A week ago, I wrote about my trials at contacting career counseling somewhere that might be available to me. I finally got the courage again, this morning, to do a little searching online. Sent an email to someone at a local community college, who gives career coaching sessions. Then, I called someone relatively local who came up through a Google search.
We wound up talking on the phone for nearly an hour. While I was distracted a bit (at times) during the call, I felt good energy there. He asked some good questions, got me thinking about some things. He seemed genuine, honest. It'll set me back $100/week. His fee is less than the career coach I spoke to last year (he would charge $125/wk). His focus is broader as well. Most importantly, however, (though I liked the other guy as well) I felt more rapport with him, and a sense that this could really help me figure out my goals, and draw up a plan for reaching them.
I like a lot of what he had to say. For instance, he asked what I value in a career, in five words or less. Hmmm. Okay: Freedom; Creativity; Contribution (to society); Acknowledgement (applause); and Compensation. Later he asked about academia: Rank a faculty post according to your five values (1-10, 10 being the best). Okay: Freedom (8); Creativity (9); Contribution (10); Acknowledgement... hmmm (probably 6); Compensation... ha! (5). Good call there, I'd say. A faculty post still looks pretty good to me, 3 out of 5 up there; two, well, if I'm not compensated enough, I can make money in other ways perhaps (but it's not all about the money; we're not going hungry); and as for the "applause" well, perhaps that's something I ought to require less. Frankly, I think having a job I'm happy about would be a heck of a lot more applause than I have now.
He remarked: You may find that you are 100% committed to having a faculty post, in which case the time it takes will matter less. But the fact that you're measuring the time makes me think you may not be committed to it.
Look these observations may not be earth-shattering, but the conversation seemed productive to me. I also liked his comments regarding how coaching would differ from psychotherapy: Psychotherapy would focus a lot on your past, and the reasons you are the way you are. We would be focusing more on where you want to get, and how to get there. I've had 39 years to settle with who I am, and where I've been. I still prefer the motto: Everyone who got where they are, started where they were.
And today, this is where I am.