When someone says, “Career Counselling,” do your thoughts immediately veer towards a high school guidance counsellor asking what you want to do with your life? Or perhaps a tiny office in a government-sponsored program for the unemployed?
That’s understandable. The concept of career counselling extends across a pretty broad range of services and providers, and not all are created equal. A good career counsellor, however, can make all the difference! Whether you’re going through a rough patch in your current job or looking for gainful employment, an experienced and knowledgeable career counsellor will work with you to bridge the gap of dissatisfaction and anxiety, and will help you take the necessary steps towards success on your career journey.
Let’s explore some of the services offered by our counsellors that can help with the challenges you might be facing in your career.
Are You Currently Employed? Or Recently Unemployed?
If not, you can skim through this part or scroll down to the next section. Perhaps you’re someone who has a job but is experiencing frustration within your current role and/or organization? Or maybe your current employer is going through a period of uncertainty – layoffs could be imminent or even happening now? If you’re contemplating your future with your company for one reason or another, career counselling can be of great value. If it’s a matter of layoffs, downsizing, etc., this is a frequent source of anxiety, often a trigger for the anxiety and/or depression that you may have already been dealing with. Job loss is one of the biggest factors in mental health challenges for adults and isn’t something to be overlooked or taken lightly. Our counsellors are trained and experienced in helping clients deal with job loss, job uncertainty and job frustration.
Are You Embarking on Your First Career? Or on a New Career? Or Unsure Where to Go Next?
If this doesn’t apply to you, feel free to skip this paragraph and scroll down to the next one. If you’re just starting out in your career, or if you’re in the process of changing careers, seeking the advice and guidance of a career counsellor is a wise decision. Deep down, you probably know where you want to go. “Your heart knows,” as you’ve probably heard people tell you (perhaps over and over). But the mind can be a cluttered and confusing place, one that gets in our way and even makes us our own worst enemy at times. Making career decisions or even trying to gain a career direction can be frustrating when we have these conflicting thoughts. A counsellor can help you get your thoughts in order.
What Got You to This Point? What Factors Have Contributed to the Person You Are Today?
Many providers of career services use a toolbox approach, treating every problem more or less the same way with a series of generic tactics that often do little more than tick off a box somewhere in their mandate. While there are low-cost and ‘free’ services available that do this, in the end it will cost you in time and lack of progress if you can’t connect with the right counsellor who can get you where you want/need to go.
Our preferred method at Capital Choice Counselling in Ottawa is to start at a point in your life well before your formal career began. No, not that time when you sat down in the high school guidance counsellor’s office and talked about “what do you want to do with your life?” Though that conversation might have been meaningful – or not – the genus of your career occurred prior to that moment. Your personality began to form and evolve from your infancy onward, literally, and much of it was in place by the time you were in elementary school. This has informed so many of the things that are still true about you today: your hobbies, what you eat, the kind of music you like… in fact so many of the preferences, likes and dislikes that form a big part of who you are. In theory, that would also feed into what career path you would pursue.
But you may have found yourself in a system and structure – imposed by schools, parents and many others (a.k.a. “society”) – that told you what you “should” do, what you had to do, to fit in and be a productive member of society. The classes you took, the emphasis you (and your parents) placed on homework and extra-curricular activities… and then onward to the choice of college or university… and, if you’re already into your “adulthood” and career, then the choices you’ve made about where to work and what kind of employment to seek and do. Have you ever found these choices, options and mandates at odds with your core (true) personality? Chances are pretty high that you have. In fact, it’s quite common to have career challenges that stem from this very issue.
That’s why we’re big proponents of a holistic approach to career counselling. This process begins with a look at your formative years and what has made you the person who you are today. We talk about your parents, your family, your upbringing in general – but don’t worry, this isn’t a deep-dive analysis that seems to last forever and has you leaving each session in tears. On the contrary, we look at your past to help make an assessment of how you got here and what options will serve you best for where you want to go. No blame, no judgment, just an objective look that helps get a clearer picture and then move on.
For adults, it’s also helpful to look at your life experiences beyond your childhood or youth. Most of us can become cynical or jaded, to one degree or another, as the years pass by and our experienced are compounded. What we once wanted to do in life, the things that used to make us interested or excited, might no longer have that effect. But it’s worth looking at what that “spark” used to be, not just for nostalgia’s sake but for the purpose of being able to find that passion once again! That’s what is really at the heart of career angst and frustration: the ability – or lack thereof – to find gainful employment in a role that fulfills our true needs and desires.
What Else Will Help Us Get You There?
In addition to looking at your past – which, we assure you, will not be a lengthy process that gets you bogged down or detoured – we have a number of other ways to discover the paths you can pursue (and get paid in the process, of course).
“Do you use career assessment tests?” That’s a question that we are frequently asked. We have a number of tests at our disposal, including aptitude and personality tests. With your approval, we’ll use these tests as part of the process to get to know what makes you you and what direction(s) you might best pursue. At the end of the day, however, these tests are not the final arbiter of anything. We’ll talk with you about the results and what that might mean for yourself and your future. That discussion will take place within the larger context of what got you here and where you’d like to go. Tests are somewhat more helpful for people who aren’t quite sure where to go next, though we still caution against taking any action simply because a test gave you a result. You are the final judge and jury in your life – you and you alone. You’re the one at the command centre, and all actions are up to you. Our role is to act as a guide and help facilitate the decisions you make, with as much information as possible and necessary to make a better decision.
Beyond the tests and assessments, a great way to look at careers is with a blue-sky approach. Once we’ve learned about the experiences we’ve had and the emotional “baggage” that we’ve brought with us to this point, we can develop ways to shed that baggage and begin imagining life more like a child again. Children tend to see life as being filled with possibilities. As life happens around us and to us, we tend to lose sight of that as we get older, eventually settling into all-too-familiar ways of thinking that incorporate less of what’s possible and focus more on what isn’t possible. A career counsellor can sit with you across a series of sessions to help you train your thoughts towards the “possible” once again.
How Can Capital Choice Counselling Help?
At Capital Choice Counselling in Ottawa, we offer career counselling services from a psychological approach. Our process involves talking about you as an unique person, not someone to whom a series of cookie-cutter tactics can or should be applied. We talk with you about how you came to be the person you are today, with the set of life experiences that you bring with you. And we work with you to develop and get to work on a series of goals that will take your career journey on a better track. Give us a call or use our contact form today to get started.