What Is Career Counseling?


Yesterday I attended another Leadership Enhancement Program and the recent training we had are tailor-made for us to cope up with the soon-to-be closure of our company. Yesterday’s topic was about career opportunities and career counseling.

I actually enjoyed the whole training and find it very interactive and informative until when it came to one of the foils wherein first line reads: Career counseling is NOT giving advice.

Hmm. That isn’t right. I know that deep in my vocabulary the word counsel is for sure synonymous to advice. So I raised my hand to clarify if I’m reading it right and our trainer without batting an eyelash emphasized, “Career counseling is not giving an advice.”

The training ended by noon time and my colleagues and I went on with our kill-time activities disguised as WLE (Work Life Effectiveness) activities. Some played basketball, while we did a good badminton until past 7 PM. But those positive stress activities didn’t shake off the counseling thing. In fact, while driving my wife to work this morning, I kept on thinking about it still.

Bothered, while preparing breakfast for myself, I juggled with the plates and our trusty Merriam-Webster dictionary and there it was printed in one of the pages: to counsel is to give advice. I was so excited that I eagerly finish my bread, egg, and meat loaf . I was in front of our PC after I gobbled the last piece of the processed meat.

In order to confirm if our Merriam-Webster hardcopy isn’t obsolete yet, I browsed through www.m-w.com . The following entries appeared:

Main Entry:  counsel

Function: verb

Inflected Form(s): counseled or counselled; counsel·ing or counsel·ling


Date: 14th century

transitive verb : advise <counseled them to avoid rash actions — George Orwell> intransitive verb : consult <counseled with her husband>

Main Entry: counseling Variant(s): or counselling Function: noun

Date: 1927

: professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes

Main Entry: ad·vise Pronunciation:  \ Function: verb

Inflected Form(s): ad·vised; ad·vis·ing

transitive verb 1 a: to give advice to : counsel <advise her to try a drier climate> b: caution, warn <advise them of the consequences> c: recommend <advise prudence>2: to give information or notice to

: inform <advise them of their rights>intransitive verb 1:  to give advice <advise on legal matters> 2: to take counsel : consult <advise with friends>

Counsel equals advice or to advise. Boom. With those results and the fact that this top semiconductor company have some managers whom to my shock pronounce words such as freight like fright, sub- like sob and my favorite pet peeve, z like zay, I am no longer surprised that one foil in the training material may be erroneous.

Like a fighter aiming to finish off a sprawling and bloodied adversary, I typed career counseling in the browser’s search field expecting something that will back up my vocabulary. In a matter of seconds, several results appeared and I eagerly clicked each one of it and prepared to celebrate my victory over the foil item in question.


To my dismay, not one of the sites shows a bit of “Career Counseling IS about giving advice” to support my argument. Instead it listed common words such as assessment, aptitude tests, planning, decision making, development, and research. It was almost about everything but advice. I wave the white flag.

As much as I hate defeat, I came to realize that career counseling may not be just two words that can be discussed over a one-on-one meeting which in our case would only last 15-30 minutes every three months. If one staff gets lucky (or not) enough at all he’ll be in one at least three times every quarter. Career counseling after all is indeed a task to be handled only by a professional career counselor and if you’re not one of them, most likely, you can only advise. So is that first slide correct? Be my guest.



Author: crisn

I'm Cris Nacionales from the Philippines.

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