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5 Ways to Reduce Career Counselor Overwhelm

Overwhelm, burnout, stress… they’re part and parcel to most jobs these days. Even with all this promise of automation and AI, the reality on the ground is that all these systems and technologies have only increased demand for data, reporting, and process. 

It’s not sustainable. You can only do your best work when you are less stressed. Here are some ideas on how to find more Zen at work. 

1. Take a hard look at your caseload.

The field of counseling expands into new factors to consider, such as what it means to be neurodivergent or the impact of trauma. This requires that we do more for our clients in order to ensure they aren’t battling psychological factors on top of whatever life circumstances or other obstacles they face. This expanded awareness could mean that you need to expand how much time you spend with each client.

What you can do: Perhaps your superiors would consider reducing your caseload if they had a better understanding of how you spend so much time with them on the psychological, soft-skills, or other valid reasons why they should reduce your caseload. Keep a time journal to determine where your time goes. You can’t argue with facts!

2. Evaluate how much emotional labor is placed on you.

As a career counselor, chances are it’s in your nature to be a helper. And you know what happens to helpers? You get asked to take on projects or spend time on planning because your colleagues and superiors see you as someone who goes above and beyond to solve everyone’s problems. 

What can you do: First, take a deep breath and have some compassion for yourself. Bring awareness to this dynamic and ask yourself how much work you’re doing that’s outside the scope of your job. By pushing back when asked to do things you don’t have the bandwidth to do, you’re actually doing everyone a favor because you have to preserve your energy for your clients. 

3. Communicate your major stressors in a way that empowers your boss to make changes. 

Too often, we suffer in silence because we just assume bureaucracies are broken and cannot be changed. While there is a lot of truth to the stagnant nature of large organizations, resigning to this mentality surely won’t change it.

What can you do: While your bosses want to know your problems, they really want to also hear proposed solutions. Direct your frustration to a leader written to your superiors that explains Hint: write the emotional version of a letter or email that you want to send, and then use CHAT-GPT to re-author it in a respectful and solution oriented tone. Include as much data (I spend X hours on this) and examples as you can to support your case.

4. Put goals and outcome pressures in context.

Career counselors frequently face pressure to deliver tangible outcomes, such as successful job placements or career advancements for their clients. The uncertainty and factors beyond your control (such as market conditions or client personal issues) that influence these outcomes can create a sense of helplessness and stress.

What can you do: Create your own short list of metrics of success. What does progress look like for your clients and can you track a handful of those events or happenings that will tell the story you want to tell? Success is motivating, so create your own metrics to bring more color to the important work you do. 

5. Experiment with new digital tools to help you and your clients.

Technology is changing how we work at a faster rate. And it’s putting enormous pressure on career counselors and job seekers alike. 

What can you do: New digital tools to help with career search are everywhere! If you haven’t yet dipped your toe into AI, now is the time to discover it. Allocate real time on your calendar to explore some of these tools and how much time they can save you. Need to write an email? Ask ChatGPT to write it for you by prompting it to “write a letter to my boss explaining how so much paperwork is interfering with my job.” Helping a client send a resume? Start with to see how anyone can turn their story into a professional introduction. Ask colleagues what they’re discovering. It’s only intimidating until you try it. 

At CareerScope, we understand that stress is a part of everyday life and that too much stress is not sustainable. Our investments in the CareerScope platform have hopefully helped streamline work and create opportunities for clients to feel more empowered as part of their career journey. We hope this article provides ideas and insights about how to move forward on managing stress in the short and long term.

About CareerScope

Since 1963, CareerScope is the most widely-used aptitude and interest assessment platform, serving 1,000+ organizations and millions of job seekers. CareerScope is an assessment tool for career advisors that allows you to measure your clients’ unique abilities and interests to design optimal career pathways. What they discover through CareerScope expands possibilities in ways that ignites new levels of confidence and excitement for you and your job seeker, together.