Following Your Bliss

Sarah E Murphy

A Career Advice Column
by Sarah E. Murphy
writer, photoartist, entrepreneur and seasoned job seeker


Mentors Don’t Grow On Trees
- Why Not Try A Job Coach

It’s that sad time of year again. Labor Day’s passing marks the official end of summer. The lifeguard stands have been removed from the beaches and ice cream trucks are replaced by offensive yellow school buses. I drive by a crowded schoolyard and fight the familiar pangs of seasonal depression.

My summer stint in the Communications Office at the Marine Biological Laboratory has ended, and I am forced once again to join the job search. I feel as though I’ve spent the better part of my adult life looking for employment, and it always seems as though once I become comfortable in a job, once I start to feel like I belong, suddenly it’s time to move on.

"The reality of life is that I must have a “job” in order to pursue my “career.”

But this is the price I must pay if I want to follow the creative path. The reality of life is that I must have a “job” in order to pursue my “career.”

Starting a new job is so much like starting a new school year, and I feel the same trepidation. Will my new teacher/boss be nice? Will my classmates/colleagues like me? Will I fit in? Will I eat lunch alone?

However, I am trying to approach this job search differently. Instead of viewing it as a daunting task, I will consider the possibilities, the chance of finding something truly interesting and rewarding. And decent benefits would be nice, too. I will view myself as lucky for having the freedom to try something new, rather than being boxed in by a current position. What an exciting an adventure this will be!

But all of that doesn’t change the fact that it can still be an incredibly annoying process.

"Job coaches are similar to mentors, but are paid for their services, and are readily available for hire."

I received an email after my mentor piece from someone who desperately wanted to find a mentor, but didn’t know where to look, which made me more curious about job coaching, something I keep hearing about lately. While conducting my research for this article, I found myself becoming very interested in the field, and recognizing the fact that I could benefit greatly from such a service.

What is Job Coaching?

Job coaches are similar to mentors, but are paid for their services, and are readily available for hire. The field is quickly becoming more and more popular as a valuable tool in the job search. According to MONEY magazine, “A coach may be the guardian angel you need to rev up your career.” The Wall Street Journal says, “Career Management Coaches can identify missing skills or style difficulties and offer pragmatic tips.” And according to Newsweek “They’re part therapist, part consultant, and they sure know how to succeed in business.”

Coach Training Alliance is a website which boasts a wealth of information on the subject of job and personal coaching. They define coaching as “a professional service providing clients with feedback, insights, and guidance from an outside vantage point.” They view coaching as an on-going collaborative partnership built on taking action. With the help of a coach, clients show the following results:

  • Doing more than they would on their own
  • Taking themselves more seriously
  • Creating momentum and consistency
  • Taking more effective and focused actions
  • Becoming more balanced and fulfilled

What do I need a coach for?

There are many reasons to hire a job coach. Perhaps you want to make a major life change, but the process overwhelms you. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do in life, but instead followed the practical path? Maybe you are feeling burnt out in your present line of work and need an outsider to provide some guidance, to remind you why you do what you do. Or maybe you’re like me and know what you’re good at, know what you want to do, but don’t know how to get paid for it.

A job coach can be just what you need to get from A to B.

Becoming a Job Coach

Coach Training Alliance also provides information on becoming a job coach. Take their free quiz to find out if you have what it takes to start a coaching or mentoring career. Maybe you’re one of those people who find it easier to give advice than to take it. Maybe you have the fresh insight and enthusiasm a discouraged individual needs. Are you the person people go to in times of trouble? Then chances are you have what it takes to be a highly effective coach.

"According to The Bureau of Labor statistics, 7 out of 10 Americans don’t like their jobs."

Certification is not required for the field; however, information on obtaining certification is also provided on their site. Perhaps helping people follow their passions will become a passion for you.

Dream Job Coaching

According to The Bureau of Labor statistics, 7 out of 10 Americans don’t like their jobs. That number in itself shows the undeniable need for such a field. Joel Garfinkle, successful coach, speaker and author states on his website,, “You spend a third of your life at work. You deserve to feel fulfilled by it.” As a career coach, he specializes in career transitions. The founder of Dream Job Coaching, his holistic coaching style has helped many individuals transform not only their careers, but also their lives. Mr. Garfinkle’s works are read in more than 25 countries, and he has been on ABC News, featured in the San Francisco and East Bay Business Times, and He has worked as a consultant for two of the top consulting firms in the world – Ernst & Young in Hong Kong and Accenture in San Francisco.

Mr. Garfinkle conducts personal one on one job coaching via email and telephone. His Dream Job Process focuses on:

  • Fulfillment, first and foremost
  • Using your gifts and talents rather than skills
  • Discovering your unique purpose in life and finding the job that aligns with your passions and values

He believes that a dream job is something you must truly enjoy it and it must utilize your gifts. Rather than focusing on what you are capable of, he suggests unleashing your innate gifts into meaningful work. Just because you are good at something does not necessarily mean you should pursue it as a career, for that is often the reason so many people find themselves unfulfilled in the workplace. They let their skills lead the way rather than their interests.

Mr. Garfinkle’s website offers free assessments and a free email newsletter, in addition to his nationally published articles which will help you “Love Your Current Job” or “Find Your Dream Job.” You can also contact him directly to hire his services.

So if you’re feeling unfulfilled or burnt out, maybe it’s time to start listening to that voice in your head telling you it’s time to make a change. But do it before it’s too late. There’s nothing worse than chiding yourself over missed opportunities.

- Sarah E. Murphy