We are always preparing ourselves to work: from building sandcastles at the beach to debating with a teacher the novelist’s theme to repairing that old canoe that has been waiting for you to retire. In Heart of Darkness, author Joseph Conrad writes: “…I like what is in work--the chance to find yourself. Your own reality--for yourself, not for others--what no other man [and woman] can ever know.” As we transition through life’s stages and ages, we characteristically change our expectations about “work and career” within our current reality.

Besides aging, adult transitions can include:

  • losing a job, a spouse or loved one

  • adjusting to children leaving home

  • moving to a new location

  • facing a major change in financial circumstance

Another significant transition is “retirement” which we characteristically mean leaving a career or work in which we have been engaged. Because people live longer and enjoy healthier lives, financial needs often necessitate working more years.  The availability of and access to life-long education and retraining for learners of all ages makes "retirement" not an inevitable end of one's working life.  Most people never stop working at something because in work we find and share ourselves. The period of “retirement” is better described as a time of personal renegotiation with ourself about our future. Now may be the time to try something new and unfamiliar, to follow a passion that a life filled with the responsibilities for others did not allow.  Career counseling helps adults find possibilities and opportunities throughout their lives.

Career assessment and counseling can help define and focus what we want to do

and be and how to choose work that fits our reality in every transition. 


Typical transitions in youth might include:


  • deciding post-high school plans (work, college, trade school, military)

  • selecting college majors or a career focus

  • getting that first job 

  • changing career paths

These decisions overlay the internal personal issues of becoming an adult and the confusion of external messaging from our culture and the media.  At the same time, secondary schools and many colleges have withdrawn counseling services, relegating “career planning” to assembly-line computer testing as a way to cut costs.  Trying to define their own realities, young people are pretty much left on their own to figure it out. Herein lies the value of counseling and discussion with a career professional.