Career Counseling: work – passion or duty

Americans have come to expect work to be a source of meaning in their lives, a job is now a career or a calling. Young people prioritize achieving one’s career passion higher than making money or getting married and consider finding a fulfilling job almost three times more important than having a family.

Unfortunately, most people are guaranteed to fail in this pursuit. Even people who love their jobs will report they must do thankless tasks from time to time. Few experience nonstop bliss, where sheer passion sustains them through long hours on the job. Our high-octane work culture has serious consequences, with Americans overall today engaging in fewer extracurricular social activities than in previous generations.

Consider rejecting the notion that work should consume our lives, define and give meaning to them, and see it instead as an opportunity to fulfill something larger, namely our duty, which can eventually lead to fulfillment. Duty is rooted in self understanding. Frankly assess what you can do, how you are best equipped to serve, and work. Hearing from early childhood that you can be anything you want can be oppressive. Identify the several jobs or roles you are called to do — inside and outside the home — and do them well.

Career Counseling: women and ageism

Most companies don’t give ageism the same attention as other forms of bias. Nearly two out of three workers in the United States over the age of 45 experienced or witnessed age discrimination. Fifty-five percent say discrimination starts in their 50s. Women over 50 experience it earlier than their male colleagues. As women show visible signs of aging in a society that emphasizes the importance of beauty and youth, they’re perceived as less competent and less valuable in the workplace. These assumptions—often unchallenged—form the basis of decision-making about hiring, firing, and promoting. As a result, older women are diminished, marginalized, and pushed out. It happens every single day, but it’s not on most people’s radar. That’s because companies often disguise these terminations as downsizing, consolidation, and other reasons to mask the unfairness and potential legal liability.

Career Counseling: discrimination and racism at work

Minority workers regularly report feeling discriminated against at work and spending an extraordinary amount of daily energy fighting racist comments and marginalization at what is supposed to be a "professional and inclusive" work environment.  An article about a local company describes "predominantly white leadership struggling with issues of race and discrimination", and a work environment where  "race is a constant issue, leaving the relatively few black employees often feeling marginalized and sometimes discriminated against'.

"... they were frequently the only black person in meetings and often felt their input was not valued when decisions were being made. And an overall lack of racial diversity, they said, meant it was not uncommon for negative stereotypes to creep into work discussions or marketing pitches involving black athletes, sometimes creating backlash outside the company."

Career Counseling, Financial Therapy, Life Transitions: struggles of Gen X women

Gen X women (born between 1965 and 1984) are really struggling with issues in their personal lives and relationships, dealing with their finances, and managing their careers. “They’re smart. They’re grateful for what they have. They’re also exhausted. Some of them are terrified. A few of them are wondering what the point is.”

Career Counseling, Financial Therapy, Brainspotting Therapy: procrastination is not laziness

Procrastination is about emotional regulation and not laziness. It's a way to cope with difficult emotions and negative moods around certain tasks. We can't tell ourselves to just stop procrastinating, we have to rewire our brain to find healthier ways to manage the uncomfortable feelings of boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond. Counseling and Brainspotting Therapy can help people develop awareness and process challenging feelings.

Career counseling: toxic workplaces

Stress caused by workplace conditions can sicken workers mentally and physically. American workers often struggle to achieve work-life balance, unable to find enough time to spend with their partner, play with their children, or walk the dog. “Self-care” may consist of slumping on the couch, shades drawn, a six-pack or jumbo glass of wine at the ready, binging on Netflix. Career counselors can help their clients cope by finding more compatible work environments or by changing their current positions.

Could toxic workplaces be killing your clients?

Career Counseling, Life Transitions: life design

Here is an interesting TEDx Talk about applying product design principles to redesigning your life. Bill Burnett discusses some of our dysfunctional beliefs related to finding our passion and how they prevent us from moving forward. His five ideas on how to re-design your life are: 1) connect the dots between your values and what you do; 2) understanding 'gravity' problems that you just have to live with; 3) imagining three alternate lives for yourself; 4) prototyping your future life by talking to people who are already living it and trying it on; and 5) choosing well by not getting overloaded by too many options and by keeping your peripheral vision open. Career counseling and general mental health counseling can help people work through this process.