CareerQuest logo CareerQuest Newsletter

    Photo of Don Sutaria
April 2010

My dear friends, colleagues, clients and students:

My guru of human relations, Dale Carnegie, in his book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, talks about two major decisions of your life. First: How are you going to make a living? Second: Who are you going to select to be the father or mother of your children?

I am sorry I cannot help you with your second major decision since I am not a matchmaker but a career counselor and career/life coach! I can certainly help you with your first major decision, though! It may have a profound effect on your happiness during the rest of your life.

I think you will find this month's article, How to Make High School Guidance Counseling More Effective, both thought-provoking and encouraging. However, concrete action is needed.

Career Stimulus Compassion Package Extended
In our desire to help as many people as we can, we launched a new innovative program on January 1, 2010, called Career Stimulus Compassion Package. The response has been incredible so far. So hurry! Run, don't walk! The expiration date for this offer has been extended to June 30, 2010. In essence, Career Doctor Don will offer totally free career advice if you have been unemployed for over 12 months, 50% off if you have been unemployed for 6-12 months, and 25% off if you have been looking for a job up to 6 months. Proof is required.

Book Endorsements
Our book, Career and Life Counseling From the Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!), has received many excellent reviews. Six reviews give the book a 5-star rating, and three have a 4-star rating.

Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? says:
"Don Sutaria is one of the career counselors I most admire in the U.S. He talks about things other career counselors don't, like "your soul." Now he has written a book I like a lot, with brilliant short chapters you can digest day by day. I recommend it unreservedly to everyone."
We are deeply grateful for his endorsement.

  Career and Life Counseling From the Heart book cover
This book has been nicknamed as Chicken Soup for Your Career! Take a peek inside this book at before you decide to buy it. It is also available as an e-book from iUniverse.

Until we meet again through the magic of email, keep your feedback coming.

Peace! Love! Shalom!

Don Sutaria, MS, IE (Prof.)
Founder, President & Life-Work Coach

  How to Make High School Guidance Counseling More Effective  
CareerQuest gets a significant number of clients in the 20-29 age group. The common thread which runs through all our discussions is that they chose a profession to either please their parents or to obtain lucrative employment after college graduations. No previous thought had been given to one's psychological profile, personality or aptitude, so that they can be trained in a profession in which they would be happy for at least 10-20 years!

The real effectiveness of guidance counselors in high schools in general has been troubling me for the past two decades, ever since my two sons were in our local high schools.
      A photo of a confused high school boy.
Frankly, it is not the fault of overworked and underpaid counselors. For example, a typical school with 2,500 high school students may have 5 guidance counselors. That is a ratio of 500:1. These counselors are expected to track and help all these students through 4 years in the high school. If you see the other responsibilities of these counselors besides counseling, you would be amazed at the math! It works out to 1 hour per year per student! Counselor efforts are also devoted to discipline issues, scheduling, and a myriad of other administrative responsibilities.

Even if a majority of students cooperate with the guidance counselors in their own interests, there is simply no time to administer and evaluate at least two tests like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Self Directed Search, Strong Interest Inventory, Values Scale, Kuder General Interest Survey, Kuder Occupational Interest Survey, Campbell Interest and Skills Survey, and Vocational Card Sorts.

If high school guidance counselors had the results from at least a couple of tests, the quality of guidance would increase astronomically, and much of the future grief to 20-29 year-olds can be prevented. Dear reader, based on your own experiences and those of your children, do you agree with my line of logic?

...we need to do better in order to prevent future professional carnage.

Some enlightened and highly educated parents use outside counselors or psychologists to guide their children between the ages of 16 and 18. That is very commendable!

According to a recent study by Public Agenda, a nonprofit research organization funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the findings shed light on low graduation rates at both the high school and college levels. This intense survey researched 600 students who graduated from a variety of high schools in the last 4-12 years.

The study notes that the caseloads of guidance counselors and their multiple responsibilities have increased asymptotically in the past few years. While the American School Counselor recommends a ratio of 100 students to each counselor to be the limit, surveys show that the true ratio is horrendously higher. For example, that ratio is 1,000 to 1 in California public schools, 700 to 1 in the District of Columbia, Utah, Minnesota and Arizona. The national ratio is not much better at 265:1.

Jacques Steinberg, in his recent article on the same topic we are discussing here, claims in The New York Times of March 3, 2010, that most people who graduated from high school in the last dozen years believe that their guidance counselors provided little meaningful advice about college or careers. In a twist of fate, a few people even said that the best advice on their futures came from their teachers.

In the study mentioned in this article, 67 percent of those surveyed rated their counselor as poor to fair at helping you decide what school was right for you; 54 percent said the same about their counselors for explaining and helping you with the application process, and nearly 50 percent said their counselors made them feel like "I was just another face in the crowd." I think that is a pretty sad and sorry state of affairs. Don't you think so?

Mr. James Jump, a high school college counselor, the academic dean and director of guidance at St. Christopher's, a private school in Richmond, Va., and also the president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, is deeply concerned that so much administrative and non-counseling work is typically piled on counselors that they are able to give less than optimal time for counseling, fading to a very small part of their work day. He goes on to say: "I worry that's just going to get worse, as school districts encounter the economy and don't see counselors as essential instructional personnel."

A guidance counslor with students.

In conclusion, we need to do better in order to prevent future professional carnage. What better place to start than providing high quality and intense career guidance at the high school levels. This needs to be done by increasing the number of guidance counselors in high schools, to provide a ratio of 100 students to 1 counselor, and not saddling them with administrative and other responsibilities which eat into their professional counseling time. Our failure to act collectively is not in the best interest of education and future vocational choices of our younger generation.

Don Sutaria, also known as "Career Doctor Don", is Founder and President of CareerQuest. He has been quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on radio and television and has taught at various colleges. He is the author of Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!).

Don Sutaria, M.S., I.E. (Prof.)   
Phone: (908) 686-8400     Fax: (908) 686-8400 (on request)     Cell: (908) 377-9015   
CareerQuest     2165 Morris Avenue; Suite 15     Union, NJ 07083     Satellite Office in New York, NY