Plan C

09Aug08

Hello all. It’s been awhile, which is just an indication that I’ve been slacking off in my personal life. Obviously, I’ve been spending far too much time proofing, tweeting, blogging, and more blogging.

I’ve also been trying to cook more often (like, more often than never). My latest attempt was a batch of crunchy breaded eggplant sticks, a recipe passed along to me by Charlotte.

They actually ended up quite delicious.

The salmon cakes…not so much. ::sigh:: C’est la vie.

So, aside from the usual, I’ve also been contemplating my next career move (what else is new…).

This may seem out-of-left-field, but I’m thinking counseling.

The idea was first presented to me when my mother suggested that I’d make a good couples counselor. An intriguing idea, and something I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy, but I had an aha! moment when, from there, it occurred to me that I could even pursue career counseling. When I suggested it to Michael, he didn’t laugh me out of the condo, or start whining about how unfocused I was being again. Instead, he said: “I could see you doing that.” Which emboldened me. And mad me think:

I’ve been enjoying my work on Freelancedom, even if — at times — I wonder if I’m typing into the void. It occurred to me that pursuing a Masters in counseling, and an eventual…um…career in career/vocational counseling, could legitimize my blogging work, and even make me more attractive to book publishers if I ever decided to do that path. In short, I’d be able to help people in a way I enjoyed while, in an entirely connected way, continue to further my writing career.

Since this insane leap of the imagination, I’ve been researching like crazy. I’ve been looking into affordable Masters programs in counseling, and have contacted the department chairs of several programs, already receiving invitations to chat from two of them. I’ve also e-mailed five career counselors in NYC, begging for informational interviews.

On the flip side, I’ve also wondered if pursuing certification as a life coach would be a better idea, especially considering my non-psychological background (unless you count all those years of therapy…). I also like all the options for specialization within the life coach path. The only thing I worry about is people’s perceptions of life coaches, as less respected than mental health professionals. In this vein, I’ve e-mailed two life coaches in the area, also begging for informational interviews, and have already received back a positive response from one of them…

So that’s me lately.

Oh! If you’ve made it this far, I should also mention that I just came back from Cirque du Soleil, and that it was amazing. It’s the second time I’ve seen it (the first was about five years ago), and it appears to have only gotten better. In fact, if I lived in Las Vegas, I would insist upon seeing it every night. Michael enjoyed it as well, and is already suggesting that we go see Wintuk in the late fall/early winter. Rock the house.

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7 Responses to “Plan C”

  1. 1 neonfoxtongue

    Wow. I’m so glad you wrote about this, because I’ve been having similar thoughts lately. Our move to London has really helped (forced?) me to work out what I want out of the work aspect of my life. I’ve figured out quite a few things – stuff I would put under the ‘what I need’ heading – but I don’t have much under the ‘what I could do’ heading yet. Baby steps, baby steps.

    But one thing I have been seriously considering is training as a facilitator. Someone who, as a neutral party, comes into an organisation and through a meeting or series of meetings helps it to sort out a problem or strategize a plan, etc. I’ve always enjoyed public speaking and problem solving/brainstorming out loud, so I think it would be a good fit for me. And there is an element of ‘counseling’ to it – which is a career path I scored high on when I did the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (http://www.pearsonassessments.com/tests/ciss.htm) last year. I’ve thought of life coaching too, but have the same reservations as you do, so I’d love to hear about the results of the interviews if you get them.
    The one thing that has me hesitating about the facilitation thing is related to my self-confidence about experience. I think I’m pretty good at sussing out a situation and the personalities involved (and training would help even more with that), but how do I convince other people that I’m the right person to come into their workplace and help them? I think it’s because almost all the facilitators I’ve met have been older and had a full career (usually in the field in which they primarily facilitate) prior to doing the facilitation thing full time, so they seem to have have that confidence that only years of experience can bring. As a young freelancer, I wonder if you run into this issue? How do you convince yourself (and thereby others) that you can do the job? Maybe this is something you could address on Freelancedom? (Rest assured that I’m reading and I’m sure others are too!)

    Okay – long comment, sorry. I should just be writing about this on my own blog, shouldn’t I?
    Anyway – good luck with your research. For what it’s worth, I also think you’d be a good career counselor. Look what you got out of me after one blog post! 🙂

  2. @neon: It’s so funny that you mention that newcomer’s feeling of inferiority upon entrance to any new career.

    I remember that, during my first post-college job (I was editor — really a glorified proofreader/word processor — to an environmental engineering firm down on scary Wall Street), I was terrified at being the youngest person in an office full of people that seemed tailor-made for the corporate work world. After a time, though, it became clear to me that most people were bullshitting their way through their jobs. No matter what level you’re at, in a way you’re on an even playing field, learning as you go ( and really, throwing yourself into something is the best way to learn).

    Beyond that, it’s as simple as changing your mindset, and taking the steps necessary to feel confident in your abilities.

    Whoa, you’re right. That IS a good topic for Freelancedom.

    But before I go there, let me leave you with this: As an outside consultant, you’re providing a service that your client apparently can’t provide for themselves. You’re the expert! If you can talk the talk and present yourself as someone who knows her shit, potential clients (who honestly don’t know any better, anyway) will have no reason to question your legitimacy. And then you’ll only vindicate their belief in you when you do that kick-ass job.

    Hurrah for new career steps! I’ll let you know what I find out about the coaching field.

  3. i think life coaches are less respected in general than certified career counselors. when i think of career counselors, i imagine them dealing with people who are mostly capable but aren’t sure how to make the most of their strengths/pick the right path. when i think of life coaches, i imagine them dealing with rich people who whine a lot. just my preconceptions, though.

  4. 4 Alicia

    Um, so when are you having Matthew and I over for dinner? We’ll gladly partake in those tasty eggplant breadsticks.

    Oh, and my two cents – go counseling instead of life coach. I know two people from college who are life coaches, and I always joke that one should probably have lived their life a bit (had kids, been financially successful, traveled the world etc.) before they coach others. Plus, it’s kinda hokey, and they always want you to come to their silly seminars. Counselors are more legit and less laughable.

  5. @erica & alicia: I guess the reason I’m thinking of career coaching over career counseling is the fact that:

    Coaches seem to have more opportunity to specialize, and I’m all about specialization and focus, and

    There’s no actual degree in Career Counseling. I would have to pursue a Masters in Counseling (general), a curriculum that usually only offers a single career counseling course.

    Plus, I’m scared of possibly failing the GREs, and even just of going back to school. I’m such a crappy student! Especially when I have to take required courses that have no direct relation to my field of choice.

    I wish one of the five career counselors I e-mailed would e-mail me back, so that I could pick their brain about their background and training…

  6. 6 Alicia

    You’d totally be fine with the GREs, but the whole degree not matching up thing is certainly a concern. I’ll bet someone will call you back. It’s summer, so perhaps they’re away on vacation. They wouldn’t be very good career counselors if they didn’t call back someone who is thinking about making a career shift into career counseling.


  1. 1 Long Overdue Thank-Yous » Joyful Abode

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