When I was interviewing for my current Grad program, I was frequently asked “why do you want to do this?”. It seemed rather formulaic, like something they would ask whether I was applying for a Grad program or a job at Wendy’s. As long as I didn’t answer with either “money” or explosive vomiting, I was golden. My answer would quietly gather dust in a file somewhere, to be forgotten unless it needed to be lorded over me in some way.
It’s one of those questions you hear all time, but never really think about.
With this job, maybe more than any other, you need to know the answer to that question. You need to know what keeps you coming in every day, because as a counselor you will encounter the best and worst parts of humanity. All the skeletons in you closet? Your clients can see yours as well as you can see theirs. If you don’t have a handle on it, those skeletons can own you.
I mention this because my own need for growth is becoming more apparent. There are times I know I’m off the ball with my clients, and there are times when flipping burgers for a living is a pretty attractive option. If there is the tiniest hole in the dam of your convictions, this job will hammer it open and burst out every unpleasant thing hiding in your psyche.
I wish I could tell you how to patch that dam. Once I figure it out, I’ll let you know.
The bright side? Imagine truly knowing a person, an experience of empathy so profound it borders on the religious. And imagine using that place to help move a person away from pain and isolation to understanding and change. That is what this job can be, if you have the heart and the patience for it.
That is why I want to do this.