Topic 4: Jobs in Counseling – The Search & Application Process {by 2/20}

Based on the readings and assignment due this week consider the following discussion points: *(1) Discuss your thoughts and feelings about your recent job search experience. For example, did you learn anything? Do you feel more (or less) optimistic about obtaining a job upon graduation? (2) What are some potential anxieties and/or concerns you have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field upon graduation? (3) Although your potential employer may want to know certain qualities about you, what organizational qualities are important to you? Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 2/20.  Post your two replies no later than 2/22.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

*Yes, the first discussion point is very similar to your second reflection question for your assignment. Thus, you can use the answer for your assignment (or a part of it) for the blog. The rationale is that this will give a chance for your peers to read a few responses and potentially provide some helpful insight with their replies. This will also help with “priming” for in class participation.


27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeremy Pierce
    Feb 15, 2018 @ 12:27:06

    (1) Discuss your thoughts and feelings about your recent job search experience. For example, did you learn anything? Do you feel more (or less) optimistic about obtaining a job upon graduation?
    In the past few years I’ve applied for a number of different jobs and it’s definitely a learning process that I’ve gotten better at as I do more. For instance, where I’m at now I would be much more likely to ask a lot more questions about the company and try to make sure its a good fit for me as much as I would be a good fit for them. When I was younger I’d honestly just be happy to get a job and these things wouldn’t matter as much to me, but through different work experiences I have learned to value certain things in a different sense. I’ve also learned that there is a lot out there, and given my education I am in a sense in a much better position to pick and choose where I would like to work as opposed to having to settle for something I might really dislike. For instance last year I left a job partly because it was a terrible experience but I knew I’d be able to find an alternative pretty quickly because of where I am at now, whereas in the past I’d probably settle and stick with that job because I’d have much fewer opportunities. With this in mind I’m pretty optimistic about finding a job after graduation, I feel pretty confident in myself as a person that has a lot to offer in a variety of ways and settings given my work experiences and interests.
    (2) What are some potential anxieties and/or concerns you have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field upon graduation?
    I think the biggest anxiety is that most people in psychology are pretty smart (I’m biased) and so I just hope they’re not going to be slick by trying to make us feel like the place we are interviewing at is awesome, then to have it turn out to be terrible or much lesser than we anticipate. I don’t necessarily see that happening, but I want to make sure I am surrounded by people I can trust and learn from and that will be helpful in furthering my career. I guess the other thing is that I don’t know everything and I know there is still a lot for me to learn and develop as a therapist and I don’t want that to be a reason why I don’t get accepted for a job. In a way this helps motivate me to keep learning and honing my skills, and I think a good employer would recognize and appreciate this.
    (3) Although your potential employer may want to know certain qualities about you, what organizational qualities are important to you?
    I definitely care about what type of people I’m going to be around. Is it people that really love what they are doing? Are they helpful and understanding that I’d be new and learning? Do they enjoy working at this given company? I’d also want to know how long people and potential supervisors have been there, any types of changes in how the organization works. There’s definitely a lot of questions I would have for an employer, I feel like we need to do a lot of the interviewing to make sure they are a good fit for us as well. It’s kind of funny to think about how its like a mutual interview process but in order to find the right fit for you, I think these are the steps to take to make sure you’re happy and satisfied with the organization you choose.


    • Brenden Knight
      Feb 20, 2018 @ 12:27:19

      Although I did not mention this piece in my post, I too recognize that I enjoy working in places where my colleagues are relatable, human, and easy to get along with. Essentially, if I would not enjoy talking with potential colleagues outside of work, then I certainly would not enjoy working alongside them five days a week either. Even more so, I like working with competent colleagues because it’s so much easier to respect them as professionals. When I encounter coworkers who utilize less than evidence based practices or show outright poor clinical skills, I simply cannot respect them. At my internship there is a fair share of “clinicians” who I do not respect. As a result, I looked beyond this agency in my job searching process. In good faith, I have to push myself to work at an agency that prioritizes good practices and holds their employees accountable for effective clinical work. And, of course, clinical effectiveness must be balanced by human qualities (e.g., warmth, humor, understanding).


    • Rachael Hickey
      Feb 21, 2018 @ 16:24:37

      Jeremy – I worry that I will find myself in the position you were, that is, so worried about finding a job that I accept a position that may not be the best fit for me. This job search also made me more optimistic and with the credentials we will receive, you are right that we should be in a better position than others to have more options in what we do and do not want to do. I agree that employers should see a desire to learn and acknowledgement that we don’t know everything as a good thing and should help our odds during an interview. I had not considered that we may get a rose-colored perspective of the position we interview for, but that definitely makes sense as they will be trying to sell their agency as much as we are trying to sell our skills. I hope I ask the right kinds of questions and get an accurate view of the agencies I interview for. My coworkers and supervisors will definitely “make or break” my employment experience. I find that even if you are dealing with difficult situations in terms of content of the job, if you have good people around you, it is far more manageable.


  2. Alec Twigden
    Feb 16, 2018 @ 10:35:00

    1. I learned a little about the job market from this job search, the main thing that I learned are the organizations that actively look for LMHCs and LMHC candidates. An online job search alone does provide some important informations as it helps to gauge the types of incomes that are available, the types of positions that are underserved, and the broad requirements and duties that we can expect. Also I learned about certain administration positions that may be open to us in the future and I the pay ranges that they offer, and the qualifications needed to to obtain many of those positions (e.g. supervision experience, teaching experience, etc). However, it doesn’t provide much information for those of us who plan to work in areas outside of these larger organizations which tend to be able to provide supervision during our prelicense years.
    2. I am also concerned that there may be many positions that are not advertised and I would like to learn about those. Through networking I have identified some such positions. With this said, I do not have any concerns about obtaining a job as there is a clear abundance of positions. As a result I am not at all anxious about finding a job as the worst case scenario seems to be that I just won’t have my ideal job. My efforts at this stage are geared toward finding a job that will allow me to specialize during my pre licensure hours. In this regard, I am optimistic but understand that there may be an equal possibility that I will not be able to find such a position and I am okay with that as there are resources that I can use to self teach what I what to learn. Taken together, I would say that I am neither more or less optimistic about my post graduation job prospects.
    3. Organizational qualities that are important to me are their management qualities such as good communication of rules, expectations, and everything really so that it is easy for people to work in harmony. Also I would like a place that values evidence based practices and the CBT practices that I would use. I also look for a place that offers good supervision and hopefully a salaried pay structure with benefits. I would also like a place that enables my hope to specialize in an anxiety disorder.


    • Cora Spillman
      Feb 19, 2018 @ 13:20:40

      Alec, I agree with you in regards to your response about finding a job. I think its clear that there are an abundance of positions that will be available for us upon graduating, it is simply a concern of finding the “right” job. I think its great that you have been networking and finding out about jobs that are not listed on online search engines. I would definitely be interested in hearing about how you are networking and with whom! It is definitely a great skill to have and often leads people to finding fantastic jobs that fit the person’s needs.


    • Sarah
      Feb 19, 2018 @ 18:17:35

      Alec, you make a really good point about the abundance of jobs and about how the issue won’t be finding a job, but finding the right job. It can be hard to tell just from the interview if a job will be the right fit, and once you’ve settled in a job, if it isn’t the right fit, it can be hard to force yourself to leave once you have grown comfortable. I also really like how you brought up that networking is so important in the job search. I am definitely going to email my contacts in my preferred agencies to ask what positions might be available despite their lack of listings online. I think it’s great that you thought to do so too.


    • Ana
      Feb 20, 2018 @ 09:33:45

      Alec, I think that what you pointed out about the limitations for supervision is great. If we don’t go to a bigger named agency, there is little information about supervision opportunities and professional growth opportunities. It makes me wonder if before licensure we just have to plant somewhere and then expand. It kind of makes me less optimistic to be honest because the listings don’t highlight any opportunity for creativity in designing a position in an area of great need or with a population of great need.


    • Andrew Lampi
      Feb 22, 2018 @ 07:32:46

      I really liked your idea about finding a position that will allow you to specialize in a certain area prior to receiving your license, and I also agree that finding such a position will likely be difficult, at least going through the conventional means of online job searching. I feel like most positions we find online, while certainly meant for people in our position, are necessarily vague enough to ensure that a good amount of people will apply for that spot. I would bet that there are a number of positions that might allow us to specialize, or at least get contact with a population we hope to be able to work with, but it will be difficult to determine this for certain until contact with that agency is made. I suppose the real trick is finding an agency that is open to us specializing in what we want, having the resources to allow us to do so, along with having the proper environment/qualities that we are looking for in an employer as well.


  3. Sarah
    Feb 16, 2018 @ 18:15:25

    1. The job search went much better than expected. I was worried about finding companies that were catered to my desired population, which is a bit of a niche group. My desired population is individuals who have experienced sexual assault or domestic violence and/or the LGBTQ population. This is quite a specific desire, so I was worried about being able to find a workplace that would fulfill those desires for me. I was able to find several places that I plan to apply at and that I believe I would be really happy working at. While they aren’t all specific to my population, they all seem to follow the philosophies that are important to me, such as engaging in evidence-based practice, taking a careful approach to trauma, and being empowering towards those who are marginalized. I feel more optimistic about obtaining a job after the job search. The search forced me to look to see what was out there to get a realistic sense of what was available and desirable to me. I realized that there is a lot more job availability in the field than I had imagined. I also realized there are seven different places I would quite enjoy working at, which takes a bit of pressure off since prior to the search I knew about two different places I wanted to apply. Now I have seven, which decreases my level of stress due to the increased odds of being hired.

    2. My nerves about interviewing lie in the simple fact that I really really hate interviewing. I get decently nervous and then either talk too little or too much and am just awkward. Plus no matter how many times I get asked and practice interview questions, there’s always at least one that throws me off. That being said, I have been hired for multiple jobs so I can’t be that bad. Furthermore, I plan to apply to numerous places to increase my odds of being hired.

    3. It’s important to me that the agency’s philosophies are similar to that of my own, specifically that they value evidence-based practice, are careful when treating trauma, and work to empower those who are usually marginalized. It is also important to me that the work environment is supportive and the people working there are friendly and helpful. It’s also important to me that the environment is structured and organized. At my current placement, there is never enough offices, computers, or space for everyone. I would love to have my own office. Furthermore, in my current placement, they allow you to make your own schedule, which is nice, but they don’t have much needed parameters. The office never officially closes. While I like having freedom, I really want more structure than that.


    • Rachael Hickey
      Feb 21, 2018 @ 16:18:02

      Sarah – I too had concerns about finding positions available in my specific interest, as I too have a rather niche group. My internship site had several open positions that would allow me to continue working with individuals with eating disorders and I plan to apply to those. I was surprised at the number of positions I was able to find and am also feeling more optimistic about obtaining a job I will enjoy. I also hate interviewing and tend to panic and say “um” too much or forget information I wanted to talk about/blank at a question I should know the answer to. I also need to work at an agency that shares my values, including evidence-based practice, professionalism, competency, and approachability. That is very odd that your placement site never officially closes and such a lack of structure would make it difficult for me to work there as well.


  4. Andrew Lampi
    Feb 18, 2018 @ 16:42:01

    1. In regard to the education I gained in completing this job search, I was surprised by the multitude of openings available. I was shocked at the number of positions a simple search of “mental health clinician” in search area “Massachusetts” rendered. In fact, I was most surprised when the first result on my first search yielded an opening at an outpatient setting that is quite literally less than one half mile from where I live. Not only was I surprised at how close this was to me, I had no awareness of this provider at all. I soon realized that this was more indicative of the norm than not: not only are there numerous agencies and providers in the areas in which we live and learn how to be clinicians, we are incredibly qualified for such positions. It was surprising to me to learn that I could potentially seek employment in a position I have spent the last two years honing highly specialized skills for, and I could theoretically walk to an interview there in less than 10 minutes.
    Overall, this experience left me feeling somewhat relieved at the fact that finding employment would likely not be difficult, especially considering the fact that our program has such a high reputation, but also a little apprehensive. If the need for individuals with our skills is so high that finding employment is so easy, how will we be able to handle the needs of the community when there are so relatively few of us qualified to do so? While this is a large scale problem and we are but able to make small individual differences, it is still a question that weighs heavily on myself, and something I think is important to consider when pursuing a career. The responsible clinician ought to ask “how can I be of greater benefit to my clients in the present” but also “how can I take my work and improve upon the need for individuals like myself in the community?”

    2. Some of the general anxieties I have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field include the fact that while there are certainly plenty of openings available for those in our position, there are similarly many of those in positions like us who are qualified for these jobs. While I do not fear that there are enough jobs out there for all of us to find pay, I do fear that we may all be able to recognize which jobs are likely the best, and seeking employment at such positions may be difficult. Therefore, I worry about finding a job that may be the perfect fit for me, but being unable to attain it due to the competition for that spot.
    I also fear that I may find a position that I really enjoy and would like to work at, but then find myself interviewing with someone who simply does not adhere to evidence based practice, or seems to have little respect for it. I understand that this is likely becoming less and less frequent over time, but I worry that this individual may poo-poo our training, and that I may inadvertently (or otherwise) indicate that I find their method of therapy to be unfounded, and may therefore find myself disappointed that what I thought was a dream-position was in fact not so.

    3. There are several qualities I find important in an employer. One is taking employee morale and opinions seriously. It can be difficult to be a good provider if you hate where you work or feel as though you are not being listened to. One of the positions I came across said that an expectation was to see all of the cases that were assigned to you by the clinic director without exception. One thing I currently value is the ability to select my caseload in a way that provides for the greatest education. Failing to consider the opinions of employees could lead more quickly to burnout or otherwise ineffective clinicians. I also value importance being placed on supervision. My internship site places a great deal of emphasis on formal personal supervision for clinicians, as well as on informal case consultation that takes place weekly. I have found that this is a system that works for me, and would like to seek a similar system in my place of employment. Finally, I also value collaboration and friendliness amongst coworkers. I value feeling comfortable enough to go up to a fellow clinician and ask for advice, help in developing an idea, or simply inquiring if he or she would like to attend an educational opportunity together. Being able to rely on coworkers for help can help foster morale and reduce the risk of burnout, and is something I would intend to seek in my future career.


    • Cora Spillman
      Feb 19, 2018 @ 13:27:29

      Andrew, I really like your point about thinking of the big picture when helping those in our community. It is definitely a valid concern that the high levels of job openings likely means less community members are being served. I think it is definitely important to think about the broader spectrum of individuals in need of help, and understand how we (as mental health professionals) are able to provide services to these individuals. I also agree with your point about the importance of supervision when working for an agency. I have definitely experienced the highs and lows of supervision, and could not agree more that supervision could make or break a job. I too would like to find an organization that places an importance on supervision.


    • Jeremy Pierce
      Feb 19, 2018 @ 14:37:19

      Andrew, you make a lot of great points. I’m kind of surprised by how many job opportunities there are out there, and I try to think big picture in the ways that this will influence us, in terms of will this mean there will be way too many people that need our service and how do you make sure you don’t take on too much. I like how you branch this into the ides of how this influences the community as a whole as well, I see that you view it much more as a whole in terms of maybe how to approach the counseling techniques of the agency instead of just the individual counselor? I like how you mentioned finding that dream job and then being kind of concerned if they were to have drastically different views on how to approach therapy than you have and how this would influence the job experience. Ultimately i think theres enough places out there that you will find the right fit for you but we will definitely have to be patient finding that right fit!


    • Ana
      Feb 20, 2018 @ 09:43:35

      Andrew, you bring up some very keen anxieties that I think we all have. Positions are abundant but selling ourselves can be daunting especially when it seems MA just manufactures mental health workers. I do agree that our program here is great at preparing us to work in the field, but many places don’t advertise “evidence-based practices.” You also mention worrying about being able to recognize the right job. I agree that it is one thing to keep in mind the right questions to ask to assess the environment is appropriate for each of us and figuring out how to ask those questions in the interview process.


  5. Cora Spillman
    Feb 19, 2018 @ 13:17:33

    (1) After completing this job search I am both satisfied and more stressed out. It always amazes me how many routes one can take with a psychology degree. The variety of job placements is incredible, but also overwhelming when trying to determine where specifically I would want to work. I feel optimistic knowing that the job results go on and on, in a variety of locations, settings, and agencies. Although I will not be applying for a job until my return to the United States in a couple of years, I am satisfied knowing that I will likely be able to find a job quickly upon coming home. One thing that is frustrating that I have noticed through this assignment is the lack of salary listings for jobs. Although money is not the only determining factor for a job, it would be helpful to know upon applying to the job. It would also be helpful to know before an interview. I think it would be helpful to know upfront because it would allow me to compare the agency to other agency positions and determine if it makes sense to negotiate a salary or accept what the agency offers. Out of the salaries I did see, it was satisfying to see that upon becoming LMHC licensed, salaries increase. This will be motivating once I enter the job force and begin accruing my hours for licensure.
    (2) I think my biggest concern is going to be finding an agency that I truly enjoy, rather than settling for a job. It can be a long process of applying and interviewing for jobs, so I am hoping I am able to tough out the stress in order to find an agency that I like, rather than simply taking the first job offers I am given. Another concern is in regards to negotiating a salary. Currently, I do not feel comfortable with my ability to negotiate my terms of employment. Although it’s not always necessary to negotiate during job offers, it is definitely a skill I would like to attain. A final concern is finding an agency that works with children/youth that will be able to provide me with enough clinical hours. It has been a challenge at my internship when working with children, since after-school hours are so limited.
    (3) For me, the work environment is a very critical aspect in determining where I will want to work. I will want an open and friendly work environment with coworkers that are supportive of each other. I think it is important to have an aspect of team work in the work place, in order to bounce ideas off of each other. Another important factor is stability of the employees; how long has everyone worked there? I will definitely want to know how long the supervisor has been there as well. Finally, I would like an organization that has a variety of services; individual therapy, group therapy, and possibly case management services. I think it’s important to experience a variety of clinical settings (e.g. individual vs. group formats) in order to strengthen ability in both areas.


    • Jeremy Pierce
      Feb 19, 2018 @ 14:46:00

      Cora I like your point about how its frustrating that so many of the positions don’t include a salary. I look at it two ways: its something they don’t want to advertise because its not that good or its really good and it will be a surprise! I hope its the latter of the two but I guess we will see. I think it helps knowing that ahead of time too because its one less thing to have to ask and allows you to focus on other things throughout the interview. That kind of relates to your second point on how the interview process is long and can be stressful so I think it says a lot about a place if they can be open upfront and honest about anything and everything before we choose to work there.


    • Sarah
      Feb 19, 2018 @ 18:11:32

      Cora, I completely agree about the salaries. It seems that the average for unlicensed masters level clinicians is around 40k, but that does vary from agency to agency, so it’s hard to know what to ask for. This is super concerning to me, because in my current job I was being underpaid compared to my coworkers in the same position. I was able to advocate for myself and get a raise once I found out, but I was still being paid unfairly low for a number of months. I hope that will motivate me to aim higher when I am negotiating for salary. However, I am concerned about asking for too much because I don’t want to seem unreasonable or demanding and then either have to work with that judgment or not be hired because of it. I also feel you on the worries about settling for a job that isn’t necessarily the right fit. I’m trying to minimize my own chances of doing so by applying to only places I believe I would be happy with, since I have found several. However, I am also nervous about how to go about asking an agency to wait for you to decide if you are holding out to hear from a different job.


    • Brenden Knight
      Feb 20, 2018 @ 12:09:15

      Cora, when I started searching for job opportunities a few months ago I too was concerned by the lack of salaried positions. The reality is that starting positions in this field typically shy away from salary models and prefer productivity models, or “fee-for-service.” A couple of months ago I was adamantly against fee-for-service because of the negative feedback. Experiencing no-shows at my unpaid internships was bad enough, never mind the prospect of getting no-shows when my paycheck depends on clients arriving to their appointments. However, after interviews and additional researching I have learned that non-salaried positions are not necessarily a definite evil. Of course, salary provides comfort of financial stability, but fee-for-service does not invariably mean financial instability. The position that I just accepted uses a productivity model that requires a minimum of 32 billable hours each week. However, there is no cap to billable hours. In other words, you can bill as many hours as possible each week. Needless to say, you can run yourself dry by tacking on too many clients. At the same time, it’s satisfying knowing that you can willingly increase your income by doing more. In that sense, particular fee-for-service models can actually be beneficial. Whereas salaried positions have a set amount of income, fee-for-service models allow you to create your own income. I like that sense of freedom and accountability. Moreover, I believe that salaried positions often beget lower productivity because the money is already set. On the flip side, “doing extra” is not necessarily rewarded in a salaried position.


  6. Rachael Hickey
    Feb 19, 2018 @ 21:44:10

    1. This job search experience was illuminating. I was pleasantly surprised at how many jobs in mental health counseling were posted and the variety of settings that were available (outpatient, residential, inpatient, partial hospitalization). I was also surprised at the number of jobs I would be eligible for immediately after graduation with “just” a master’s degree. I thought it would be more difficult to find positions in my area, but there were many openings in central Massachusetts. It was frustrating that, for the positions I searched, no salary information was available with the posting. There were, however, often signing bonuses listed, which had not occurred to me would be part of the process. I found that it was easier to find positions I would be interested in by going directly to various agency websites and clicking on their “careers” tab instead of using general job search engines such as Monster. Going directly to the sites also allowed me to narrow my focus on agencies that work in settings, locations, or with populations that most interest me. I am feeling more optimistic about obtaining a job after graduation. I was worried there would not be many options in my geographic area that worked with populations I am interested in, but I was proven wrong. I also thought there would be few agencies willing to hire unlicensed clinicians. This was also not the case, as there were many positions available to master’s level or licensure-track clinicians.
    2. I have several potential anxieties/concerns about interviewing for a job in the mental health field upon graduation. The tone for the entire interview is typically set in the first minute or two, and I have concerns I will appear too anxious or trip over my sentences in those crucial moments, setting off on a bad foot. When I become anxious, I speak too fast and my mind sometimes blanks on information I know. As such, I am concerned I will be asked a question I should and do know the answer to, but out of nervousness will botch my response. I also am not a particularly assertive person, and as such, fear that I may not push for my full worth (both out of fear of not being hired and not knowing entirely what I can and should reasonably ask for).
    3. It is important to me to have quality supervision and coworkers who are kind, collaborative, and competent in their positions. I need to work in an environment where communication is open and respectful, where colleagues are supportive, and where needs and expectations are clearly explained. Strong organization is also important to me; I do not wish to work at an agency where there is clutter, chaos, or missing paperwork. Adequate space is preferred. I have heard many stories from my peers about lack of office space and have experienced my fair share of tight quarters in my own internship. I want to work in a place with a reasonable relaxed atmosphere. I do not thrive when things are too uptight.


    • Andrew Lampi
      Feb 22, 2018 @ 07:40:59

      I agree with your first response in my equal surprise at the number of positions available to people with MA’s, particularly in Central Mass. Finding so many who are willing to take license eligible applicants certainly brightens the hope for people in our positions. I also agree with your concerns regarding interviews and how small details can set the tone of the entire experience. I find interviews complicated, as everyone always says that it’s a “mutual discovery process.” While its certain that we are able to determine if we would like to work at a position based on the interview, often times we are in a disadvantage, at least in our initial job searches, as we are not yet employed. Having the luxury of a backup plan for our income certainly lowers the stakes, but at present, many of us are searching for the primary means by which we’ll pay the bills, and I think you’re not alone in feeling nervous at that prospect.


  7. Matt Miracle
    Feb 20, 2018 @ 02:14:34

    1. I wish I could say I’m more optimistic about obtaining a job after graduating, but my thoughts regarding it are more or less the same. Although I’m not particularly worried about finding a job and being left homeless, my expectations must be too high because everything I look at just seems extremely unappealing. What I’m looking for is a salaried job where I can do outpatient clinic work Monday-Friday with reliable hours, an intake coordinator, and working computers. While some positions are certainly better than others, it pretty much seems like if I want to do outpatient clinic work I have to accept the fact that I’ll be getting access to none of those things until maybe I get my license. Well, that’s not entirely true; I’d get the salary after a few months of fee for service work. An alternative is I can always do something I have absolutely no interest in, which would be substance abuse work, in-home therapy, or work in a residential treatment center. It looks like these options tend to pay more and offer better benefits, however, I didn’t get into this field to do things that don’t interest me. I feel like I have to draw the line somewhere and the fact that the payment structure in this field is so non-negotiable and broken is really starting to irritate me.
    2. I don’t mind interviewing too much, but I do get slightly anxious over how unpredictable they can be. I’ve had a lot of different interviews in my life and most interviewers tend to have their own style. Some of these styles might be good at gauging some kind of competency, but a lot of the time that doesn’t seem to be the case. As cheesy as it might sound, this lack of control and unpredictability tends to lead me to approach these situations by just trying my best, being myself and adopting a mentality of “Whatever happens, happens.”
    3. For me, I think what’s most important is that the people around me can laugh. I think it’s possible to be too caught up in what we do and maybe take it a bit too seriously. The great Adam Volungis once said he enjoyed working with humans or “real people.” I agree, it’s important to me that people I work with be mostly people I’d talk to outside of work. It’s also important to me that an organization strive to do the best they can do for their clients. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean only evidenced-based practice (especially in a state where we’re mandated to assessments like the CANS), but for me, that’s preferred.


  8. Ana
    Feb 20, 2018 @ 09:28:47

    After doing the job search, I feel kind of stuck. It appears I can do so much but at the same time I’m limited to the clinical setting. Since research is not my forte, I found that clinical/residential conventional therapy is what I would be qualified to do in MA. Unless, I want to manage or run a program which for many places here is MA do not require a master’s level. I guess, I just found that there is not much set up for a creative position, which seems to be contrary to what I expected unless I just haven’t searched for the right keywords.

    For job interviewing, I worry that I will not ask the right questions to get a feel for a place and determine if it’s an appropriate environment for me. I worry that I won’t be prepared to ask the logistical questions or advertise myself enough to acquire appropriate and fair benefits/income.

    From an organization, it is important that there is strong sense of collaboration between the administrative side and the staff/direct care. It is important that there is a strong level of ethical professionalism while maintaining a supportive environment for employees. Communication and support is key for me; support for the professional growth of employees.


    • Alec Twigden
      Feb 22, 2018 @ 11:10:37

      I feel the same way, like clinical settings are limited. There does not seem to be much room for creative positions and although it may seem weird to talk about creative positions in this field (how creative can therapy be?) it would be nice to have positions that allow us to define our own paths a bit more for some of us that might mean a position that allows us to develop skills for a niche, focus in on a specialty, or combine other skills or interests that we have with our therapy skills but because we are essentially limited to large organizations with more or less the same duties it seems that this possibility does not exist for us. I know for myself I am spending this semester trying to find a way around this problem.


    • Matt Miracle
      Feb 22, 2018 @ 11:53:28

      I hear you on feeling “stuck.” Many of the outpatient clinics seem to suffer from the exact same problems as FCP and I’m not sure what’s best to do for my two years post-grad. It’s like some sort of sadistic trading game: “Would you like to trade a supportive work environment for more office space and working computers? How about a higher salary in exchange for poor supervision and some case management work?” I don’t know; I’d like to just do what I want to do in a functional environment, but I guess that’s not possible for another two years.


  9. Brenden Knight
    Feb 20, 2018 @ 11:23:49

    1) Had I not just accepted a job offer last week, I would have felt fairly discouraged after the job searching assignment. In my reflection for the assignment, I recognized that there is a large disparity between the quantity and quality of post-masters jobs, in my opinion. I had no issues finding numerous openings; however, the quality of these jobs were less than favorable (i.e., in-home, residential, community-based). And this experience seems to be the norm, based everyone else’s blog posts. There are many opportunities for filling a seat, but the jobs have very little appeal at face value. I am adamant that I never want to work at an agency where I will be solely utilized as a case manager or advanced social worker. On the contrary, I crave CLINICAL WORK (i.e., therapy!). I would rather leave this field than be obliged to transport clients to appointments and help them apply for benefits (not my expertise, not my interest). I found value in the job searching assignment and learned a bit more. First, I gained more evidence that the professionalism of any given agency can be gauged by the quality of the job posting itself. Second, I learned that pay estimates for these jobs are usually misleading (and in my opinion outright deceitful). Third, I learned the importance of reading the fine print (i.e., extended job descriptions). Catchy job titles often melted away as the job descriptions showed closer approximations to the truth. Finally, I’ve learned (not that I didn’t already know) that applying for your first job in this field is a game of push and pull. You won’t find your ideal job in your first go-round; however, you can find a job that most closely matches your values.

    2) I do not say this with pride – I have always felt comfortable in job interviews. Of course, I experience the normal butterflies and nerves. But I also have great confidence in my ability to make desired first impressions and display my abilities. I completed my third and final job interview at Spectrum Health Systems last week and accepted the position afterwards. Throughout this process I felt at ease because the agency made it so. If I feel comfortable and “natural” during any given interview, that’s usually my sign that the agency is a good fit. On the contrary, I’ve had experiences with agencies in the past where my “gut feeling” during interviews pushed me away. As cliché as it certainly sounds, interviewing at Spectrum truly felt like a two-way street; I had the sense that I was indeed interviewing them simultaneously. If I do experience anxiety in a job interview, that’s usually an indication that the job is not my right fit. Here are some of the interview warning signs that I’ve come across in the past: 1) an interviewer who seems desperate for a quick hire, 2) employees who have questionable attitudes, 3) clientele who appear dissatisfied and frustrated, 4) staff turnover (i.e., the “revolving door” agencies).

    3) When I research any given agency, I look for certain organizational qualities that provide a clear indication of that agency’s goodness of fit with me. Most importantly, I gravitate towards agencies that promote evidence based practices (and quite frankly, who in the world can argue against this approach?). Agencies that filter out “fruit loops” and prioritize clinicians who practice SCIENCE get huge brownie points in my book, and rightfully so. In fact, any agency that does not openly promote evidence based practices automatically gets taken off my list. I refuse to work at an agency that does not value effective work – because if the work is not effective, then it is meaningless as well! Secondly, I look for agencies that value work-life balance. Agencies that don’t allow their clinicians to practice what they preach are far too hypocritical for my liking. On the other hand, agencies that acknowledge each clinician’s own humanity are especially appealing. Other qualities that I find crucial are excellent supervision, accountability, strong training, and an emphasis on hard work. Unfortunately, this field not only includes the occasional fruit loop, but also far too many lazy workers who do the bare minimum. I value organizations that truly make you work for your money and grow as a professional. I would never feel satisfied at an agency where my colleagues or I are allowed to slack off on a daily basis. I crave a good challenge and shy away from becoming too “comfortable.”


    • Alec Twigden
      Feb 22, 2018 @ 11:19:19

      I agree with many of the comments that you made. First, the disparity between quantity and quality of jobs, this was glaring as the question for assignment 1 about which jobs we would actually consider was a bit of a puzzle for me. I don’t know that this is unique to the counseling field, although it may be, but this makes the jobs search time consuming as we try to distinguish between the quality of the various job openings. Also I like that you are adamant about doing therapy, I have noticed that agencies tend to want to lump therapy and social work together. I was glad to hear someone express the same sentiment, I think it is important for those of us who are uninterested in social work/case management to make this clear to our employers. I also agree that a job posting gives an indication of an organization’s professionalism, vague and misleading descriptions do not show that the company is genuinely trying meet mutual interests for themselves and the employee. Lastly, I am interested to hear how you know that pay estimates are misleading (I did not find many sites that offer pay estimates).


    • Matt Miracle
      Feb 22, 2018 @ 11:27:04

      Congratulations on getting the job, Brenden. I think I’m sort of the same way when it comes to interviewing. Part of the reason I don’t get as anxious is because I don’t feel I’m the only one who needs to be making a good impression. One shouldn’t be so desperate to get a position that they throw all their standards out the window. I like how you listed out all of your “red flags” and I think this is probably a good practice before going into any job interview. People should know what it is they’re looking for and also know where they’re going to draw the line and say “thanks, but no thanks.”


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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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