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Shawnda Kahl - Administrative Assistant

Shawnda Kahl is the Administrative Assistant for the Department of Behavioral Science at MidAmerica Nazarene University

Career Counseling? A Must in Today's Competitive Envirnoment - By Cindy Eldridge

Posted by on in Behavioral Sciences

Just graduated college and you’re unemployed?  Yen (2012) reveals a bleak reality for college graduates reporting: “…the job prospects for bachelor's degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in more than a decade” (para. 7).  Describing the dismal underemployment rate for college grads, Yen reports many are waiting tables, bartending, and performing clerical work; all of which fall short of their capabilities and desires.  Depending upon the undergraduate degree, job prospects vary significantly.  Choosing a career, where to live, settling into a lifestyle, estimating rates of pay and figuring out how to achieve it all, warrants substantial thought.  Yen (2012) suggests people need to be scoping out the projected growth areas of occupations, scanning rates of pay and informing themselves about the demand of jobs, in order to reach their goals with today's job market trends.  “About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years” (Yen, 2012, para. 17).  Sharing the plight of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Yen discovered the graduate now works as a construction worker.  His lack of experience, and non-specialized degree has left him underemployed and at times, unemployable.  Yen (2012) surmises those with highly specialized degrees and training, and people holding a high school education are the ones most likely to gain employment while people in the middle are left floundering.  Yen emphasizes that now, more than ever, career decisions have multiple, long-lasting implications for the remainder of life.

Whether you are Generation Y (Echo Boomers) or a Baby Boomer, people from all stages in life appear to have three commonalities: 1) achieve balance between work and personal life, 2) obtain a high level of life satisfaction, and 3) pay the bills.  Katharine Brooks (2012) encourages job seekers to think about the career fields they are considering and evaluate how job experience and education fit into those fields.  Career counselors can help and if you think that seeing a career counselor is simply matching a person to a job, think again!

These specialized counselors are trained to treat the whole person, (a holistic approach) taking into consideration much more than a desired occupation.  Zunker (2005) states: “Career counseling touches all aspects of human life… In the career counseling process all aspects of individual needs (including family, work, personal concerns, and leisure) are recognized as integral parts of career decision making and planning” (p. 3).  Gone are the days of career counselors simply showing you how to write a resume’ and cover letter or how to conduct a successful interview.  While these services are provided, the process of planning a balanced life entails more.  Career counselors are equipped with an array of assessments, counseling techniques, and useful job information specific to geographical areas, but the process cannot be simplified to a person completing an assessment and finding a job.  Today’s career counselors are keenly aware that:  “Choosing and entering an occupation essentially involves a process of clarifying and implementing a work self-concept (Super, 1951, 1953)” (Taber, Hartung, Briddick, Briddick, & Rehfuss, 2011, p. 274).  To assist people, factors such as values, interests, family, self-efficacy, goals, personality, skills, aptitude, motivation, and desired lifestyle can be examined to successfully guide people into balance, reaching salary goals and high life satisfaction.  Rath & Harter, (n.d.) report: “We spend the majority of our waking hours during the week doing something we consider a career, occupation, vocation, or job” (p. 1).  People seek out help for physical problems so why not enlist the expertise of a career counselor to guide you through a career decision or work transition?  According to Robison (n. d.) one of the five essential elements of wellbeing is career wellbeing, i.e., “how you occupy your time – or simply liking what you do every day” (p. 3).  “People with high Career Wellbeing are more than twice as likely to be thriving in their lives overall” (Rath & Harter, n.d.).

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Career Article Assignment - By Kristen Donnelly

Posted by on in Behavioral Sciences

Career Article Assignment
Kristen Donnelly
Mid America Nazarene University
Career Article Assignment
In the 2010 article entitled Domestic Violence and Financial Dependency posted on, author Nancy Salamone (a survivor of domestic violence and financial expert) explored the impact of financial and employment woes on victims of domestic violence (DV) and their ability to leave their abusers and/or survive after leaving. Salamone's (2010) article points to several financial barriers to leaving that exist for many victims which include: having dependent children, lack of access to bank accounts, lack of property ownership, and not having employment outside of the home. Salamone (2010) asserts that often when victims or survivors of DV experience these types of roadblocks many of them either end up impoverished, or are forced to go back to their abuser. The article goes on to describe a program founded by Salamone that seeks to help women trying to escape domestic violence by teaching them skills in personal money management, budgeting, and planning for their financial future. (Salamone, 2010, p.1)
While this article highlights the crucial need for victims of DV to achieve financial stability in order to remain free of their abusers, there seems to be something missing. What's missing? The answers to these two questions: 1) How can DV survivors obtain gainful employment that allows them to utilize the skills mentioned above? and 2) How can they work on emotional healing when they have to focus so much on financial survival? This is where the holistic approach of career counseling would play a pivotal role. Consider the notion of self-efficacy, described by Peterson and Gonzalez (2005) as a concept that "...centers on people's sense that they exercise some personal control over events affecting their lives" (p.212). The ability of a victim/survivor of DV (who may've had little control over their own lives) to internalize this concept would be a valuable tool in both their emotional "rebuilding" process and their search for adequate employment.
One career counseling approach that has this construct at its core is the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT). (as cited in Peterson and Gonzalez, 2005, p. 244) SCCT incorporates the client's past and present experiences, descriptive demographics, view of their own abilities, expectations of self and of perceived outcomes, and potential barriers to moving forward successfully, into one large contextual framework from which to begin working on career development. (Peterson and Gonzalez, 2005, p.245)
From this perspective the concept of career counseling for this population is much larger than simply helping an individual to find a job; it becomes a place from which to help them start rebuilding their self-concept and sense of self-worth. In an article by Morris, Shoffner, and Newsome (2009) promoting the relevance of SCCT with battered women leaving abusive relationships, the authors put forth that "...a woman leaving an abusive relationship faces significant psychological barriers to finding a career or job. Her work with a career counselor can be instrumental in changing her negative self-perceptions of abilities, available supports, and barriers" (p.45). It's clear that the career counseling process would likely cause a ripple effect of positive changes in the life of a victim or survivor of DV.
So how does a career-centered counselor begin guiding a victim or survivor of DV through the career counseling process? If using the SCCT approach, the counselor would begin by figuring out what setting is most appropriate and safe to meet with that particular client (i.e. the local library as opposed to a counseling office) in order to explore career possibilities (Morris et. al, 2009, p.48). Here, the client and clinician would work together to set small measurable goals involving either the client's immediate needs and/or career goals. The counselor would assist the client in identifying skills learned for survival (i.e. staying a step ahead of their abuser's moods) and reframe them to fit with career appropriate skills; particularly if the client has never worked outside of the home. (Morris et. al, 2009, p.48)
Morris et. al, (2009) purport that "By accomplishing smaller goals, the client can build her repertoire of personal performance accomplishments...contributing to her career-related self-efficacy and helping her work toward longer term goals" (p.48). As the number of victims of domestic violence continues to climb, it is incumbent upon advocates and clinicians not to ignore the various needs of this population; but to seek ways in which to create safe havens, aid in emotional healing, provide guidance and support, offer resources for employment, and promote self-efficacy. Self-efficacy equals empowerment, and empowerment triumphs over the scars left behind by domestic violence.
Peterson, N. & Gonzalez, R.C. (2005). The role of work in people's lives. (2nd ed.).
Belmont, California: Brooks/Cole.
Salamone, N. (2010). Domestic Violence And Financial Dependency.
Retrieved from
Wachter-Morris, C. A., Shoffner, M. F., & Newsome, D. W. (2009). Career counseling for
women preparing to leave abusive relationships: A social cognitive career theory approach. The Career Development Quarterly, 58, 44-53. Retrieved from EBSCOHOST.

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Graduation and Career - By Rebecca M. Perkins

Posted by on in Behavioral Sciences

Graduation and Career
Rebecca M. Perkins
MidAmerica Nazarene University

Graduation and Career
There are times when students may choose to graduate a semester early, or for various reasons find that they need to delay graduating by a semester. While this may be the best choice for the student either financially or personally, it can make it difficult to find a job (Glazer, 2012). Potential reasons for the difficulty faced is that businesses frequently do their recruiting in the fall for summer openings, and others will wait until the spring to hire entry-level positions (Glazer, 2012). It is important to note that graduating either late or early is not all bad. It can allow graduates to get a jump start, make more connections, and sometimes land positions earlier than those who graduate in May. Graduates should make connections through as many sources as possible: Facebook, friends, holiday parties, LinkedIn, and "fellow alumni, even if you don't know them personally" (Glazer, 2012). Additionally, potential employers may be curious about the timing of the graduation so graduates should be ready to provide a positive response to the inquiry and be able to show how their odd graduation time can be beneficial for the company (Glazer, 2012). Regardless of why the graduate finished up early or late, the graduate should always be honest about the reasons (Glazer, 2012). During the interview, graduates should emphasize responsibility with finances, previous workforce experience, successes with handling a heavy work load, as well as internships and pertinent classes (Glazer, 2012).
Finding a job after graduation can be tough no matter when graduation occurs and needing a job soon after graduation may mean taking something other than a "dream" job. While the job that is landed may not be what the graduate has always hoped to do, it is important that he or she find something that is meaningful and provides joy in order to help maintain an overall sense of wellbeing and keep stress at bay (Rath & Harter, 2010). Common sense says that when a person does something day after day that he or she does not like, then the person's overall level of happiness decreases which can lead to all sorts of problems.
Counselors can be utilized to help address issues related to job dissatisfaction as well as a variety of other issues. Considering that job dissatisfaction is an underlying factor to other problems such as physical health, happiness, and relationships, it should come as no surprise that the use of a counselor for problems related to "the job" are beneficial (Rath & Harter, 2010). Counselors working with clients who struggle with career issues—known as career counselors—can offer a plethora of tools, interventions, and strategies to help guide the client.
Career counselors can offer assessments to help the client determine areas of interest, as well as areas of strength. Using theories related to career counseling, such as Holland's Theory, counselors can use the results of the assessment to help a client find possible career paths that might be more enjoyable. Career counselors can also help clients who struggle with asserting their wants and needs to coworkers and supervisors through assertiveness training. Other areas that career counselors can assist with include résumé writing and interview skills. Needless to say, career counseling can be useful for persons who are entering the job field for the first time, looking at making a transition, needing assistance with "moving up the ladder," or are simply just struggling with their current job placement.

Glazer, E. (2012). Off-season job hunting. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from
Rath, T., & Harter, J. (2010). Your career wellbeing and your identity. Gallup Business Journal. Retrieved from

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About This Blog

OhBehave is the outreach blog of the MNU Behavioral Sciences Department. In matters related to Psychology, Sociology, and Criminal Justice you will find information and updates geared to keep students and professionals abreast of the latest research, professional developments, and important trends in each field. As we seek a life of purpose, the material presented in this blog is meant to enhance and deepen our understanding of people and our world so that we may intentionally reflect the grace and peace of our creator.