Amy met Ofer at a professional conference, a conference at which she was contemplating professionally slowing down and taking on less. Their conversation, and subsequent professional relationship, changed all that.
His research strongly validated her life-long career coaching philosophy. He shone a spotlight on her work, motivated her to continue learning and growing and recognized all that she’d contributed to the career coaching profession. In addition, working with Ofer emboldened Amy to be more vocal about the problems in her profession and encouraged her to articulate her vision of the role of career professionals.
Amy learned in her conversation with Ofer that his research focused on the world of the job seeker, a world in which problematic systems and practices determined outcomes far more than the actions of the individual. He shared his recently published book, asking Amy for her input, and subsequently invited her to join a group he was forming. Ofer sought to educate career counselors about the structural inadequacies of the current job search process and inspire them to advocate for much needed change.
Amy was positioned as a thought leader and role model whose coaching helped job seekers have a clearer, more balanced and positive perspective on the job search. In her work with clients, Amy helped them to consider what their heart was telling them about their work and exploring how underlying assumptions could be creating obstacles that could be overcome.
A second male ally, David, also played an important role in Amy’s career growth and satisfaction. Similarly, she met David, a college professor, at a conference where they discussed their respective professional work. David studied the psychology of working and explored how work provides people with far more than a paycheck: respect, affiliation, purpose and more.
David regularly asked Amy to speak to his students and invited her to teach a class at the university. She described his offer as ‘such a high.’ They co-presented at conferences and he regularly talked about her work as a career counselor, holding her up as a model to emulate – validating the profound role of work in people’s lives and the enormous vulnerability they experienced being out of work.
These two men, colleagues and male allies, valued the thought leadership Amy brought to her field and helped refuel her excitement in changing people’s lives. This passion had become dulled by the system in which job searchers must engage, one that greatly challenges their sense of having agency in what has become a flawed and ineffective process.