Career Counselling isn’t just for students seeking direction (though, it is absolutely also for them). With the exception of people who are already happily and successfully implementing a solid, fulfilling career plan, anyone else who works - or intends to - can benefit from counsel. The specific challenges you’re facing will determine the direction and scope of your particular career or workplace counselling experience.
If any of the following applies to you, please consider making the call:
Your first session serves as an opportunity for you and your counsellor to get to know one another. You’re free to ask any questions you like - you need to feel confident in the professional with whom you’ll be building your plan for a better career and life. Primarily though, this is your first opportunity to lay everything out as you see it: why you came in, your current struggles/obstacles, where you’re coming from, what you see as your options right now, and most importantly, where you’d like to be. This information is your starting point, and helps your counsellor design the best possible plan for your work together.
If you’re seeking direction, your career counsellor will help you to step outside of the confines of your current situation and, through strategic questions and targeted, in-depth conversations, they can help you to see options and viewpoints you may not have previously considered. They can help you find clarity and focus in identifying what’s holding you back, and help you tune in on the things you really value. Self-awareness is key in finding your purpose or passion, and it’s central to building a clear, actionable, and exciting plan for your life’s work. This is true whether you’re continuing to grow in your current career, or aiming to transition into an entirely new line of work.
Deciding to make a change in your career can be a very stressful and complicated endeavour, even when everything is going exceptionally well (often, especially then). Change is difficult, and implementing it can be nerve-wracking. The prospect of career change can cause you to question everything you thought you knew about yourself. Am I qualified enough? What if I fail? Could things turn out worse on this new path? I’m not happy now, but I know what to expect in this role, whereas X or Y are complete unknowns. Am I a risk taker? Am I worthy? I don’t know where to start. Can I do it?
Of course you can.
The role of career counselling is to help you sort out as many of the unknowns as possible, so you feel confident and empowered to move forward along the new plan of action you set for yourself in this process. We identify and problem-solve potential obstacles together, navigate difficult decisions and narrow down options that fit you best, set practical actions for you to take between sessions that build on where you need to be to move forward successfully, and follow an accountability plan to support the goals you’ve chosen.
Career counselling is solutions-focused. We’ll help you untie the knots and make sense of what might now seem at best vague and nebulous, and at worst, crushingly paralyzing. The old adage of “fail to plan, plan to fail” is ever true, but it takes more than any plan. It needs to be YOUR plan: informed, strategic, supported, realistic, and representative of who you are and what you want in life.
Workplace relationship counselling differs somewhat from typical career counselling, in that its focus is interpersonal in nature. You’re not necessarily looking for a change in career - the work itself isn’t the problem, so much as the people.
Working in an environment where bosses, colleagues, clients, patients, or customers are hostile - or even abusive - can make even the best job intolerable. If you are dealing with harassment, bullying or abuse, it’s rarely as simple as reporting to HR. While good people may work there, it’s always worth remembering that HR exists to protect the company above all else. And human relationships are not so straightforward. Threats from management or written reprimands do not resolve conflicts or foster relationship repair.
People who find themselves in toxic work relationships actually tend to exhibit a lot of the same symptoms as people in domestic abusive relationships. In particular, codependency, anxiety, depression, and feelings of helplessness. This may be shocking to consider, because clearly the situation is very different, but it’s something we see often.
The situation need not even be so extreme - it may just be the case of someone in your workplace whom you can’t stand working with. You may be dealing with manipulation, passive-aggression, racism, ageism, or sexism. You may be witnessing mistreatment of others and feel powerless to do anything about it. You may feel like you’re not listened to or respected yourself. Your boss or a colleague may be taking credit for your work. You may be required by your boss to compromise your values, health or safety. The ways in which people can be rotten to one another are virtually limitless.
Workplace relationship counselling can help you to determine the best course of action for you and your specific situation. If your choice is to stay, we can help you to develop (and practice) important skills and strategies for dealing with these people in a way that avoids escalation and protects your well-being in the process. These tools are helpful in all relationships, but are vital in those that are problematic and potentially damaging.
The marriage of work and stress is so common, many people just assume that it’s how things are - how they should be, even. People brag about being stressed out by their work, as if it’s an indicator of their dedication or strong work ethic. Think for a moment about who benefits from that sort of belief (hint: it’s not you, or the people you care about).
Work should be challenging at times, as life is, but the stress of it shouldn’t be so all-consuming that it damages your quality of life, mental health, and important personal relationships. Some jobs are inherently stressful, like for example, health professionals, first responders, business owners, etc. But the same rule applies: if you’re feeling overwhelmed or burned out, it’s time to do something about it.
Workplace stress counselling can help people whose jobs are taking more than they’re giving. This may be by way of identifying new goals, learning new coping skills, rediscovering your passion for the work, creating a plan to pursue a new passion, re-centering yourself and creating a better work-life balance, or any number of other potential avenues for improvement. What this form of counselling looks like for you will depend on who you are, what you do, where your stress is coming from, and where you want to be. There’s no book you can just read that will fix everything - this is your life, and the whole point is to help you take ownership of it.
Burned out, anxious, depressed and stressed is not how you need to live your life. You can make a good living AND have a good life. It just takes a bit of work, a lot of introspection, some planning, some learning, and trying something you haven’t tried before.