Career Counselling FAQs - Gary & Pearl International Career Counseling FAQs - Gary & Pearl International

These are queries clients have raised:

  • Job Burnout
  • Free Psychometrics
  • Career Counselling / Exploration
  • Voice Coaching
  • Executive Coaching
  • Job Search / Resume writing
  • Pre Careers
Q-1: What is burnout?

A: It is fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress.

There are similarities between burnout and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Research from a 2014 study suggests at least three different subtypes of burnout.

    Each type relates to different coping strategies being used to balance stress:
  • Overload - you work towards success till exhaustion.
    You cope by emotional venting or complaining.
  • Boredom - you lack personal development.
    You cope by avoiding or distancing yourself from work.
  • Worn-out - you want to achieve a goal but lack sufficient motivation.
    You cope by giving up in the face of stress.
  • A person may sometimes live with burnout for six months to two years before deciding to do something different about it.

    When you have burnout, your equilibrium is affected negatively and it becomes a constant and tiring challenge to just feel stable.

Q-2: Is burnout the same as a career crisis? Who is at risk?

A: Burnout can be from a variety of sources. A person's career is one of those sources. A career crisis can happen at different periods in a person's life.
We have mapped out 3 crisis periods that an individual undergoes, while in the workforce.

  • The 1st is a quarter (career) life crisis; around age of 23 to 26 and, 28 to 32 yrs.
  • The 2nd is a mid (career) life crisis; around age of 38 to 42 yrs.
  • The 3rd is a second part mid (career) life crisis; around age of 50 yrs.

  • There are also a variety of external factors (late marriage, parenthood, illness, death of a sibling etc.) that can speed up or delay the onset of a crisis point so age ranges are estimates only.

    The feeling you get and the behavior you exhibit is that of burnout, i.e. you reach a high point of frustration with the work you do and consequently you begin to distance yourself from the work.

    You want to try something new but then struggle to remember what interests you. Then you resort to a variety of coping strategies including soul searching or bouncing ideas off friends and family, but get little relief.

Q-3: I'm getting very frustrated and I feel angry all the time.
I feel I need a career switch. Who can I see? How can they help?

A: Frustration is common when your expectations aren't met. However, if anger sets in, you behave differently and you and others start to notice it.

Behavioural changes are your mind's attempt to show you that you have not managed your stress and your system is headed for a crash. Burnout or a health breakdown is an example of a crash.

Change can bring about relief provided you steer yourself along the lines of your likes and not your dislikes.

You can see a career counsellor. They help you regain the balance of work and life so that you manage better.

They can also help to redirect you to other health professionals if your condition is beyond the scope of their program.

Q-4: What makes your career counselling service different?

A: We talk to you one-on-one, for a start and visually mind map your thoughts. We ask what you do and more importantly to you, why you do it.

Then we take a systems approach to help you understand the 3 systems you are naturally a part of - family, friends, work - and how each has an effect on you.

This is quite unlike other career counselling services that rely heavily on psychometrics costing hundreds of dollars and have a short session after to explain the results, which most people can read for themselves.

While psychometrics can provide some insight - and we do use them - they are not designed to ask the question of why you want to do things. Only the interview process yields much richer detail with wider complexity.

Q-5: What are Psychometrics? Do they help and do you offer them?

A: Psychometrics are psychological measures of attitudes which are expressed as traits or collections of traits known as types.

These include DISC, Jung/ MBTI, Team Roles test, Personality test, Strong Interest Inventory/ Career test etc.

Tests are designed for specific purposes and work best when the person taking them is calm.

A common misunderstanding is that these tests predict success.
They don't. They only measure attitudes or preferences.

With career counselling, tests are sometimes problematic as they give confusing results for people suffering burnout or who are angry or are in high emotional states.

To appreciate why you can get a confusing result, imagine the following scene: You've studied for an exam and just outside the exam hall, you get into a fight with a friend and then you go off and write the exam. How do you think you'll do? Will you be able to concentrate fully or are you likely to be affected in some way that can't accurately be predicted?

Yes, we offer psychometrics and choose ones that match a person's language ability and learning style.

Most tests are offered free of charge to individuals.

With career counselling, we only introduce these tests when it is appropriate for the person.

Q-6: What is a career counsellor, career coach or life coach?

A: Career counsellors are professionals who are part counsellor and part information provider. They facilitate a process where the individual's awareness is raised as they listen to themselves. The career counsellor analyses thinking patterns and matches the client with resources that are accessible and relevant. 

  • We offer this service at an affordable fixed session rate.
  • A: Career coaches, sometimes referred to as executive coaches, are professionals that help a person excel in their chosen career. Typically, they administer psychometric tests and conduct an interview to gauge the strengths of the individual in different areas. After which, there is goal setting and the career coach helps the individual reach their set goal.
  • We offer this service at an affordable fixed session rate.
  • We also partner with an IO psychology organization that offers this service using a both an in-person and also on a webinar platform at fixed program rate.
  • A: A life coach is sometimes described as an individual who looks at different facets of a person's life and then attempts to remake the person.
  • We do not offer this service - We believe that an individual, once empowered, makes decisions that are best suited for themselves.
Q-7: Why do people get into a crisis situation? Is it very common?

A: It has to do with goal setting and the idea of when those goals should be achieved. It is also dependent on the development stage a person is in as well as societal norms.

For example, the quarter (career) life crisis is a new phenomenon. It has been documented to afflict people from newly industrialised countries, including those in SE Asia.

It is a recent phenomenon and most employees will suffer through it largely in silence, for complex reasons. It happens because these societies expect people to move and develop faster than their parents typically have developed.

People in the quarter (career) life, at the executive level, get stressed out by perceived societal expectations. They are expected to enter junior management roughly by 30 yrs of age but some find themselves not fully equipped to meet the challenge. Others that do not make this expected transition to management then get sidelined.

For some people, the push that caused them to choose their current career may have come externally. So, by the time they reach 30 yrs of age, they run out of energy and reach this same crisis point.

The causes and the symptoms of the mid (career) life crisis are different but the burnout feeling is similar.

Q-8: Can I avoid getting into a career crisis?

A: It's possible but it's less likely as goal setting is a necessary facet in any career.

Many people will however try multiple distraction methods in an attempt to alieviate the build up of stress, before they reach a burnout point.

Q-9: Do you have a typical client?

A: Not exactly.
We designed career counselling to cater to people with burnout as psychometrics don't help when you're angry.

Most of our clients to date, have been working executives, experiencing the early to late stages of burnout and consequently are sufficiently motivated to seek out help.
We see three distinct distributions.

- Mid (career) life point or the mode of the Singapore workforce
(age of 39 to 40-years).
- The quarter (career) life point
(age of 29 to 33-years),
- The quarter (career) life point sooner
(age of 23 to 26-years).

Since mid 2013, we encountered a spike in people experiencing a quarter (career) life crisis sooner , so we adapted our program to cater to them as well.

Employment studies conducted in the US from 2012 suggest that the younger age band of people represent a rapidly increasing group who will soon dominate the workforce there. A feature of this group seems to be that they are better motivated to seek out help sooner than any other group.

In Singapore, our demographics are different as compared to the US however, the effects of globalization may see an increase in people of this younger age band, seeking out and getting help faster.

Apart form Singaporeans, we see people of other nationalities as a career crisis is a facet of career stage development.

Q-10: Can you accommodate me and what are the sessions like?

A: Yes, we try to fit your schedule.

Sessions are by appointment only.
  • Tuesday through Friday: from 10am to 10pm
    - latest session starts at 8pm
  • Saturdays: from 10am to 4pm
  • Exploration Phase: Sessions of 2 to 3-hours, pre-session work is assigned,
  • Analysis & Goal Setting Phase: Sessions of up to 3-hours, 1 to 2 sessions.
  • Coaching Phase: Sessions of up to 2-hours
  • Ideally, we suggest scheduling a session right after having a good night's rest to maximize idea generation.

    Q-11: Is career counselling confidential?

    A: Yes.
    All discussions stay between the career counsellors and the client.

    Expressed ideas or session notes are written on whiteboard sheets that are taken down after each session. Clients are free to voice record the session, if they wish.

    The exploratory and analysis & goal setting phases may be conducted in an office, a closed off commercial space or a home office. Sessions will be held with a trained observer who is present or remotely monitoring the session. Our observers are bound by the same confidentiality agreement that the career counsellor has with the client.

    In the coaching phase, a meeting will be held in an informal setting, sometimes over a cup of coffee or a meal to discuss the individual's progress.

    Q-12: Couldn't I just ask friends or my family for career advice?

    A: Yes, of course you can.
    We encourage you do provided you've not encountered burnout.

    If it is a matter of switching from one company to another, friends and family can be helpful in helping you to consider the pros and the cons of both companies.

    However, if you have encountered burnout, there is an additional anger dynamic that affects your decision making which they may not be trained to handle.

    Also, anyone offering advice who has a relationship with you may accidentally project their thoughts and aspirations onto you.

    If you follow their advice, you may end up with their idea of what they may do but not be what you actually want to do.
    If you disregard their advice, they may themselves get frustrated with you.

    The career counsellor presents you with a less subjective viewpoint, catered just to you.

    Q-13: Do you conduct career talks for groups?

    A: Yes.
    Many of our services are suitable for groups while some are not.

    We welcome requests to conduct Executive Career awareness and Organizational Health talks for groups.

    Our career counselling program is designed for individuals so we provide information and insight about the program.

    Q-14: Do you have a video chat service?

    A: Yes, an on-line platform can be used for:

    • Employment Consultation including Career Search services
    • Executive/ Career Coaching
    • - Sessions are conducted via Skype or FaceTime,
      - We suggest the use of a tablet, desktop or a laptop computer,
      - Each session is typically 80-minutes in duration.

      1. This service needs a stable internet connection.
      2. Both video and audio streaming are required so we shall need to test the connection before agreeing to conduct a session.
      3. Session fees are prepaid via PayPal.

    Our current processes have been tested and validated by our clients themselves, with some choosing to leave comments.

    Need Other Information?
    Do read our Career Search, Career Counselling and Testimonial pages.

    Next Step
    - To book the initial consultation, Contact Us.
    - We will then communicate via email or arrange to chat with you over the phone or via SKYPE, at a convenient time.

    This shall be to see if our programs match your needs and to answer questions you may have, that are not covered here.

    We can also design and facilitate career health talks and workshops for groups.
    Write to our corporate services at

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