counseling

Setpoints: Why Being Negative Will Make You Stable

You’re surrounded by setpoints every day.  They literally keep you alive.  One of them is your set body temperature.  If your body drops or rises a mere 15% beyond your core temperature, death occurs.  Think of a setpoint like a reference point, a sort of boundary.  Medically, it’s called homeostasis.  The body regulates internal functioning (temperature, blood flow, oxygen) despite external circumstances.  The body is always seeking homeostasis.  So is the brain.  And you can intentionally take charge for your mental, emotional, and relational health.

Examples.

In our bodies, we break out in a fever when something is wrong- which is one way the body makes conditions unfavorable to viruses and bacteria- because they are temperature sensitive.  In addicts, their brains have faced an onslaught of dopamine rushes- and the brain counters it by producing less dopamine to balance out- even sometimes ELIMINATING dopamine receptors.  This is the brain naturally seeking to turn down a party that’s gotten too loud.

The system.

Balanced functioning (homeostasis), whether biological, technological, or psychological, will involve three interdependent elements that help reach homeostasis- all centered on a setpoint:

  1. Receptor– A sensing component that observes changes in the environment. The receptor then sends information to the Control Center.
  2. Control Center– determines an appropriate response, having a set range in place (setpoint).  Then the control center sends this information to an effector.
  3. Effector– Structures that receive signals from the control center and correct deviation by negative feedback, thus putting a system back into its normal range.

Remember from above how dopamine in the brain works with substance abuse?  But we can actually gain the upper hand by being active in our decisions- including making setpoints for ourselves.

Get negative.  

In order to bring a system back to normal, negative feedback is used to regulate it.  So when I say, “get negative,” or course I’m not telling you to have a negative outlook on life.  What I AM saying is that a system that is out of control will only be put back in control/order by it being regulated by setpoints, carried out by either an internal or external force- and this is negative feedback.

Okay, have I been sufficiently nerdy?  Let’s get practical!!

 

Samples.  Check out how William uses all three processes of homeostasis as a married entrepreneur with children, who is also dealing with some alcohol abuse (#2 in each is the setpoint).

Entrepreneur.

1) Financial accounts are reconciled daily by William (outside help oversees them weekly).  2) The business plan was developed with a setpoint of no greater than $100,000 debt.  Crossing $50,000 debt signals a problem and requires meeting with the board.  3) If the setpoints are not honored, the board has full power and autonomy to enact established strategies.

Temperature.

1) William’s two year old, Thomas, is running a fever- revealed by his behavior, and then it was gauged with a thermometer.  2)  If 24 hours pass with a fever over 100 F- or at any point it goes beyond 103 F- the setpoint has been crossed.  3) Visit the doctor immediately.

Remodeling.

1) Extra money was left over- discovered in the budget by William’s wife, Katie.  2)  They determine no more than $10,000 will be spent on a kitchen remodel.  The goal is $8,500; beyond the goal is a warning flag.  3) At the $8,500 mark, a conversation will be held with the contractor to hold to the budget.

Alcohol Use.

1) After running into various troubles with alcohol, William considered his personal/family values and health recommendations.  2) A setpoint was made: only 2 drinks or less daily.  3) If this line is crossed, the commitment is to have an entire month sober.  If this cannot be done, it is agreed on with his support team to increase treatment (e.g., go to a group, go to counseling).

 

Got the hang of it?  These steps can be applied to about anything, though I mostly use the Setpoints Exercise (click on the link below to access!) to help increase ownership and boundaries with addictions.  It’s a straightforward way to get honest with anything you are facing, the amount of help you need, and what supports can get you there.  This concept has helped assist many of my clients to face problems squarely, and in turn, to be more successful and realistic in addressing life challenges.  Give it a try!
Get your free SetPoint Worksheet, created for clients in my practice, by clicking here.

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Heart Attacks and Resolutions

If your heart condition were so bad that you had to undergo expensive ($100,000) coronary bypass surgery to improve it, would you change your lifestyle after the surgery?  Nope.  Not likely, at least according to a surprising study by Dr. Edward Miller at Johns Hopkins.  Miller found that 2 years after patients had a coronary bypass surgery, 90% did not change their lifestyle significantly (diet, exercise, stress, substance use).  90%!  Wouldn’t such an adverse event motivate change for the better?  Not necessarily so.

Being at the end of January as I send this out, many New Year’s resolutions have been made.  Fewer have been kept.  It is common sense that the resolutions we make mean very little without proper follow-through- whether at the gym, with eating habits, or in even more complicated areas, such as relationships.

When I’m humble enough to admit my own strengths and limitations (my human-ness), there are many things I cannot do on my own, many areas of life I CANNOT control.  But for those things I CAN change and affect, I ask myself:  Do I need additional support?  Help?  Growth?  Acceptance?  Is what I’m doing sufficient enough to bring the change I want?  Do I have the “horsepower” to do what I need?  In counseling, there are rarely quick fixes.  My job is mostly helping clients identify the how of change, not simply the what (i.e., how do I eat healthier versus simply identifying a need to eat healthier).  I regularly ask myself the following question that I also pose to clients: “Am I pursuing what is needed to bring about growth and health in my life?”

If you’re having trouble changing something, first of all, that’s okay.  Deep breath.  You will be less likely to change something if you get overwhelmed and caught up in helplessness.  If you ask all of the above questions and determine you need a little bit more than “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” (which is self-contradictory, by the way), passivity will lead to the same result- not even a heart attack can change that.  If it’s time for something different, only you can decide.  And if you hire me, we’ll get down to business.

Yours truly,
Justin

Myth Busters, Counseling Edition

What are some misperceptions about counseling?  You probably don’t have to think very long before conjuring up an image of an “insane asylum” (ala Cuckoo’s Nest) or a highly pedigreed analyst who only listens and grunts acknowledgment of what you say.  Courtesy of media portrayals, cultural views, and personal fears, there are many myths which abound concerning counseling.  Here is a comprehensive guide to the most common (go to my resources at http://www.JustinKHughes.com to download a printable version).

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 “Counseling is for those who have severe mental and emotional problems.”

There is a wide range of needs and goals addressed through counseling.  Different challenges are met with varying degrees of support- from mild to severe.  A great reason to address problems early, while they are still mild to moderate, is to prevent them from becoming severe.

 

“Going to a counselor is a sign of weakness.”

Being vulnerable and open about thoughts and feelings takes maturity and courage.  It takes risk.  It takes strength.  Counseling at its best is simply a) a pursuit of truth in what is really going on for a person and/or b) a pursuit of solutions that may really help in addressing problems.  Every person needs help and support in miscellaneous respects.

 

“I don’t have a problem; there’s a reason for the way I feel.”

Disorders most often spring up as a result of stressors, and this is where a mental health professional can assist in identifying when a problem crosses the line into a disorder.  For example, it’s difficult to differentiate when someone’s grieving turns into depression.  Though there may be identifiable and explainable stressors, this does not insulate a person from having one of two things: a) an actual disorder or b) a need for support and help in working through problems.  Counseling can address both.

 

“Counseling is not a proven science; it is theoretical and hypothetical.”

Yes and no.  What is usually meant by this is that a problem in counseling may not have an obvious causal link.  And often this is true- which is why clients usually end up in counseling in the first place.  However, there are very good and reliable outcomes expectable from many approaches of counseling (and evidence/research to back them up).  The question to ask might be, “Is what you’re doing working?”  You may want to give something different a try.

[Additional note: As of yet, most disorders are still determined and treated based on clinical interview rather than biomarkers- e.g., pinpointing a disorder through a blood test.  Remember, though, we are dealing at a minimum with the most complex physical matter in the empirical universe: the brain.]

 

“Counselors are too expensive.”

There are certainly special reasons where some types of counseling cannot be afforded.  However, did you know there are many community and state-sponsored resources for either free counseling or support?  There are additionally many places, such as universities and clinics, where counseling is offered at a very minimal cost, or even pro-bono.  Payments are tax-deductible as a medical expense.

Rationalizations to not spend money on counseling can be an issue of priorities.  For instance, if a marriage has been struggling for several years, will 8 therapy sessions really cost that much (the price of a new TV)?  If drug/alcohol addiction has cost thousands of dollars and many hurt relationships, is it worth getting better?

 

“I don’t need to go to counseling.  Someone else does.”

We can only take responsibility for what is in our control.  Counseling gives the opportunity to take charge and seek success despite whether others do or not.

 

“It’s not my fault that I am where I am- I shouldn’t have to go to counseling.”

Similar to the last concern, a person can find themselves in need for many reasons: suffering caused by self, others, authority, medical problems, etc.  Counseling provides the space to work on troubles, despite where they originate.

 

“A counselor is just going to tell me what I already know about myself.

Though new information can be useful and stimulating to discover, the concern of counseling is more about how to bring about change and overcoming barriers that hold a person back.

 

“I can handle problems on my own.”

Human beings require the support of others on many levels- evident as an infant, but equally true as an adult.  Living with electricity, a phone, food supplies, and using currency are examples of ways we are dependent on other people.  Mental health is really no different.  No one person has all the answers; being open to possible solutions by others, especially through professionals who work extensively with the challenges you face, might just yield some different results.

 

“Counseling doesn’t work.”

As a whole, a widespread body of research advises that counseling is effective.  Sometimes it does not work for a particular individual.  Some reasons it might not have worked are that the person was not ready, there was a bad fit/connection with the professional, specialized work is needed on specific issues, and many other reasons.  You may want to try again; be honest about your concerns; that is the best way to identify what will work for you.

 

“There are so many different perspectives and approaches with counseling.  I can’t trust a counselor when they all disagree.”

With over 300 registered schools of counseling theories, it’s understandable to think of counselors as a confused mess.  However, a counseling theory is a paradigm simply to understand disorders and problems, and how to bring about change.  No one approach in counseling has all the answers, but each can offer particular insight and options.  There are unquestionably moments when counseling theories get something wrong- just like in the medical world, business world, etc.  However, there is an increasing evidence-base for many approaches (CBT, Behavioral, Family Systems, Psychodynamic, and more).  At the end of the day, there only has to be a shred of willingness to try counseling- taking the opportunity to get a different result from what you have been getting.

 

“Counseling makes things worse.  My family member went to counseling and it messed them up.” 

I am truly sorry- I really hate to hear when someone has a bad experience in counseling.  Sometimes this happens; there are various reasons why.  Similar to the feedback given concerning “Counseling doesn’t work,” there may have been a bad fit, an inexperienced counselor, specialized focus might have been needed, or maybe the client was not ready.  One experience- or even multiple bad experiences- does not determine future experiences or the overall benefit and effectiveness of counsel.  Let me encourage you to share your concerns and talk with a provider up front to figure out how they respond and if they are a good match.

 

“Counselors just focus on the past; I want to find solutions for now.”

Different counselors have different styles.  Check with them to see what their methodology/theory is.  Many counselors only reference the past insomuch as it influences, guides, or impacts the present.  Then, often, tools and skills are developed to live most effectively in the present.  Think of how a past injury may have to be considered in the present in order to guard against re-injury.  It is no different with counseling.

 

“All I need to do is trust God and/or pray.”

Without getting into particulars of theology, it is important to consider how the help of others fits into trusting God.  Each person has to examine this for themselves.  Consider what responsibility is yours to act on, all the while considering how trust and prayer fits into the picture.  Mental health care might (though not always) be a direct result of trusting God to bring about growth and healing.

 

 “Counseling has only been invented in the past century.  Why do we need it now?”

Though counseling psychology as a field of study traces its roots back to the late 1800’s, “counseling” in some fashion or another has been documented for centuries through pastors, priests, mentors, teachers, guides, and so forth.  Nonetheless, professional counseling for-fee is relatively new.  Most of what occurs in medicine and healthcare has arisen in the past century.  This does not mean every advance is good.  However, reflect on how you might benefit from the level of specialty and expertise that is offered by a professional counselor- much in the same way a person can benefit from a doctor or college professor.

 

“Other people will find out what I share.”

If you locate a state licensed professional, every U.S. state has limitations on what information can be released to others.  Unless you are in a situation of immediate harm to yourself, others, or another rare condition, your information is protected as highly confidential.  Check with each provider and licensure type.  Our policies can be found at www.JustinKHughes.com.

 

“Mental health professionals are getting rich off of the problems of others.”

Unfortunately, this is a blanket assumption that might be true in some extremes, but it doesn’t look at the reality of costs associated.  Extensive and expensive training and education is required to become a professional counselor, in addition to costs related to keeping up a practice.  There are always costs associated for receiving specialized help.

 

“You can’t change people.”

Half-true.  You can’t change anyone except for yourself.  And you can always be an influence on others without forcing change.

 

“I am past changing.  Old dogs can’t learn new tricks.”

Just ask someone experienced in the mental health field to share stories of hope and healing to encourage you that change is possible at any age.

 

“I can get all the answers I need from my family doctor.”

Primary care physicians as a whole are incredible people.  In fact, the trust in these doctors is so strong that they are a “front door” to mental health issues, prescribing a majority of all mental health medications.  Nonetheless, every treatment provider has limitations.  If you need someone with unique and particular training in human psychology, you may want to contemplate working with an authority on your particular challenges (such as a Psychiatrist for medication and a counselor for skills and guidance).  Don’t be afraid to ask any practitioner about their proficiencies and expertise- it is their job to be honest about it.

 

“Counselors tell you how to fix your problems.  Their role is to be an expert advice-giver.”

Though some problems have more immediate solutions, there are very few quick fixes in counseling.  A professional counselor helps you explore your thoughts and emotions, and to explore the options you have based on your goals.  Rarely- if ever- is it telling you what to do.

 

“Counselors just sit back, nod, and grunt their understanding.”

A common misconception, most counselors are much more dynamic than this.  There are many different styles of counseling with varying levels of interaction.  You can discover how active your counselor is by looking at their theoretical approach, or simply by asking them.

 

“The counselor can’t understand me.  They need to have the same experiences or background.”

Counselors are trained to be sensitive to a wide range of human struggles.  To be licensed necessitates that counselors 1) cannot falsely advertise what issues they work with, and 2) they must have skills, techniques, and insight relevant to the specific problems they treat.  Sometimes it is a nice bonus to find a professional with a similar story; however, this can be unrealistic and a rationalization to avoid confronting problems.  One of the unique offerings of a professional is being more objective and less impartial, and thus being able to see more clearly into your life so you can discover remedies that will work for you.

 

“Change is not hard.”

Long-lasting, meaningful change takes time.  And work.  Consider managing money well, raising a child, getting good at an instrument, playing a sport, etc.  Mental health is no different.  It’s going to take some investment if it’s of any lasting value.

 

 “Counseling takes a long time.”

Determining the length of counseling is structured on numerous factors: the client’s goals, the severity of problems being worked on, client motivation, and counselor expertise- to name a few.  Some clients only need a one-session evaluation, some stay for several sessions, and others are invested in counseling for a couple of years or more.  Talk with your clinician to determine roughly how long it will take.

 

“Sessions will vilify my parents.  OR, they will find a scapegoat for my problems.”

Counseling requires focus on the client’s experiences and perceptions.  Sometimes this brings up points of reference involving hurt from others.  However, responsibility can only be taken by the person who is present.  Any work that devolves into a blame game of others is missing the point, as empowerment to take personal responsibility is central to successful counseling.

 

 “Counseling will change me (and who I am) forever.”

First of all, a counselor cannot change you; you must choose the change you want.  If you desire anything to be different in sessions, you can address this directly with your counselor.  If still not satisfied, you can always discontinue meeting with that particular counselor.

 

“I already have a good support system.  Seeing a clinician for my problems is unnecessary.”

Friends and/or family are essential to a healthy support system.  When needed, seeking a specialization in mental health can offer solutions and possibilities that may go beyond the feedback and support of friends and family.

 

“I don’t have the time for counseling.”

It may be worth considering how much time, cost, and impact various problems are costing you.  Counseling is an investment- of time, energy, money, and emotion.  You get to determine if it’s worth it to you.

 

“I am uncomfortable sharing my private matters.”

Confidentiality highly protects what you share to the extent the law provides.  Personal issues are explored only when they are relevant to your growth, and it is always up to you what you share and what you don’t.  It can be very hard to open up to another person, but the benefit just might outweigh holding in your emotions and thoughts.

 

“The clinician is going to spend all the time talking about my childhood.”

This really depends on the focus of your goals and the counselor’s approach.  Some counselors barely reference childhood, but others explore it extensively.  Your childhood will only be examined if it is seen to be relevant to your goals.

 

“I don’t want some shrink getting inside my head.”

You cannot be forced to share something you don’t want to.  Plus, even the best clinicians cannot know your mind without input from you.

 

“I only need medications to feel better.”

Research study after research study report an increase in positive outcomes when counseling is sought in addition to medication for many types of problems.  A medication does not help a person develop tools and skills to resolve distress and discover solutions when problems arise.

 

 “My genes determine my struggles.”

Without getting lost in a philosophical battle of genetic determinism, if you believe any of your thoughts and actions affect your existence, counseling can help you determine how you want to live and give you the tools to get there.  On a scientific note, we are discovering more and more how much impact our choices have upon the expression of genes.  In fact, some genes might not even express themselves if a person doesn’t have certain stressors present.  Choice does affect even our genes.

 

“Nothing can help me.  I’m hopeless.”

This is a common feeling of those who come into counseling, and there are many success stories of those who report significant progress in what are considered the most hopeless of situations.

 

“Going to therapy is selfish and self-indulgent.”

Psychological and emotional pain can affect every part of life.  Working on these areas commonly impacts how a person interacts with others- and can free them up to better love, serve, and invest.  Bear in mind, for example, how feeding the body can nourish and generate optimal functioning.  Feeding and nourishing a person emotionally is vitally important, as well.

  

Disclaimer:

Unfortunately, there are instances where the ideals listed are not met.  Please know that is a factor of an individual situation and not counseling as a whole.  Please never hesitate to talk to a counselor about setting up safeguards in counseling that help you feel protected.  Best wishes!

Yours truly,

Justin K. Hughes

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Avoiding the Issue

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When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11, The Bible, ESV).

M. Scott Peck, in his work The Road Less Traveled, explained with surgeon-like precision how people deal with problems and pain.  He notes that discipline is the ‘base camp’ of what’s needed to solve life’s problems.

“What makes life difficult is that the process of confronting and solving problems is a painful one.  Problems, depending upon their nature, evoke in us frustration or grief or sadness or loneliness or guilt or regret or anger or fear or anxiety or anguish or despair.”  “…It is for this reason that wise people learn not to dread but actually to welcome problems and actually to welcome the pain of problems.  Most of us are not so wise” (Peck, 1978, pp. 14-16).

There are an infinite number of ways to avoid dealing with our problems.  Sigmund Freud was one of the first to categorize these avoidances, calling them “defense mechanisms.”  In other words, these are adaptive reactions to circumstances that are used outside of a healthy context.  Some examples that most people have heard of are denial and rationalization.  “My boyfriend beats me, but it’s not that bad.”  “I can’t believe in a God who would let me lose my mother to cancer.”  “Alcohol is not a problem; I haven’t had any legal issues.”

“This tendency to avoid problems,” notes Peck again, “and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness.  Since most of us have this tendency to a greater or lesser degree, most of us are mentally ill to a greater or lesser degree, lacking complete mental health” (1978, pp. 16-17).

Many, if not all, mental health disorders relate to forms of avoidance.  The paranoid person ends up avoiding the truth about others’ thoughts/opinions.  The depressed person will avoid ways they need help.  The anxiety-ridden person will avoid the pain of facing anxiety head-on.  [Side note: just because you face these things does not mean it is your fault.]  An old adage says, “What you resist, persists.”  In an effort to strive for mental health, we must strive for the truth about ourselves, others, and God- and then face it.

“…Let us teach ourselves and our children the necessity for suffering and the value thereof, the need to face problems directly and to experience the pain involved” (Peck, 1978, p. 17)

-Yours truly

Justin

All quotations- unless otherwise noted- are taken from M. Scott Peck, M.D. The Road Less Traveled (1978), pp. 15-17.

Attracting Bad Relationships: How You Become a Jerk-Magnet

How did this happen again?  Do I have a sign on my face that says, ‘Take advantage of me’? 

A common counseling topic is addressing habitual and self-destructive patterns in relationships.  For the person that keeps getting stuck and attracting the same jerk over and over again, I have good news: there are clear, identifiable characteristics that actually do make you a magnet for certain types of people.

Addictions, compulsive, and impulsive behavior.  Each of these keep us from feeling true emotions; they insulate us from reality.  And in so doing, they keep us from seeing things as they truly are.
Betrayal Bonds and patterns of abuse.  In the classic work, Betrayal Bonds, renowned addiction specialist Dr. Patrick Carnes poignantly notes that people who experience trauma in relationships (and who don’t deal with the trauma) are often bound in some way to the same person/type who deeply, and often repeatedly, hurts them.
Codependency.  A person who is codependent finds their identity in fixing others and ensuring everything goes well.  In so doing, they often lose their own sense of self and boundaries.  See Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.
Cognitive distortions.  If you have harmful thought patterns that are not based in truth, you won’t be in touch with what’s really going on or what is actually needed to be healthy.  See Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns.
Depression.  Low motivation and energy along with hopelessness all make healthy decisions difficult, especially if another person fills a void.
Lack of Direction or Spiritual Anchor.  Confusion as to who you are and what you are doing with your life goes hand-in-hand with picking the wrong person.  If you don’t know who you are, how can you express yourself and be understood?
Law of Complementary Personalities.  The saying, ‘opposites attract,’ often is true when it comes to negative relationship styles.  For example, a passive person pairs with an aggressive person, often attracted to their leadership (or on the flip side, attracted to how easy-going the other is).  Someone who is pathologically controlling must find someone who can be pathologically controlled.  The two fit together like sweet tea on hot Texas day.
Learned Helplessness.  Elephants who are originally chained down will later believe they can’t escape when they only are held by a flimsy rope connected to a stake in the ground.  Have you learned helplessness?  Do you stay in a relationship because you don’t think it will get any better, or because it would get a lot worse if you made changes?
Love Addiction.  When a person is addicted to the “high” of falling in love, often they miss important signs and signals and get into unhealthy relationships.  Check out Pia Mellody’s Facing Love Addiction.
Poor Emotion Management.  Not knowing how to identify and regulate emotions leads to a lack of self-control and direction.
Training.  I love the phrase: We train others how to treat us.  Examples are letting people into your personal space, not letting someone know they’ve harmed you, and not telling others your wants/needs.  All of these train others.  Do you stand up for respect and honor for yourself and others?
Self-Esteem Issues.  If we look hyper-negatively at ourselves, any person who seems to boost our self-view will make do.
Self-sabotage.  Due to insecurity, a person fears getting something good, so they inadvertently or intentionally damage opportunities.  Too much potential threat is involved.
Toxic Shame.  If you consistently see your value as worthless, you won’t make decisions to secure respect and love.  A great read on this is John Bradshaw’s work, Healing the Shame That Binds You.

 

These are just a beginning.  Knowing underlying patterns is only a start to changing them.  If you see yourself in these descriptions, write it out and talk to a trusted person about what you want to change.  After all, acknowledging a problem is the BIG first step.  If you need more help, this is why counselors exist!

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How Do I Change Somebody?

How do I change somebody?  I often ask this question in my therapy groups at a psychiatric hospital.  Quite insightfully, I actually hear most people respond with, “You can’t.”  That’s right.Image 

Often, it hurts us deeply to see someone struggling, suffering, anguishing- especially if we think we have an answer or solution.  But here is a difficult principle to swallow, but a necessary one: If a functioning adult chooses to be unhealthy or ill, we cannot stop them.  Not accepting this will lead us to get “sick” ourselves and join in the “crazy-making.” 

We can change ourselves, though.  And an effective way to motivate change in others is to influence them.  Think of a difficult relationship you are in or have had.  Then think of it like two gear cogs.  As long as you are engaged with the “craziness,” it continues in both people like gears spinning out of control.  But if one person steps back and changes, it automatically alters the dynamic.  The other person HAS to change if they want to stay engaged with you.  In other words, if you approach something differently than normal, the other person has to do something different- it cannot stay the same- even if the change means that they refuse to be different and you don’t allow yourself to be controlled. 

Five WORST Ways To Job Hunt

Some of your best guesses might be, well, not good ones.  Just because your ideas are intuitive and creative does not mean they will land you a job.  

According to the world’s most popular career manual, What Color Is Your Parachute- 2012 (pp. 58-68), Richard Nelson Bolles identifies a 4-10% rate of success finding a job through an employer’s internet job posting.  At a 7% success rate is mailing/posting your resume to an employer.  Also successful 7% of the time is answering ads in professional journals in your field.  5-24% goes to local newspaper ads.  Finally, going to firms or agencies that search for you only bags a 5-28% rate.  

Finding your passion, what you are good at, and what “makes you tick” are no small tasks.  Seeking out a trained career counselor can be an important first step in figuring out not only your next job, but why you do what you do and finding fulfillment in it.  There are various approaches used, involving everything from career and personality testing to addressing barriers of substance abuse and mental health problems.  

Okay, so what are  the MOST successful ways to land a job?  1)  33% rate of success: ask for leads from friends, family, and staff at career centers.  2) 47% success: Literally show up at a place that interests you and knock on the door.  3)  65%: after locating places of interest through Yellow Pages, etc., call or visit employers in that field and ask if the type of position you do well is hiring.  4)  70%: doing #4 while in a group with other job-hunters.  5)  Finally, at a whopping 86% success rate is doing an inventory of yourself.  

There are no magic bullets.  No quick fixes.  These approaches take work and dedication.  Check out Bolles’ book for more detailed information.  The worst thing you can do is go at this alone!

 

 

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