by Roberta Balagopal

Is career counselling the same as career advice? Yes… except that the career counsellor is not the one giving you advice. You are – after a process of self-discovery.

What does that all that mean? Consider the following common assumptions.

A career counsellor will help me find a job.

Maybe. But this is only one possibility out of many. Depending on where you are in your career and what you want, finding a job may not be the solution. Perhaps it is starting a business, or perhaps it is further study, or perhaps the right job is the one you are already in. Career counselling will help you identify what your next step will be, whatever path you eventually choose to take.

A career counsellor will tell me what career choices are good for me.

Not exactly. A career counsellor helps you see patterns in your choices, aptitudes, likes and dislikes, so when you are making a career choice, you know why you are making that choice. If you have made choices in the past that do not make you happy, you’ll be able to understand them, and, if you wish to, avoid repeating the pattern.

Career counselling will fix my work problems.

Not really possible. People are dynamic beings, not a machine that can be broken and fixed. Human beings working collectively have complex ways of communicating and doing things, so even if it were possible to fix an individual, there’s still everybody else. Career counselling will help you understand how human systems work, and where you fit into them as an individual.

Seeking advice is a decision making strategy, but rather similar to flipping a coin. No one else can get into your head and choose what is best for you. Career counselling is a process that helps train you to ultimately seek advice from the expert on you: Yourself.