Friday, June 26, 2009

why the career guidance you got at school is rubbish

I'm constantly amazed at what school career guidance counsellors advise pupils to do with their lives. My geography teacher doubled up as a guidance counsellor and you wouldn't exactly call him a people person. He advised me that I wasn't academic and to work in the local chocolate factory because with double shifts I could coin it in. He also gave me little information cards about what it's like to work in a stables and in a hospital.

A client remembers being advised by a nun guidance counsellor to be an airhostess as she was pretty with lovely hands!

A well regarded private boys school had a career counsellor who smoked liked a chimney and allowed the pupils to have a fag with him whilst they chewed the cud over suitable jobs. He was very popular. It appears he advised most of them to get into the public sector because once you're in, they can't get rid of you.

A southside fee paying girls school recommended marrying young whilst they still had their youthful charm to avoid being left on the shelf.

I'm sure there are lots of schools who have responsible, informed guidance counsellors but I haven't heard about them yet.

Unfortunately the early bad and dispiriting experiences of trying to figure out your vocation has put many people off career guidance in later life. When the economy was in full swing, it was acceptable to job hop until you found a job you liked. It was a piece of cake to get interviews due to the lack of candidates available so you could talk your way into all sorts of jobs. You could try your hand at a number of things, until you stumbled upon work that suited you.

Now people are finding interviews hard to come by and much more challenging than before once they do get in front of the hiring manager. It's really tough to get through an interview if you don't know what you want to do and don't know what motivates you. Because a good interviewer challenges how you think about yourself and what you're like when you are at your best and where you fall down.

The only way to get good at doing interviews is to really be sure what it is you want to do with your career. I'm not talking about your absolute ideal dream job, rather a range of jobs that suit your temperament first and foremost, as there's no such thing as only one ideal job match.

It's really hard to figure that out on your own and neither should you expect to be able to do it alone. Family and friends may be useful but they don't exactly give unbiased advice and have limited knowledge of the range of job options out there. Adult career counsellors or coaches can guide you to better choices and extend your options so that you have a greater chance of finding work when times are tough, as they are now.

So try not to be put off by earlier bad career advice, as you will find it a rewarding experience if you are in the hands of a professional career coach, and if they do advise you that being an airhostess is a good match it won't be because they think you have nice hands!

1 comment:

  1. the guidance teacher told me to get into the bank cos i liked maths. no encouragement whatsover to go to college to study maths which i ended up doing after the bank proved a disaster. wish i had got sound career advice years ago