What is your industry’s greatest flaw?
Without beating around the bush too much, I can easily say that my industry’s greatest flaw is lack of recognition. Few people outside the industry actually know what Career Development is, and even fewer can actually describe what Career Development Practitioners actually do. When I meet new people outside of my world of work, and they ask what I do, I sigh because I know I have to tell a story to get them to understand. If I don’t have the time, or really don’t feel like getting into it, I say I work in an office, or I’m a paper-pusher. Otherwise it goes something like this: “Remember when you were in school, and didn’t know what you wanted to do for a career? Then the guidance/career counsellor gave you a test to take?… Yeah, I didn’t follow its advice either, but that’s essentially what I do.” It’s usually followed by a few “ahs” and nods of semi-understanding. I’ve even thought of changing jobs at many points just so I could say something like “I fix cars”, or “I breed and raise sea monkeys for export.”
Thankfully there have been a number of initiatives in the past few years to fix this flaw, and raise the profile of the industry. One of our national associations has been spreading the use of the #careerdevelopmentmatters hashtag on social media, and provincial organizations have started instituting certification for Career Development Practitioners so we can have something to hang on our walls, and show off to our clients. I am hopeful that someday soon, I will be able to say “I am a Career Development Practitioner,” and people will know what that means.
Much like Kelso’s father, no one really understands what I do either.