Perhaps it is the last remaining vestiges of Catholicism holding on but I feel much more of a connection to counselling as a vocation rather than a career. I feel called to this work in the way that others feel called to service of other kinds - religious or otherwise. I feel that for my life to hold great meaning I must be of use to others, and desire to be of use in this way. We are healers, helpers, and guides - but never experts. Careers are for experts, vocations are for life. Do you see your career choice as a vocation? Would you like to? I am not a career counsellor but believe that how we work is a part of how we live and those conversations are often an important part of therapeutic conversations.
As with all elements of my counselling practice I consider notions of career counselling from a social justice perspective - particularly since standardized career testing fails to take into account various intersections of culture including abilities in the language of the test. They reign us in rather than let us fly.
When approaching career counselling with clients I consider the same questions I considered for myself when making my own career decisions:
How does my pursuit of social justice and the interrogation of systemic and colonial violence impact career story and career choice?
How can I as a counsellor halt the reproduction of oppressive systems for clients?
How do my morals, values and life story influence the creation of a praxis of radical tenderness within the framework of career counselling?
While studying career counselling in my masters program I was particularly struck by ideas of ‘constructivist’ career counselling - career counselling that take a more individual approach. From a paper I wrote:
Regardless of the chosen tool, [constructivist] approaches all make space for the same thing: the ability for clients to deconstruct, reconstruct and co-construct their career narratives within the larger framework of their lived experience. The perspective is unique to the individual, centers their experience and positions them as agents of change and decision maker within their own career (Kennedy, 2017, p. 11).