Professional Career Guidance: When Should You Get It and What Kind Should You Get?

I’m a highly independent person and I don’t ask for advice easily. Some of this is my American upbringing. I come from Puritanical stock, people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps and suffer in stoic silence. It has taken me many years to recognize the importance of community and to realize that interdependence is a fact, not a choice. What I mean by this is that we are all in some sort of community that gives and takes, whether we recognize it or not. By trying to do everything on my own, I made my life more difficult and missed out on ideas, insights, and opportunities. I finally realized that life was too short to recreate the wheel when everyone else was buzzing around in cars and motorcycles.

In this vein, it’s important to think about the benefits of seeking professional career advice when you’re stuck or frustrated. In general, the most plentiful career advice you can get (friends and family) is full of bias, good intentions, and short-sighted results. Your immediate family, for example, has a LOT at stake in you being gainfully employed. The advice is also limited by a person’s experiences and not extensive data and research. And desperate Google searches can lead to a lot of data and listicles, but how much of it is relevant to you? How much of it is good? And how much is presented in a systematic way that you can easily act on? The answers are “very little,” “it depends,” and “not at all.”

Your career is a huge part of your life. It’s your livelihood, it pays the bills, it gives you a community, an identity, and something to talk about at parties. It can also give you meaning, fulfillment, and joy, but only if it’s a good fit for you. The average American spends over 1,800 hours a year–over 30% of their waking life–working. This is a lot of hours if you are doing something you don’t enjoy! And feeling disengaged at work is common, over 70% according to Gallup polls. This means that a majority of people have made career decisions that have led to poor outcomes. For something so important and so common to get wrong, career decision-making is ripe for professional guidance.

What type of career advice is for you?

Good, evidence-based, well-researched, and realistic advice is available to just about everyone. Below is what I recommend and offer.


Books Online Career Applications Virtual Group Coaching One-on-one Coaching
Costs Free or less than $20 $19.95/month $195 for 6-week course Starting at $137.50/hour
Benefits Systematic, easily accessible, useful. Interactive, fun, self-paced, systematic, useful. Interactive, peer support, group accountability, systematic, individualized. In real time and recorded. Highly individualized, focused, and specific guidance that starts where you are and moves you directly towards your goals.
Limitations Advice is general, no support, no accountability, no way to get questions answered Solitary, need a computer and internet connection, limited support and accountability Requires a time investment. Need a computer and internet connection. Requires an investment of time and resources.
Who are the good for? People who will do the recommended exercises. Highly motivated. People without complex challenges. People with limited funds People who like online programs and computer games, are motivated to complete the activities. People who want more accountability, want specific advice, and can commit to a 6-week process. People who thrive working one-on-one, have complex job challenges, and/or want more accountability.
Recommendations What Color Is Your Parachute, The Pathfinder, Career Grease My Career Design Studio Your Career Design Studio Free 30-mInute consultation
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