The work career counselors perform can often be overwhelming. This stress can often be intensified for those of us who are deeply empathetic. In addition to stress from daily appointments and interactions, there are often many other stress factors that come from working within complex organizational settings like colleges and universities as well as taking on additional expectations for expanded programs and services.
In the New Breed of Career Services Professional: What’s in the Secret Sauce of Success, Manny Contomanolis, Senior Associate Vice President for Employer Engagement and Career Design at Northeastern University states, “Growing and shifting pressures, demands and priorities call for a new kind of leader and practitioner. Core competencies essential to success in any role of course remain, but a new balance of skills, competencies, traits, abilities and values are increasingly called for as the profession adapts to the external and internal forces of change in higher education.” Contomanolis refers to career practitioners as “specialized generalists/generalized specialists,” evangelists, social media experts, tech savvy, community organizers, project managers, business development partners, recruiter or employer consultants, as well as creative risk takers.
The young adults career counselors serve in the college/university system are becoming increasingly stressed themselves, as presented in results from the National Stress Survey, an annual analysis by Harris Interactive for the American Psychological Association. The survey revealed that 35 percent of adults polled since 2007 reported feeling more stress than they did in the previous year. On a scale of 1 to 10, the millennial generation stood at a stress level of 5.4, significantly higher than the adult national average of 4.9. Federman (2017) highlights that “within the year prior to being surveyed, 17 percent of surveyed students felt so depressed it was difficult to function, 22 percent felt overwhelming anxiety, and 19 percent felt overwhelmed by all they had to do.” He points out the burden of increased financial debt, increased use of social media which impacts self-esteem, and decreased exposure to managing real relationships has become a mounting problem for millennials. These high levels of stress experienced by counseling students and their clients can contribute to a heightened sense of urgency for counselor educators and career counselors as they respond to the growing demands of the population.
It is difficult to serve students and take care of others when we have not attended to our own needs. This means that counselor educators need to be proactive in managing their own work stress and teach future career counselors how to manage their work stress in order to care for others effectively. Below are some strategies for self-implementation (but also skills to be passed on to career counseling students).
10 Ways to Manage Work Stress
Robsham (2016) points out that when employees are happy and feel their needs are fulfilled, they tend to be more productive and work harder towards their goals. I think this is imperative to remember. The needs and demands of counselor educators and career counseling professionals are increasing significantly and it’s more important than ever before to keep our own health and well-being in focus.
Contomanolis, M. (2014, October 16). The new breed of career services professional: What's in the secret sauce of success? Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141016190028-2872947-the-new-breed-of-career-services-professional-what-s-in-the-secret-sauce-of-success
Federman, R. (2017). Millennial Distress: Why More? Why Now? Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/bipolar-you/201711/millennial-distress-why-so-much-why-now
Robsham, K. (2016). Incorporating Wellness Initiatives into Your Student Affairs Department. Presence. Retrieved from http://www.presence.io/blog/incorporating-wellness-initiatives-into-your-student-affairs-department/
American Psychological Association. (2017). Stress in America: Coping with Change Stress in America™ Survey. Author.
Tracy, B. (2017). Eat That Frog!: 21 Great ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Rita Soultanian, M.Ed., Director of Career and Re-Entry Center at Saddleback College, has advised young professionals in pursuit of careers in every occupational path including art and design, entertainment, entrepreneurship, business, and law. When it comes to choosing an occupation, setting career goals, seeking and finding positions, and personal branding strategies, Rita utilizes her wealth of experience to guide seekers. Helping clients identify their intrinsic values and clearly convey their uniqueness, skills, and fervor for their career ambitions to potential employers and connections is Rita's greatest passion. She can be reached at email@example.com.