Professional Development Comes to Your Desktop: Spend an hour with Rich Feller!

By Sue Aiken

Many years ago when I first established a career counseling private practice in the San Francisco bay area, I quickly learned that I needed peers to stimulate new ideas and techniques and to fulfill my need for affiliation. I established a group with the intention of being representative of diverse perspectives and clientele in career development. For many years in the mid-eighties and early nineties, our newly formed group met faithfully once a month for two hours over coffee. It filled my professional development needs.


Times are more complicated now and meeting for two hours over coffee is not an option. Luckily, we career counselors have a remarkable new tool not available to us earlier. The Internet has opened up new frontiers of learning, connectivity, socializing and information. It has changed the way we deliver career services and professional development. As counselors we may always prefer face to face work and learning but clearly the convenience and immediacy of technology opens up new opportunities for learning without huge investments of time and money.

Enter a new program located on the NCDA website sponsored by the Professional Development committee, headed by Ray Davis. Their first venture into online learning with a web seminar offers career counselors an hour of good humor, refreshing ideas, multiple metaphors and the wise insights of Rich Feller, Professor of Counseling and Career Development from Colorado State University. With the click of a mouse, Rich is on the counselor's desktop wearing super-sized glasses delivering one hour of professional development. According to the web promo, Dr. Feller will . . .

Counselors will be able to download Rich's PowerPoint slides for further study. A quick and easy way to have handouts without having to leave home! I invite you to set aside an hour and visit http://www.ncda.org/ and follow the link under Professional Development / Continuing Education to view: "Career Coaching Clients for Success : 10 Lifelong Career Rules" or Click here to link to this online video.

How I Found The Ten Rules Useful

As a career counselor working with adults in transition, I found several of Feller's points essential in assisting clients in "navigating their career development in turbulent whitewater", as HB Gelatt has often said.

Following Rich's prompt, I recommend counselors buy a slinky to remind clients of the need for flexibility in coping with the unexpected. The loss of a job, death of a loved one, a buyout, an organization that goes out-of-business or a sudden change in one's health. Springing back from unexpected events reminds me of so many clients and the time we spent relearning, coping, reframing, in order to move forward.

Roughly half the video is spent learning about Feller's 10 Lifelong Career Rules. They are helpful to have available as clients' stories unfold in your office. To help the frustrated office worker whose job has just been eliminated, Rule # 4: Jobs are best seen as paid internships or Rule #1: There are only two kinds of workers: owners and temps, might be useful in looking at the reality of the workplace and what changes they might want to make in how they work. The explanation of Rule #6: Role models provide images of our possible selves includes a short video based on the Holland hexagon showing the six themes vividly alive with real people in real jobs. Viewers won't easily forget their images and they may be useful to those clients still unclear about their interests and how they relate to work.

All this and so much more await you as a busy career counselor working as hard as you can in one short hour. The Professional Development committee strongly urges you to take a few minutes at the end to add your voice to the evaluation of your experience viewing the pilot video. How can desktop seminars enhance your work as a career counselor dealing with workplace issues brought to your office by your clients? Would this video be helpful in your future professional development? Your input is needed to determine if more web seminars should be offered to members in the future. Once you finish viewing the video, please complete the on line survey at:


In the meantime, enjoy the talent and knowledge of Rich Feller right in your office.


Sue Aiken, MA, has worked in the profession of career counseling in a variety of capacities over a period of 25 years. Square One Career Services in Oakland, CA, offered specialized career services for lawyers in career and life transitions for many years. In addition, Sue contracted with EAPs to provide career services to city and government employees on the west coast. For thirteen years, Sue was Chair of the Graduate Program in Career Development in the School of Management at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA. Sue now resides on the Central Coast of California providing career coaching services through the Career Development Alliance serving government employees. Sue continues to teach in the distance learning component of the Kennedy program and is a certified Distance Career Counselor. Sue was recognized by NCDA as Practitioner of the Year in 2003. She can be reached at saiken001@charter.net

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