I have been coaching an employment counsellor who has been having some difficulty finding work in that field. The April before last a whole slough of us were laid off. Many of the jobs went to for-profit companies. I was included in that number, and by luck, dint of hard work, or skulduggery I was able to land on my feet.

Actually I landed well, but may did not, and one of them came to me for my perspective. I answered in the following letter.

Dear Mary, I wrote

I am not meaning to appear cold, but  I’ve always maintained that it a good thing to have employment counsellors be unemployed for a period of time for a few reasons. First, unemployment gives them an opportunity to develop empathy for their clients (assuming they’ll ever have clients again but that’s just a feeling that one gets, and I am sure you will get there sooner than later).

 I find that employment counsellors that have settled into their positions for the long haul tend to become a bit snobbish when it comes to clients. They often assume an attitude that their clients aren’t “job ready” for the lamest of reasons, and they rarely, if ever go to bat for them. (They were late for an appointment etc.) They become witnesses for the prosecution.

For example, I was asked to be a reference for someone who hadn’t worked in years. Most Employment Counsellors would say that was unethical, but the fact I did have a counselling relationship with her, and I suppose I could offer more relevant information than her last employer who sexually assaulted her.

She got the job so ethics be damned. .   

Secondly, you get a chance to test out all that crap you’ve been teaching in workshops etc. You’ll be able to assess and compare strategies and see what works and what doesn’t. Finally, you can also check your ability to be flexible as different opportunities present themselves.

Finally, as far as interviewing goes, practice makes acceptable. I know it’s a good deal of fun, but try not to stay unemployed too long. You have to keep those pork and beans on the table. Thanks for giving me fodder to blog about though.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.




  1. Sharon Says:

    More great advice. Empathy is always good. Are job counselors being laid off for lengthy periods? Or are they getting back in the swivel chair quickly?

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