While some people consider a large paycheck to be the main motivation behind choosing a career, others are much more interested in discovering a pathway to real fulfillment. There’s nothing wrong with going after financial success, and many people would rather provide for their families and live a comfortable life than worry about being ‘happy’ at work. But others look for jobs that truly provide something for their peers, for those less fortunate than themselves or simply for the community as a whole. One well-respected career along these lines is that of a counselor. This job takes a ton of forms, with careers as a guidance counselor, a social worker, a drug counselor or a psychologist all similarly related. But regardless of the specific type of counseling you pursue, you’ll find there to be a great deal of satisfaction available. Here are just a few of the rewards that can be yours by pursuing a career in counseling.
First of all, you’ll have the chance to make a very real and lasting difference in people’s lives. In some jobs you get the sense that you make an impression on others, but as a counselor that is at the core of your work. People come to you because they need some sort of assistance, and your job is to figure out how to provide them with what they need. You could be helping them decide on their own future career, getting them to understand and come to terms with the death of a loved one or finally breaking their reliance on a devastating drug. Whatever the case may be, their situation will never be the same again. That’s a huge responsibility to shoulder, but also an incredible feeling when you see you’ve made a real and lasting impact on a life.
A fantastic side effect of this work is that you’ll learn a great deal about yourself in the process. Most counselors will tell you that the lessons you impart reveal something new for you in every instance, and that will often be the case. People will come to you for a wide range of reasons, but the ones you work with most frequently will probably remind you of yourself in some ways. Helping them work through their problems will give you potentially better access to dealing with your own. This will often be unexpected, but could be hugely beneficial as well.
Working in counseling also gives you many opportunities to get involved with research, and potentially further the sum of human understanding of your subject matter. Many counselors collect their various experiences over years with clients to publish books, and those books are sometimes used to train the next generation of counselors. Your unique view of the world, coupled with your client experiences will create a fresh perspective. Everyone that goes into counseling has a thirst for knowledge, and a desire to understand mankind in more depth. Being able to share that knowledge with others is a powerful reward of a lifelong career.
Finally, you’ll also have the opportunity to create your own working environment. Many counselors begin their careers working inside a private practice or a large institution, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Even if you have a masters degree in school counseling you don’t have to spend your whole career working inside the school system. Many counselors open up their own practice. Others travel the world and freelance as necessary. Yet others work only with individuals, and set a personal, flexible schedule. You can structure this career in a whole number of ways, and that freedom is very appealing to many who go into counseling.