Archive for May, 2012

Passion as career indicator

May 23, 2012

I’ve learned to ask clients what they care about.  What they really, really care about.

What would you make a speech about?

What influences your vote?

How would you change the world?

And everyone has an answer.  Education, kids, alternative medicine, the elderly, solar power – these are a few of the answers I’ve heard recently.  These passions just may be a clue in determining an exciting career or life design for you.

One such person was Rachel Carson, born May 27, 1907.  Trained as a biologist, she was an employee of the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries.  You have to wonder what that was like, in the era when women were secretaries.

Carson started documenting the damage done to the environment by synthetic pesticides and published her runaway best-seller, Silent Spring, in 1962.

I can remember reading the book as a college student and being horrified.  It was my first inkling that our individual actions had dire consequences for Mother Earth.  (How naive that sentence looks today!)

Anyway, Carson changed the world by raising our awareness.  DDT was banned and the Environmental Protection Agency was founded.

So this May 27, give a thought to Rachel Carson on her 105th birthday.  And then think about your pet passion and consider changing the world.

Happy Birthday, Ms. Carson.  And thank you.

Here’s to you, Studs Terkel

May 15, 2012

Workers of the world, let’s stop to pay tribute to Studs Terkel, born May 16, 1912.  A journalist by training, his great achievement was interviews of workers in many fields and what they liked/didn’t like about their jobs.  Not scientific, not empirically tested, yet this classic, Working, still produces nods of recognition when the reader finds an area of common interest.

Thanks for producing this honest, intense look at workers, Studs.  As you celebrate your hundredth birthday in the next life wherever you are, you might be interested to know that many individuals and organizations struggle to do what you did – describe the world of work.  Today, you would love to browse the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (, doubtless looking for anecdotes to enliven the statistical content.

It’s Official!

May 10, 2012

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been approved for recertification by the National Board of Certified Counselors for a five-year period.

So yes, I can keep those initials after my name:  NCC (Nationally Certified Counselor), NCCC (Nationally Certified Career Counselor).

It’s challenging to get the credential in the first place, and then it’s somewhat challenging to keep it.

To keep the right to use those initials, one must complete a number of hours of continuing education within the five year period and also adhere to the ethical standards of the organization and the profession.

Actually, I love doing those things.  Going to conferences and one-day workshops or doing self-study programs are fun and always enlightening to me.  There is so much to be learned, especially given the information and technology that swirl about us.

Ethics?  There’s no other way to be.  Keeping confidential what clients share, keeping records, and recognizing limitations add up to being a decent human being, I hope.  It’s a commitment I take seriously. The great counselors with whom I’ve worked tend to view their field as a spiritual calling, which is of course totally compatible with ethical standards.

So I’m proud of my affiliation with NBCC and proud to show off those initials for another five years.

Meanwhile, if you are searching for a counselor in a number of specialty areas, don’t forget to consult for names of members in your area.

Stay-at-home Parents: plan ahead

May 7, 2012

Years ago, a colleague and I presented a workshop for a stay-at-home mom’s group.  We called it Your Future Resume.  I’ve not forgotten the incredibly focused, organized, dedicated group.  They had almost everything in order – systems for sorting socks, nutritional information, vast libraries of advice, and a support network to be envied.

They were lacking one thing – an answer for that future interview question, “What were you doing after you left your last job?”

When I mentioned this (a bit apologetically, for I had been in their shoes), I was met with cries of

  • Being a mom is a job,
  • I have been contributing to society by raising great kids.
  • Times are changing.  They will understand that.

Well, I certainly hope so.  I hope the role of stay-at-home parenting has become more recognized and respected.  But in those cases where it is not valued, are you ready to answer that question?  What will your future resume state?
I think this is a conversation worth having.  Any parents who have re-entered the workplace after an absence, please feel free to share your experiences.  How did you explain this time period?  How was it received?