Seeking Right Kind of Career Counseling (Chicago/Midwest)
March 11, 2020 4:05 AM   Subscribe

I live in Chicago. I am 45 years old and anticipate changing my career in the next 18-24 months. (I do not want to retire doing what I'm doing.) I need a solid, dependable person in which to put my faith.

I am looking for what I would define as occupational therapy or career counseling, but my concern is finding the right sort of entity.

I am looking for people who can listen to me; thoroughly assess me, both my hard and soft skills, interests, and desires for what I want to get out of work; and give me their best advice for the field I might be happiest and best suited for, and recommendations/networking as to how to transition.

I would like to be the 'client', i.e., I am very uninterested in the employment agencies that look for personnel for their clients, or worse look to lease or sell employees on a temp-to-perm basis (I've seen those so frequently go poorly).

And I'm not looking for people in the psychological field that happen to have career counseling as an element on the list of things they address.

I'd appreciate both general recommendations as to how to hone in on the specific kind of professionals I've described here, and, if you happen to have a particular recommendation.

No offense intended, but I am not looking for either website or book recommendations at this time.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
To clarify, you may want to eliminate the term “Occupational therapy” from your search. It’s rather different than what I thought when I first heard the term. From Wikipedia:
occupational therapist [is] someone who "helps people across their lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, injury rehabilitation, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes."

Maybe some OT could help you in some ways, but I don’t see your case as being in their wheelhouse, especially compared to a career councilor/coach.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:52 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]

This person may be able to help; he is New York City based, but does take remote clients, and his approach sounds very close to what you're seeking. I used his services a couple years ago; it was only two sessions (I had the option for a third but didn't do it); for the first session, he had me fill out a form about my career history and what I liked to do, and he sent me a couple quizzes about likes/dislikes about different aspects of everything I'd done, and then reviewed all that before our first session. During that first session he asked me further questions about things that had caught his eye about my resume and my quiz answers. He took a ton of notes.

Then between the first and second session, he took all that information and studied a bunch of career resource handbooks, pulling out different career paths that he thought might suit. During the second session, he went over each one with me, telling me specifically what they were and why he thought they would be good ideas for me. I noticed that he really remembered details about things I'd said, as well. He gave me all his notes and all those printouts in a book to keep, and gave me access to a web site where he had further career-search resources and more advice.

Strongly recommend him. His initial consult is free, the two sessions are affordable. If the distance thing doesn't work out at least he might be able to recommend someone local to you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:41 AM on March 11 [4 favorites]

I don't have any specific recommendations, but you are looking for a vocational psychologist.

Google shows several promising options in Chicago.
posted by mygoditsbob at 5:53 AM on March 11

If you're open to an online resource, you might want to give this person a try. I know several people who have worked with her and have found her very helpful.
posted by dancing_angel at 9:14 AM on March 11

For an in-person counselor in Chicago, I can highly recommend Stephanie Sattler. She has a well-structured four-sessions-and-done system. She did a great job helping me sort out my priorities, desires, and strengths, and she was warm and communicative over email even after my sessions had ended.
posted by theodolite at 9:27 AM on March 11

There's a Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation in Chicago that might be worth investigating.
posted by jabes at 12:21 PM on March 11

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