Chapter 4: Career Counseling

There is nothing wrong with you so please do not get worked up because you see the word counseling. When one seeks counsel, it is from an acknowledgement that you don’t have all the answers and so you turn to one who may have more answers than you do. This will make sense for those who are familiar with the Zone of Proximal Development by Psychologist Lev Vygostsky. According to him it is “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers.”

Career counseling is an important part of the career decision- making process and often requires the professional guidance of a Career Counselor. It provides guidance to individuals who are making career decisions for the first time or to those who are at a cross-roads and are considering changing their current career path. This involves four steps:

Step 1:

Identify your interest. Ask yourself questions such as:
Do I like to take care of people?
Do I like working with machines and things rather than people?

Develop a list of occupations that are likely to match your area of interest.

Assess your willingness to be trained.

Step 2:

Take note of what is happening in the business world today, especially in the industry in which you would like to get involved . You may find that your career will be shaped by what is happening around you.

Compare the criteria you set for yourself, (or know about yourself) with the information you gained on the careers investigated.

Step 3:

Having narrowed the viable options, decide on the one you wish to pursue.This may be done by conducting thorough interviews or research about the career.
Exposure to particular careers will lead you to a decision.

Step 4:

Formulate a plan of action that includes identifying things you will need to do to make yourself marketable in the career you have chosen. This may include changing your major, making regular contact with persons in that particular field or assessing how much time you will be required to spend in training.
Alternative Career Option: Self- Employment
In the search for a career path you may find that your work interest dictates that you would prefer working independently. This option entails the most significant financial commitment and risk. There are 3 main self-employment options:

Small business

This involves the production and marketing of products or services and usually requires a business facility and employees. One-person enterprise

This involves working on one’s own and is usually done at home. Consulting

This involves working on varied projects, often for different clients on separate premises.
Self-employment presents benefits such as the opportunity to be creative and to test your ideas. You may enjoy the feeling of being in control of your own time and work conditions. However, before making such a decision one must consider its disadvantages, which may include financial loss, long hours or unpredictable income

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