Career Work

Career Work

One of the courses I teach regularly is Career Development.  As a result, that topic is regularly on my radar.  I really enjoy teaching the class and love even more – working with people who are making decisions about their career.  So, how does the process work?

Career development begins with knowing yourself.  (Does this blog have a theme or what?) How can we determine our best career fit if we don’t fully know ourselves?  Thus, the counseling process begins with working collaboratively to drill down to the true self – who God created you to be.  I use a combination of the Career Style Interview (CSI) developed by Savickas as well as results from familiar assessments like the MBTI or the Strong Interest Inventory.  Assessments are wonderful for identifying specific traits, interests and talents but if the goal is to get to know the true self, we have to go deeper and that’s where the CSI comes in.  It offers a creative way to explore who you really are, the foundational ideals that define you, environments in which you thrive, how you deal with problems, and the deeper preoccupations that drive you.  This gives context to the assessment results.

The second part of the career development process applies to clients who wish to include their faith journey.  For this, I use Gordon T Smith’s book, Courage and Calling.  It is the best resource I’ve found for walking through the process of discerning God’s call on our lives.  Not everyone is a reader so perhaps we use the book on audio or I share the videos I’ve created from the book for the class I teach…whatever works to get into the material.  Then, we digest it all according to your learning style: journaling, expressive projects or discussion.

The peak of the process is in stepping back and looking at all the data: the contextual picture of self, specific assessment results, and the spiritual principles learned (if we took that route).  At this stage, I provide interpretation and suggestions to help you create the vision for your future that feels most authentic to your God-given purpose.  Homework usually involves the research needed to craft your specific strategy – typically interviews with folks in your field of interest, visits to schools if further education is required, etc.  With this information, we are able to set out a step by step plan for walking in your vocation.

Incidentally, as we work through this career focus, it is not unusual to uncover issues that need counseling attention: holes in self knowledge, self esteem deficiencies, unaddressed losses or traumas that hinder living out your calling.  In such cases, you have the option to detour and attend to it, or simply make note of the need and commit to the work at a later date.  Overall, the career development process can be one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling experiences in counseling!