Regular readers of this blog may recall an anecdote about an anti-capitalist Harvard student who gave away all his money by throwing $100 bills onto the street, only to, soon after, take a job as a banker, where he likes his job. No career counselor would have encouraged him to pursue such a career.
Here's another such story. I know a member of the legislature in a major state whom no career counselor could have advised to pursue a career as a politician:
-- She strikes me as of only average intelligence.
-- She does not have charisma.
-- Although it's her first term, my best visual description of her is "withered old nun."
-- She is very hard of hearing, wearing hearing aids.
-- She is not a good public speaker.
-- She is a Democrat in a jurisdiction that is half Republican.
Yet she was recently elected to a major state's legislature and loves her job. I cannot imagine a career counselor who would have encouraged her to consider such a career.
And here's something else that makes me question the value of career counselors:
Most career counselors encourage people to "pursue your dreams." But most dreams are long-shots: performing, writing, fashion design, be the next Oprah, etc. For every 100 people counseled by career counselors who hold such dreams, 99 never earn an even bare middle-class living from a related pursuit. Sure, some of them may take on those activities as hobbies, but a person is paying a career counselor to help them find a career, not a hobby. The person knows he can paint canvases as a hobby.
The best way, in my view, to find a career is to read my book, Cool Careers for Dummies. (This is not an attempt to extract money from you. Remember, I am a career counselor. This post can only discourage you from wanting to see me. And I only get $1 a book in royalty (0 if you buy it used) and this post will probably result in no more than a handful of sales.) It contains quick profiles of 500+ careers and self-employment opportunities, plus practical, structured advice on how to get the training and land the job; e.g., the chapters, "The Right Resume in Less Time," "30 Days to a Good Job" and "Overcoming Procrastination."