Posted by: jeandurand | January 30, 2010

Career Guidance – Do it now

I have seen it all too often.  Scholars, university students, youth and even middle aged citizens taking the wrong turn in the rocky road of career planning and implementation.  When it comes to career change it is never too late.

However, I am a great believer in getting it right the first time.  Changing university courses whilst you have almost completed the first course or changing a career in your fourties is difficult, costly and frustrating.

Therefore it is of critical importance to get the help of a career counsellor or psychologist from an early age.  It is key critical that the individual’s abilities, interests and personality matches a relevant career path.

I had a young client that came to see me in his 30’s desperately unhappy with his job in the planning and logistics department of a large corporation. When I analyzed his psychometric test results it came as no surprise to me.  He was an introvert, had strong verbal skills but almost no interest in figures or numbers.  His job was mainly concerned with figures, whilst he had a strong verbal ability, strong creative abilities and an avid interest in languages.  The client also preferred a more flexible life style than working in a structured environment like he currently is.

I had no doubt in my mind that this young man would make a great copywriter and is currently following a course in copy writing.  This would give him flexibility, open up his creative side and give him the opportunity to express himself verbally.  Now our young friend has spent 12 years doing something he does not enjoy and also does not perform to his optimal potential in the workplace.

Therefore my advice is that professional career guidance is done as early as Grade 9 with subject choices.  Changing university courses can be an expensive exercise. Therefore get it right the first time and ensure your teenager’s interests, ability and personality matches a relevant career path.

If you are more mature in years, the good news is it is not too late.  Whatever your age, do not procrastinate time is one of our most valuable resources.  The time to do it is now.

Jean du Rand is an Industrial Psychologist specialising in psychometric testing, career counselling, organisational interventions and labour relations.  His company also specializes in medico-legal report for the Road Accident Fund.  Jean du Rand is featured on Bay FM between 11:00 and 12:00 every last Monday of the month and is also a part-time HR lecturer at Varsity College.

See and send your career or workplace queries to


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