Contrary to what many people might think, career counseling applies in various phases of the development career process. It is not limited to the workplace alone, where people may need help in resolving person-job mismatch, dealing with stress and burnout, managing conflicts, or going through the transitional adjustment period of mergers and acquisitions. Counseling can come into play even before a person lands a job.
For example, many graduates fresh out of college seek the services of a coach to get them through the job interview process and into their first paying job. Parents who wish to return to the workplace after taking time off to raise their children, and people transitioning from one career to a totally new and different one also often get career counseling help to see them through these difficult, uncertain periods. Thus, from starting out up to retirement, and in all things in between, a coach can come in anytime and provide invaluable career advice to resolve work-related issues and provide much-needed direction.
The importance of counseling is recognized not just by individual people, but by business companies and even governments. Large companies now routinely employ career counselors as part of their Human Resources Team, or as an external group to help out employees that need their services. Meanwhile, many governments have established counseling centers and clinics and regulated practices in the field to maximize both reach and effectiveness. Of course, there are also many private practitioners, including career coaches, career counselors and guidance counselors who all cater to the needs of workers—before, after, and during employment.
An important role of a career coach is to help a person make critical job decisions. The coach uses various assessment tools and his professional knowhow to establish his client’s skills, knowledge, educational and vocational preparation, personal interests and inclinations, and match these to the right job or career. He helps find that “dream job” which will fully utilize the person’s talents and skills and at the same time bring job satisfaction.
There are instances in which a person is very successful in his current work, but is not satisfied at all by this success. There are other cases in which a person jumps around from one job to another, never seeming to find quite the right match. And there too are circumstances in which a highly qualified person does not get any job offers, despite his impressive credentials and experience. In all of these cases, a career counselor can pinpoint where the problem lies and help to correct it.
For business companies, a counselor becomes especially necessary during times of transition. In the event of mergers, acquisitions, downsizing, layoffs, personnel reshuffling and the like, career counselors help smoothen things and normalize company activities as soon as possible so that productivity is not affected. But even in normal circumstances, companies can always benefit from having career counselors to help guide their employees along their career paths (or outside of it if it is not working out). Company-sponsored career counseling can be done in a group setup or on a one-on-one, individual manner. It can also be conducted face-to-face or via digital communication such as video conferencing. Whichever mode is adopted, counseling is always helpful in ensuring job satisfaction and a healthy, productive workplace.
A TALE OF THE WEST INDIES.
BY MRS. C. M. SAWYER.
THE most prominent incidents of the following tale are the scarcely embellished narration of facts which have, in reality, transpired. They took place somewhat less than a century ago, on the island of St. Christopher, and have constituted the theme of more than one moving and pathetic ballad. I have chosen them for the foundation of my tale, as furnishing one more addition to the catalog of events illustrative of that trite and much hackneyed expression, ” Truth is stranger than fiction.”
It was morning • the sun was just rising over one of the loveliest islands of the Caribbean sea, illuminating the summits of its mountains, and shedding its brilliant and gorgeous rays over a landscape of rare and exquisite beauty. Extensive fields of sugar-cane, growing to the height
of eight feet, and covered with beautiful arrow blossoms, lay thickly scattered through the rich valleys, appearing in the sunlight like immense sheets of waving gold gemmed with tyrian purple. Interspersed with these plantations were seen groves of lofty and magnificent trees, whose beauty is unknown in any save tropical climes. The palm-tree, the cocoa-nut, and royal palmetto, with the tamarind, the orange, and the graceful bamboo, lay grouped together in the wildest luxuriance. Numerous rivers, fed by a thousand rills, traversed the island like threads of silver, while, higher up, foaming cascades issued from the verdant sides of the mountains., whose summits were crowned with naked rocks piled together by the convulsions of nature, while the intervening spaces were filled with evergreens and lofty trees, among which the palmetto towered to the height of two hundred feet.
On that part of the island which is more particularly the scene of this story, stood a dwelling which was so far superior, both in its style and extent, to the houses usually occupied by the planters of the country, as to attract the immediate observation of every stranger. Its lofty verandas were twined with the choicest and most beautiful lianas, and exhibited various articles of foreign luxury and wealth. In the arrangement and keeping of the gardens which surrounded the spacious mansion, there were also pretensions to a taste and skill not displayed elsewhere on the island. Numerous varieties of fruit-trees not indigenous to the soil, interspersed with those of a native growth, all carefully pruned of every unsightly excrescence, graced the enclosure, and bent down beneath their load of fruit.
On the right of this mansion, and nearer to the shore, stood a group of palm-trees, which bore evident traces of careful attention. The under-growth of ferns and lianas was, on the side near-est to the shore, entirely cleared away, so that while an almost impervious shade was afforded by the tops of the trees, the view of the ocean was entirely unobstructed. Just within the verge of this group, and opening towards the shore, stood an artificial arbor, completely canopied by luxuriant vines of jessamine and grenadine, while oleanders and pomegranates were carefully trained to its sides, and loaded the atmosphere with their delicious fragrance. Numerous birds, of gorgeous and variegated plumage, glanced among the shining foliage, charming the ear with their melodious warbling,s.
On the morning in which my story opens, two persons might have been seen seated together in this arbor, with their eyes intently fixed upon the cloud of impenetrable mist which yet hung over the bay, and hid, even from the keenest eye, all within its bosom. The one was a youth, apparently just in the opening dawn of manhood, and who could not have numbered more than twenty summers. The other was a girl of about sixteen. But no one could have looked upon these per-sons for a moment, without perceiving that they were not only of a different lineage, but that different countries had given them birth. In the manly proportions of the youth, in his fair complexion, bright blue eye, and frank, open countenance, and, more than all, in his noble and dauntless bearing, one conversant with the world would at once have detected the Englishman, and one, too, of the better class of society. Few, perhaps, would, at first sight, have called him eminently handsome ; but no one could have ob-served him when engaged in conversation, and noted the brilliant flashes of his eye, and the animated expression of his whole countenance, and refused him that commendation.
But, however striking might have been the attractions of the young man, they were eclipsed by those of the fair being at his side. She was indeed a creature of singular and exquisite beau-
(To be continued)
A STORY OF THE PLAINS. BY KIRK MUNROE, Armort OF “THE FLAMINGO FEATHER.” “DEREK’S STEELING,” .• DORTMATES.” ETC.
A WEARY RIDE.
LOWLY and heavily the train rumbled on through the night. It was called an express ; but the year was long ago, in the early days of railroading, and what was then an express would now be considered a very slow and poky sort of a train. On this particular night too it ran more slowly than usual, because of the condition of the track. The season was such a wet one that even the oldest traveler declared lie could not remember another like it. Rain, rain, rain, day after day, for weeks, had been the rule of that spring, until the earth was soaked like a great sponge. All the rivers had overflowed their banks, and all the smaller streams were raging torrents, red, yellow, brown, and sometimes milky white, according to the color of the clays through which they cut their riotous way. The lowlands and meadows were flooded, so that the last year’s hay-stacks, rising from them here and there, were veritable islands of refuge for innumerable rabbits, rats, mice, and other small animals, driven by the waters from their homes.
And all this water had not helped the railroad one bit. In the cuts the clay or gravel banks were continually sliding down on the track, while on the fills they were as continually sliding out from under it. The section gangs were doubled, and along the whole line they were hard at work, by night as well as by day, only eating and sleeping by snatches, trying to keep the track in repair and the road open for traffic. In spite of their vigilance and in-creasing labor, however, the rains found plenty of chances to work their mischief undetected.
Many a time only the keen watchfulness of an engine-’driver, or his assistant, the fireman, saved a train from dashing into some gravel heap, beneath which the rails were buried, or from plunging into some yawning opening from which a culvert or small bridge had been wash-ed out. Nor with all this watchfulness did the trains always get through in safety. Sometimes a bit of track that looked all right would suddenly sink beneath the weight of a passing train into a quagmire that had been formed beneath it, and then would follow the pitiful scenes of a railroad wreck.
So nobody traveled except those who were compelled to do so, and the passenger business of this particular road was lighter than it had been since the opening. It was so. light that on this night there were not more than half a dozen persons in the single passenger coach of tile express, and only one of these was a woman. Another was her baby, a sturdy, wholesome-looking little fellow, who, though he was but a year old, appeared large enough to be nearly, if not quite, two. He had great brown eyes, exactly like those of his mother. She was young and pretty, but just now she looked utterly worn out, and no wonder. The train was twelve hours late; and instead of being comfortably established in a hotel, at the end of her journey by rail, as she had expected to be be-fore dark that evening, she was wearily trying to sleep in the same stuffy. jolting car she had occupied all day, and had no hope of leaving before morning.
There were no sleeping-cars in those days, nor vestibule trains, nor even cars with stuffed easy-chairs, in which one could lie back and make one’s self comfortable. No, indeed: there were no such luxuries as these for those. who traveled by rail at that time. The passenger coach-es were just long boxes, with low, almost flat roofs, like those of freight cars. Their windows were small, and generally stuck fast in their frames, so that they could not be opened. There was no other means of ventilation, except as one of the end doors was flung open, when there came such a rush of smoke and cinders and cold air that everybody was impatient to have it closed again.
At night the only light was given by three candles that burned inside, of globes to protect them from being extinguished every time a door was opened. There were no electric lights, nor gas, nor even oil lamps for the cars of those days, only these feeble candles, placed one at each – end, and one in the middle of the coach. But worst of all were the seats, which must have been invented by somebody who wished to discourage railroad riding. They were narrow, hard, straight-backed, and covered with shiny leather.
In a car of this description the young mother, with her baby, had traveled a whole day, and nearly a whole night. It is no wonder then that she looked worn out, or that the baby, who had been so jolly and happy as to be voted a remarkably fine child by all the passengers, should have sunk into an exhausted sleep, after a prolonged fit of screaming and crying that caused the few remaining in-mates of the car to look daggers at it and say many unkind things, some of which even reached the ears of the mother.
During the day there bad been other women in the car, traveling for shorter or longer distances. To one of these, a lady-like girl, who occupied an adjoining seat for some hours, and who was greatly interested in the baby, the mother had confided the fact that this was his birthday, and had also told part of her own history. From this it appeared that she was the wife of an army officer, who was stationed with his regiment in the far West. She had not seen him for nearly a year, or just after the baby was born ; but at last he had been ordered to a fort on the upper Mississippi River, where he hoped to remain for some time. Now his young wife, who had only been waiting until he could give her some sort of a home with