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  • Jungian Psychotherapy on Job Search and Self Search

    Does Jungian case studies with its emphasis on the Self have anything to do with job search?  I emphatically believe that it does.  I recently came upon the following remark online.  It seems to me that it is pretty representative of a whole approach to searching for work within our society at the present time:

    “A job search is a sales & marketing exercise with you as the product.

    Are you wrapped to seduce a decision maker?”

    Frankly, I find this kind of remark offensive.  Now, clearly, there’s a huge self-marketing component to finding a job.  But is that all that a job search is, a “Sales and marketing exercise”?  And is that all that we can hope for, to be “wrapped to seduce a decision maker”?  Certainly, I think if I were a woman, I would find such a suggestion to be blatently demeaning and repulsive.  (Actually, I do anyway.)

    Does Job Search Mean Being a Chameleon?

    If all that we can expect for and hope for from a job search is to fit ourselves, chameleon-like, to the expectations of some decision-maker who has all the power and choice, when we have none — then God help us.  This seems to me like nothing so much as a working life that is trapped within the expectations of the false self.  A life that doesn’t allow for what a Jungian case studies would call individuation.   Surely there must be a possible way to pursue a job search that has more connection with soul!

    Job Search and Depth in the Self

    The issue of job search actually takes us right inside some deep inner questions, if we let it.  If we are open, it will lead us to ask questions like: “What is it that I really, most deeply, want to do?”; “What is most meaningful to me?”; and, “What is my vocation?”.  To even begin to answer those questions, a person must start to get to know themselves.  In other words, a job search is not just a job search.  Every time we encounter job search, if we’re to find something that’s going to work for us, it must necessarily turn into Self search.  To find what we need to know about ourselves, to encounter those dimensions of the Self that we need to take into account in a job search, it may well be that the journey leads us into case studies, if we are truly to come to individual, rather than canned, answers.  This is especially true at mid-life or later.

    Is the Issue of Career or Vocation Prominent in Your Life at this Time?  Or, Can You Recall a Time When it Was?

    Sooner or later the question “What should I be doing with my life?” comes to occupy a prominent place in our lives.  Perhaps it will do so numerous times over the course of a lifetime — this is not uncommon.  Have you ever had an experience where job search turned into self or soul search?  Have you ever been transformed by the experience of looking for a job, or just faced with very deep questions as a result?  If you’ve had this kind of experience, and you were willing to comment below or send me a confidential email, I’d be thrilled to read it.

    Wishing you a sense of meaning and vocation on your personal journey to wholeness,

    Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst



    PHOTO CREDIT:      Some rights reserved by lumaxart under a Creative Commons license

    © 2010 Brian Collinson

    Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Oakville / Mississauga border)
    1. isabella mori (@moritherapy)
      December 18, 2010 at 6:16 pm -

      … and that’s why a lot of career programs/counsellors use the meyer briggs personlity indicator, which is based on jung’s theories.

      1. Brian C
        December 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm -

        Thanks very much for your comment, Isabella. I agree that the Meyers-Briggs can be a useful tool, but it’s also important to keep in mind that it has distinct limitations. Also, these limitations can be made even greater if someone is using the Meyers Briggs who is not thoroughly grounded in Jung’s theory of personality type. I have often seen the Meyers Briggs used in such a way that it leads to huge over-simplifications about a person’s temperament and make up. For example, take one of the fundamental dimensions of personality: Introversion vs. Extroversion. If the Meyers Briggs tool is applied simplistically, it can result in an individual being labelled “an introvert” or “an extrovert”. However, the reality of someone’s personality is rarely, if ever, that simple and cut- and dried. Only someone who is thoroughly knowledgeable about Jungian personality type is going to be able to use the Meyers Briggs in a way that is more discerning, and that provides something that will be of real use to the individual in any lasting way.

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