Climbing Out of the Box:
Vocational Transformational Consulting vs.
Traditional Career Counseling
By Richard L. Roberts, PhD
Traditional career counseling, emerging out of the early 1900’s, has its roots in industrial employee selection. As such, most testing instruments developed and counseling methodologies were focused more on assisting the company rather than the individual. To this day, most career counselors utilize methods and instruments with a history in personnel selection.
As a result, career guidance professionals tend to focus individuals on evaluating alternative careers, jobs or college majors as compared to existing job requirements in various industries. In other words, the focus, though working more with individuals, still is on matching current skills as reflected on your resume and previous job history to present careers. Which job will pay better or be a smarter choice based on your work background? In what industry or company will your chances of success be greatest?
Human beings are not simply to be viewed as commodities however. It is not just about replacing a part in a machine as it can often feel like to a client. It is no longer providing a service to simply step back and objectively measure individual traits and then match them to occupational demands in some logical fashion.
Of course, traditional career guidance counseling does have a contribution to make. It is important to gain objective insight into career or educational options, identify skills, planning career changes. Of course, it also helps at a certain point for those individuals whose path involves job finding to get up to speed at the latest job finding skills including locating jobs, writing resumes, interview skills and salary negotiation.
In contrast, vocational consulting is a term used to distinguish itself from mainstream career counseling. The true definition of Vocation is Calling. Vocational consulting has its primary focus on the evolution of the individual and identifying one’s special purpose in life. Topics addressed in vocational work include such questions as: What is my purpose or calling? What are my true talents (not necessarily reflected in my work history)? How can I realize my full potential? What career path will allow me to ultimately be most successful? How can I make a real difference with my talents and unique personal characteristics?
While career counseling can certainly assist an individual in making a career change or job change, it does not necessarily dig deeper to clarify one’s soul’s purpose and true vocation. Traditional methods also don’t usually focus on developing an overall understanding of personal destiny, integrating major life events into the underlying life themes tied to individuation and self-actualization.
True fulfillment in life does not come from finding another job, or even changing careers. This just masks the root cause of discontent. Sure it may work for a while, but without deeper, transformational oriented vocational work, the same patterns will repeat themselves. Finding another job in times like these only puts off the inevitable and leaves that nagging feeling that something vital is missing.
Work for the majority is often just a compromise – selling one’s valuable time in exchange for money. These individuals actually are actively denying their greater gifts, their passions and the chance to make a real difference with their life. It is also losing sight of your true chances for success.
For those who are truly interested in living to their full potential, in giving their gifts and making a difference with their lives, in-depth vocational evaluation is essential. This process reaches beyond the limitations of traditional career counseling and certainly goes beyond simple aptitude testing or job findings skills. A more expanded view of who you can surface quite naturally as is a deeper self-understanding of your own process of individuation or self-actualization.
Bottom line is: if you are a person who is interested in aligning your personality with your soul, in discovering your true calling and the Work you were born to do and to fulfilling your greater destiny, the career counselor you choose definitely matters. It is still essential of course that the counselor you choose have a background in traditional methods of career assessment and job finding skills so they can assist you to integrate your talents and deeper calling into the existing marketplace.
However, more importantly, the counselor you choose must be verse in methods to facilitate deeper self-exploration in order to uncover your true gifts, greatest passions and the Work you were born for. This counselor needs to understand the process of self-transformation and the process of integrating vocation (or calling) with the soul’s evolution. In addition, they must have undergone a transformational journey themselves if they are to guide you through the same process.