment & Career Counselling, Social & Life Skills Training, Outplacement and HR, Vocational Rehabilitation, Career Coaching to individuals and groups, delivered workshop upon workshop, and administered nearly every type of Career, Personality, Interest, Aptitudes, and Cognitive Ability inventory and test there is.

I like to think I’ve learned a few things along the way. Some of the things I’ve observed won’t come as a big surprise to anyone, but a few might get you thinking. Here are 16 things I’ve learned from my 16 years of Career Counselling (one for each of my years in the field). Obviously there are many more things but I’ll save them for future posts :)

1. Many people are one missed paycheck away from financial disaster.

2. Anxiety and depression are rampant among job seekers.

3. Many job seekers have a hidden disability they are afraid to disclose.

4. There are a lot of highly skilled people working in jobs that don’t utilize these skills. Probably many more than you would think. Really. Like waaay more.

5. Most people are very grateful to be given a chance and will rise to meet even the most difficult challenges when someone believes in them.

6. More people are honest to a fault than dishonest when it comes to job searching.

7. Many job seekers only apply to posted job openings and conduct their search in isolation. They experience frequent rejection or hear nothing back but crickets from the hundreds of resumes they’ve sent out. This. Hurts.

8. A large portion of people I’ve worked with continue to value job security, benefits, a pension and paid vacation in their employment.

9. A large majority of my clients feel like they might never be able to retire.

10. Many people earn much less money than you would think, given their lifestyle.

11. Some people are relieved to get fired or laid off from their job. More people than you think. That's how much they hated their job even though losing it meant a sharp reduction in their standard of living.

12. Many people are in shock when they get fired or laid off. Some haven’t considered a back-up plan, they don’t have a resume or the first idea of where to begin to find another job.

13. I’ve worked with a significant number of people who were within a few years of retirement when their employer went out of business. This is beyond heartbreaking.

14. I’ve witnessed employers try to fire an employee because they had a disability or they were considered “too old”.

15. I’ve witnessed people with significant pain and injury refuse to let that stop them from getting up and going to work every day with a smile on their face.

16. I’ve seen employers so loyal to their employees that I’ve been brought to tears by their integrity, kindness and generosity.

*Please note, these are findings of my own gathered over the last 16 years I’ve been in practice. They are my observations only and not necessarily all supported by science :) During this time I’ve remained passionate in my studies related to behavioural change, personal and professional transition and what motivates people. Ready to make a move and want some support to make it easier and more successful? I can help!

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