I was stuck. That’s the best way to describe it. My chosen industry (newspapers) was slowly dying and very few companies anywhere were hiring.I had stayed in my comfortable job for far too long. I was no longer passionate about what I was doing, and it showed. The quality of my work was adequate, but I was by no means a star. Had I been more inspired, I might have been able to do the work that would allow me to write my own ticket. But I wasn’t doing that. My work no longer felt like a calling. It was just a job.My job paid well, gave me good benefits and rarely required more than 40 hours a week. I realize, now, I was a little too comfortable. With no promotions or other job opportunities on the horizon, I had no incentive to work harder. I could continue showing up, collecting paychecks and feeling slightly unfulfilled indefinitely.

Still, there was something nagging me to get out. About once a year these feelings would overwhelm me and I’d launch a job search. Then summer would come, I’d lose my motivation after one too many rejection letters or I’d simply decide I was happy enough where I was.

After several unsuccessful rounds of this, I called Lisa. She came highly recommended from a colleague who had managed to execute her own escape from the newspaper industry. On a whim, my wife and I both signed up. To read the rest scroll to the end.

Being cynical newspaper people, we were both a little skeptical about the whole career coaching concept. We were not the type of people who frequented the self help section of bookstores, and the idea seemed a little bit too “Oprah-esque. But we told ourselves we’d buy into the program, wholeheartedly. After all, my current strategy was obviously not working.

While my wife had almost instant success with Lisa, it took me a little longer. I spent a lot of time asking myself what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life. After all, I hadn’t thought about those kinds of big issues since college, a decade earlier.

This was the first area where Lisa really helped me. I had taken “What Color Is Your Parachute”-type tests before and always felt frustrated by the results. I’d be left with a list of potential jobs, but I had no idea whether they were really right for me. Lisa helped me draft a description of my ideal job. It’s amazing how closely my new job resembles that description.

By encouraging me to do informational interviews, Lisa helped me build the web of contacts that would eventually lead me to my new career.

She gave me the confidence to approach anyone. Instead of blindly sending in cover letters and resumes, I was targeting the jobs and employers I wanted. For the first time I really understood the meaning of the word “networking.” People wanted to help me find a job, and the more people I added to my network, the greater my chances of finding something.

Lisa was invaluable in helping me keep up the momentum. In the past, I had always run out of steam, but with her there pushing me forward there was no giving up. And I was able to use her as a sounding board.

At one point, I found a job that was almost right for me. Left to my own devices, I might have been more confused about the opportunity, but with Lisa there, I knew instantly that it was not the perfect match.

When I finally did find the job that was right for me, Lisa shared in my celebration, and with good reason. In the three months we spent together, she became nearly as invested in the job search as me.

And that skepticism I had in the beginning? That didn’t last. I’ve become a convert to the idea of career counseling, and I don’t think I’ll ever undertake another job search without Lisa by my side.