Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Think You Should See Someone

Complain too much about your career and eventually someone you know will utter this phrase.  Although I’m generally opposed to taking advice from strangers, I did agree to see a career counselor after my husband suggested it.  I’m not in the habit of taking advice from my husband either, but I was looking for an easy answer.  I hoped that this alleged career expert would take one glance at me and say, “I know exactly what you should do! Here’s a job application.”  Looking back, I probably should've gone to a psychic instead.

My initial meeting with the career counselor was the equivalent of a bad first date.  I knew right away that it wasn’t going to work out between us, but I waited four sessions before ending it in an email.  Here, I've summarized the deal-breakers:

1.) It was a long-distance relationship

Our counseling sessions took place at her apartment in Queens.  Getting there required spending forty minutes squeezed into a packed subway car during rush hour.

2.) High cheese factor

Half of everything she said demanded an eye roll.  As soon as I walked through the door, she congratulated me for taking the first step toward living with greater joy.  She then proceeded to ramble for five minutes about the mind-body-spirit connection.  I kept expecting her to pop in a CD of Native American flute music and try to heal me with crystals.

3.) I can’t take serious advice from an optimist

Optimists are great for lightening the mood, but I’m hesitant to take advice from them.  Problems are rarely solved by thinking happy thoughts and ignoring the worst case.

4.) Her poetry

When I Googled her, I came across some poetry she had written.  Without exception, her poems had trite, one-word titles such as Heart, Hope, and Love.  I’m sorry, but I just can’t respect someone who writes a poem entitled “Love.”

5.) Her policy of embracing mediocrity

Her motto was, “It's okay to be not good at something.”  Actually, this was probably her best advice.  I agree that you shouldn’t allow a fear of failure to stop you from even trying, but at the same time, fear is a powerful motivator.  If you’re not afraid of being mediocre, then, well, you probably are.

Overall, the experience taught me that there are no easy answers.  Unfortunately, you can’t just pay a stranger to tell you what to do with your life.  If you disagree, send me a check and I’ll choose a career for you.  Satisfaction not guaranteed.

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