A Story: A Career Gone Wrong


A Story: A Career Gone Wrong

Happened while on practicum with

three workers who were being downsized

during my Career and Work Counselor Training.


A huge company was phasing out an entire division and hundreds of people were about to become jobless. There was enough lead time that the company set up a career resource department to help these employees find new jobs. Three employees, inexperienced in terms of anything to do with job search and placement where manning this center. I was sent in for a week to walk them through some processes.

Being a strong believer in the objectivity of the career assessment approach, I was able to walk them through the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as well as the Strong’s Interest Inventory (SII) to begin to establish their personal career profile. One of them in particular, a male in his late 30’s, was skeptical with the assessments. His career in this Fortune 500 company, the best paying employer in town, was as a Purchasing Agent. With his pay cheque soon coming to an end, he was at a crossroad in terms of what to do next.

I’ll never forget the day that I say down with him to go over his Strong’s Interest Inventory results. Very quickly he changed from an assessment skeptic to a believer. The number one career that he always wanted to have was the exact career the Strong’s scored him highest in…a school teacher. Can you imagine, an aspiring teacher that wanted to instruct kids was sitting in an office of an international company, purchasing supplies. All excited as a new career consultant, I was prepared to help him walk through this transitional journey. Maybe this company’s departmental shut down was a blessing in disguise, but then came the serious twist that changed everything.

After high school, he had gone to a highly reputable university and earned a B.A.. University was his first break from home. Dorm life became party central and his extracurricular activity ended up being more important than the reason he was supposed to at university in the first place. As a result, though he graduated four years later, it was with only a 68% average. In order to go to teachers college, he had to graduate with at least 80%. Later, during his purchasing agent days, intrinsically knowing what he really wanted to do, he had applied to teacher’s college and been turned down due to his low university average. His university lifestyle had squandered his preferred future away.

I wish the story had a happy ending. I’m not certain where he is now or what he is doing, but I do know that over the years he compensated this lost opportunity by being highly involved in the city’s athletic programs. He became very busy volunteering as coach of kid’s playing in a variety of sports, but the reality is, his career had gone wrong.

The choice of your future, your career and the preparation for it must be taken seriously…and the earlier the better. This story has made working with students in Senior High School of my favorite clients. I love to get them before university happens. So…as soon as you can…

  • With the help of a qualified Career Coach, choose your future wisely
  • Study all you need to know about all you could potentially do
  • Understand the benchmarks and indicators of what that job is all about
  • Let these keep you on track

Following this advice, you’ll reduce the odds of suffering a disappointment, lamenting like the gentleman in the true story above, “Had I only known!”

Do you have a career story of success or disappointment you would like to share?

Leave your comment below. I’d love to hear it… and others could learn.

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