At 36 this client had been in his job for 10 years. It was an area he really never intended to stay in. He informed the counsellor that this was not a career decision – “I just fell into it” Ten years later, he was married with a family. His job was getting more and more difficult for him. Every day seemed the same. He had the impression that he went to work, came home, slept and went to work again the following day.

“Is this all there is? “he asked.

He had not informed his wife, or anyone else, that he was coming for career guidance.

“We have kids. I have obligations and bills to pay. I can’t just drift off and satisfy this whim of mine and allow my family suffer.”

This client took his role as family provider very seriously. If he changed his job in any way, he would feel guilty and think that he let his family down. The counsellor explored the possibility of the client informing his wife of this situation and telling her that he was attending career guidance.

“I just couldn’t do that. She is under enough pressure with the kids at the moment – this would be the last straw for her”.

However, through discussion, the client remembered that they had faced many difficulties as a couple. He needed to trust that he would have her support on this too. At the next session, the client explained how he had talked to his wife. She not only supported his new move, but said she had known for years that he was so unhappy in his job. She was actually delighted that he was addressing this issue at last.

He explained to her that he may do further study, that this would mean that he would be around far less to help her with the children. She replied that, even though he was around now, he was very often tired and in bad form. She would much rather see him happy, and spend less time with him, than to continue on the way they were.

This client decided to change very little in his current job so that he could continue to provide for his family financially. However, he started a night time degree course. He said for the first time in years he felt excited. He had discovered that he was good at something. He was now doing something, not because he had to, but because he chose to. Even though he knew that his new training would take two years, he was quite willing to wait – he now saw that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

His wife said that, even though she saw far less of him, that she was gradually getting back the happy man she married.