The Career Doctor™

Dear Career Doctor:

I have a BFA in Communications Design (graphic design). After 10 years of working as a graphic designer in print, I have decided to leave the field due to the HIGH stress and lack of human contact. I have taken the Myers-Briggs and The Holland Code. My type is INFJ or ISFJ and SAE for the Holland Code. The tests all tell me that I should work with people. That I would be happier counseling people or teaching them.

Ok, so I got a job as a TA in an Elementary School on Long Island. I thought I was doing well and maybe discovering that I do work well with kids but then I GOT A POOR REVIEW. The two teachers say that I am not enthusiastic enough. I don't dive in. They are right. I don't have the passion that they have.

So now I am looking into getting a Masters in Career Counseling or maybe a MSW. My questions are: 1) What skills and abilities does one need to make the best career counselor? 2) What work related strengths does one need? 3) What is so satisfying about being a career counselor (top five factors).

Help! I think I have Career Depression!

Dear R.:

You are asking excellent questions! Anyone who is thinking of changing fields should ask similar ones before investing in school or quitting a job. Here are my answers:

1. What skills and abilities does one need to make the best career counselor?

Anyone in the "helping professions" of counseling, social work, psychology or psychiatry needs the same basic skills: the ability to listen; a non-judgmental acceptance of people with problems and an optimistic, realistic and creative approach to problem-solving; and an open-minded attitude toward someone else's solution even if it would not be your own way of doing things.

2. What work-related strengths does one need?

A wide knowledge of the world of work and/or the willingness to research various fields, work issues and trends.

3. What is so satisfying about being a career counselor? Name the top five factors.

  • The ability to change peoples' lives for the better.
  • Being exposed to a wide variety of people and issues.
  • Being able to set your own fees and hours.
  • Being able to earn a good income doing something interesting and worthwhile.
  • Having to keep current about many areas of society and the economy.


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