Jodi Lastman. Career Counsellor. Helping Others Find Their Meaningful Job.

Jodi is the breath of fresh air that career counseling has been looking for. A self-proclaimed “Purple Sheep”, Jodi has separated from the herd to help others find their own path to meaningful work. Not satisfied with a career that didn’t speak to her values, she went back to school to study Career Counseling. Taking a non-traditional approach to helping others find their own meaningful job, Jodi is injecting much needed self-reflection in the all too important ‘job hunt’. Jodi’s own career path and her work in career counseling show it’s not about fitting in, but going after our passions with everything we’ve got.

Can you describe your job in a nutshell?
I use a storytelling method to help guide people to careers that will make them happy.

How did you get your current job?
I’m currently finishing my practicum placement in Career Counseling. When I started this process I was disheartened to discover that most of what people call ‘Career Counselling’ consists of giving people a battery of tests and some help with their resume. I found someone who was using a narrative method and basically used every connection I had to get a meeting with him. Once I got the meeting my passion for his work got me the job.

How did your past life and work experiences help get to where you are today? In my late 20’s I had a very challenging period where I tried a number of careers and found it a struggle to find meaningful work. For me, meaningful work meant not selling products that I didn’t believe in or doing work that didn’t make my heart beat faster.

I went back to school for career counseling because I never forgot how hard it was to navigate through a work world that I felt didn’t fit with my values. It’s the classic “Purple Sheep” as you guys describe it. When you want to connect with your values it’s hard to fit in. What I’ve realized is that it’s not about fitting in. It’s about taking the time to clearly figure out what you want and going after it with everything you’ve got.

What’s the most fulfilling part of your work?
I love listening to clients as clues emerge during our conversations. They’ll tell me about a job they had when they were right out of school and their eyes light up. They may have gone onto great success in the corporate world since that time, but there were elements of that first job that they’ve lost along the way. The trick is to help them understand those elements and guide them to a career where they can connect to what they love most and what makes them happy while still meeting all of their other basic needs.

What advice would you give someone looking to get a meaningful job?
My favorite line lately is from Charlotte’s Web (I’m currently reading it to my six year old daughter). Charlotte the spider tells Wilbur the pig “Never hurry and never worry.” Hurrying and worrying often go together. It’s the worrisome belief that “It’ll never happen for me” that makes us hurry to the next job without taking the time to sort out what we should do next to be happy. Of course there are realities that require us to find work quickly, but wherever possible, taking the time to sort out what you’ve learned about yourself through previous experiences is invaluable. You spend 8 hours a day doing whatever job you find. Spending 8 hours thinking about why it is you’re doing that job isn’t such a tall order. And worry, well that’s just never helpful. In fact worry can be the most destructive emotion out there. Instead, it’s about having an unwavering belief that you can have what you want once you can declare what that is.

What’s one trend you are seeing that will impact your sector in the next 5 years?
I think people are realizing that this business about sending your resume out into cyberspace and hoping for a response is just deadly. It’s not the way to get a job, and its crushing to one’s self confidence. I also think people are starting to believe that they can create jobs for themselves that fit their own needs rather than needing to fit into someone else’s limiting idea of what they can do. Whether it’s within an organization or through self-employment, I think the start-up vibe has given people the courage to make things happen without waiting for permission.

If you could have one super hero power that would help you do your job better what would it be-and why?
I would have X-Ray vision so I could look into people’s hearts and see what they’re really passionate about without all the baggage that clutter’s up people’s intuition. Listen, we’re all influenced by other people and what we think we should do with our lives. It makes it difficult and confusing to sort out what’s underneath all of that. A little X-Ray power would go a long way.

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