An Integrative Approach to Work and Career

An integrative approach to career counseling draws upon existential and narrative psychological perspectives. This holistic approach assists and supports clients in exploring and reflecting upon the direction, purpose and meaning of their lives and their work.

Integrative Career Counseling helps clients to deepen their awareness and perspective on their relationship with work and career. It helps clients to better understand and feel more connected to their experiences and emotions.

Integrative Career Counseling guides clients in the practice of  being more fully present in their daily lives and to feel more authentic and confident in their decisions, choices and actions.

  • Searching For Careers We Are Passionate About

    11/29/2021

    I work with many young adults grappling with decisions about what to study at College or University and/or what career paths to pursue.

    Two contrasting phrases I hear often in relation to this age group are: "failure to launch" and "wanting a career that they are passionate about". What I often see among them is not so much a failure to launch but a decision paralysis.  This paralysis stems from fear of choosing a career path that may not lead to and guarantee work that they are "passionate" about.

    Without this "guarantee" making any education or career decisions becomes increasingly difficult. It would of course be wonderful if jobs and careers came "fully packaged" offering both passion and fulfillment!

    But much like the search for meaning or the search for happiness or fulfillment, the search for work and careers that we are passionate about remains elusive without our active engagement, without our choices and decisions, without our experiences to help us personally define what these words mean.

    How do we do this? When we exercise our decision muscles, when we take risks, when we open ourselves to trying something new or of interest, when we take a leap of faith and jump in, when we fail, when we triumph, when we learn, and when we participate in, and contribute to our studies, training or work.

    Our active engagement brings every educational experience and every work role we have "to life". Our active engagement allows us to experience, discover, define, create and sustain work or careers that we feel passionate about or that we experience as fulfilling.

     

    Britt-Mari Sykes PhD is a Career Counselor, Certified Career Strategist (CCS), Certified Work/Life Strategist (CWS), and Certified Employment Strategist (CES). To book a consultation contact her directly at brittmari@brittmarisykes.ca

     

  • Why Is It Important To Become Familiar With How We Work?

    11/28/2021

    We are beginning to accept the fact that most of us will have several different jobs/careers in our lifetime. In order to navigate career change(s) and transition(s), it is increasingly important to become more aware of "how" we work and more skilled at articulating that “how".

    The “how” is a vital ingredient we need to add to what we have to offer – the "how" is just as important as learned skills, innate skills, education and training.

    The shifts taking place in the job market

    The shifts taking place in the job market will continue to impact the relationship we have with work and career, the meaning work and career holds for us, and our preparation for work, whether in terms of education, training or the acquisition of skills.

    The increasing demand for “flexible”, "portable" and generalized skills, for example, is one of these shifts taking place in the job market. Which skills will be in demand for this new reality? What types of skills are "flexible" or "portable"? The answers to these questions will also continue to shift.

    So how can we navigate this reality AND create career(s) for ourselves? I believe one approach is to shift our mindset around skills: we have to add "how" we work to our skill set. Becoming more aware of “how” we work empowers us to design and better manage our careers and career transitions as opposed to simply navigating changes in the job market.

    Becoming more aware of “how” we work is an area that many of my clients, regardless of age or work experiences, have difficulty fleshing out and articulating.

    We can often name the skills that we are required to learn, or have learned, in order to execute a specific job or task. And as we gain more and more work experience, we can often identify more personal or innate skills and talents. Most of us, however, have a much more difficult time describing the ways in which our experiences, our development, our natural capacities and our learned skills interact with, shape, and influence "how" we work.

    Reflective practice to access the “how”

    The practice of reflecting on our different work experiences provides valuable information. Reflective practice reveals the multiple ways – the “how” – we personalize the work we do. We do not simply apply learned skills and/or training to the work we do, we also bring natural or innate skills, we bring energy and motivation, we bring a personal attitude and approach. Work holds different and very personal meanings for us. Work is often a place of self-expression, identity, a means to an end. Work is a place of contribution and of learning. Within all of this we are continuously developing and personalizing "how" we work, a valuable and "portable" narrative.

    Some reflective questions to get you started:

    • How do I approach my work (attitudes, expectations, motivation)? Can I identify the unique approach, perspective, attitude I bring to my work? Can I name aspects of my work that really interest, motivate and energize me?
    • What unique skills, talents, and experiences do I bring to my work in addition to my learned skills and/or specific training that I have acquired?
    • How do I put my personal stamp on my work roles? How do I bring my work/my role/my position “to life” – what natural talents and capacities do I recognize within myself that influence the way I do my job, the way I interact with my colleagues? How do I contribute to my work?
    • Which of my natural skills are most predominant in the work I do? Have these changed with the different roles and types of work I have had? Do I recognize certain skills and capacities that are consistent in the different work roles I have had?
    • What have I learned from the jobs/roles I have had? What perspectives, opinions, knowledge do I hold about a particular industry, business, profession?
    • What have I discovered about myself in these different experiences? What new skills or capacities have I discovered within myself?
    • How have my capacities developed, changed or expanded?
    • What skills, talents and interests would I like to develop further?

     

    Britt-Mari Sykes PhD is a Career Counselor, Certified Career Strategist (CCS), Certified Work/Life Strategist (CWS), and Certified Employment Strategist (CES). She helps clients identify the "how" to create personally empowered approaches to career development and career transitions. For more information or to book a consultation call contact her directly at brittmari@brittmarisykes.ca