Unwrapping the 'WHY'

Updated: Jun 7

What’s the answer to your ‘why’? Why did you choose your career? Why are you currently living your life in a certain way? We all live our lives based on what's important to us, however, sometimes we feel disconnected to our main priorities, the ones that make us feel happy and connected to our values, to who we really are.

Everyone wants to feel happy and achieve job satisfaction.

For this reason, we need to constantly ask ourselves and review the reasons behind our life and career goals, the big answers to our WHY. Finding out the root cause of a problem in our lives, opens up a world of opportunities. Roberth Nathan and Linda Hill (2006) highlighted the core issues with career counselling for the young:

The concerns for school leavers revolve around ‘what next?’. The relatively unknown world of work or further study awaits young people. They want knowledge and guidance, but they are also going through an important transition from the structured lifestyle in school to the less structured world outside”.

They also state that people in their twenties usually leave home to establish their own identity, they might try different jobs, the same phase they can go on their ‘first job blues’.

The authors (2006) added: “Problems may have arisen owing to difficulties experienced in adjusting to the requirements of the job. Questions such as ‘Is this really what work is about?’ may be on the agenda. Disappointment with the values and ethos of the work environment. We also see the effects of educational decisions made at the age of 15 or 16 coming home to roost. Plus, confusion concerning the boundaries of their competence may surface: ‘I did well in school, but I wasn’t prepared for this.’

Fitting in socially may also be a consideration”. Everyone goes through life challenges so let’s prepare the young for them. What’s important to emphasise here is that the necessary skills for life and work, such as problem-solving skills and adaptability may be very different to the skills required to pass academic exams.

So, how can we prepare the young to be the best version of themselves?

Rossier (2015) showed the four main resources to problem solving and coping strategies as below:

Concern: it refers to one’s future orientation, a sense of optimism in relation to a future career

Control: personal influence over issues that concerns the individual

Curiosity: self exploration as well as exploration of the environment to form future career plans

Confidence: a person's belief in his or her ability to accomplish career related actions.

Would you like to know more?

Have a look at some career planning questions here for career development


Counselling in Practice, Roberth Nathan and Linda Hill 2006 second edition.

Rossier, J. (2015). Adaptability and Life Designing. In New perspectives in Career Counselling and Guidance in Europe. Building careers in Changing and Diverse Societies, 2018, p.25

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