A guest post by Craig Chalquist, Ph.D.
If you haven’t figured out what kind of career you want, consider the possibility that it hasn’t been invented yet.
Events in our highly interconnected world change so rapidly now that what were formerly considered safe, stable careers can vanish overnight or be exported to other lands. I have a friend who decided a while back to give up on career pursuit worries and just drive a taxi. Surely that would be a safe bet? Everyone needs to get around. That, of course, was before Uber and Lyft.
Like the chemist who discovered the benzene ring by dreaming about it, we enjoy an advantage of foresight by tending the life of the unconscious, where—as CG Jung pointed out—the seeds of the future grow in the fertile dark. What will surface as new trends, new industries, and new forces set loose in collective life germinate first in the depths of consciousness.
That is why programs at Pacifica offer an array of skills for use in many occupations, some of which do not yet exist.
As global warming accelerates, who will be the next experts in ecoresilient community-building? Who will provide climate counseling?
Where are the coaches and counselors who can help with the stress of being tracked or attacked online? Where are the hostage negotiators for when vicious malware programs take over our computers?
What about the mediators who can put young and old back together so future generations will not lose touch with their roots?
What about ceremonial workers for national or even global disasters? Today we face forms of trauma never before witnessed. Some of it lands right in the body without our being aware of it until symptoms arise. What sorts of counselors do we need for that?
Who will intelligently promote the arts and humanities when government funding for them disappears?
As human and ecological systems show increasing turbulence, where are the generalists and intuitives to show us how to work with them? Experts who won’t destabilize living systems further by mistakenly applying oversimplified cause-effect logic to them?
Who is training leaders in the mature understanding of long-term consequences?
There are more career possibilities opening up than people to fill them. Depth psychology offers the possibility of sensing them from within and getting into alignment with them. Active imagination, work with dreams and synchronicities, exploration of the body-psyche, integration of thought and feeling, the practical and the inspirational: these and other depth tools give us glimpses into the pathways opening ahead of us.
Here are a few examples of innovative career moves made by Pacifica graduates:
- Creation of a non-profit to teach urban adolescent males to develop a sense of purpose and community (PhD, Mythological Studies).
- Writing and publishing on addiction, with an appearance on Larry King Now (PhD, Depth Psychology).
- Filmmaker living in New Zealand and working on films like The Hobbit (PhD, Depth Psychology).
- Award-winning Hollywood script writing trainer (PhD, Mythological Studies)
- Founder of a cloud-based practice management system for behavioral health and wellness professionals (MA, Counseling Psychology).
- President of customer-centered marketing company that welcomes participation and feedback (MA, Engaged Humanities).
- Consultant on “developing businesses with soul” (PhD, Clinical Psychology).
- New York Times writer and creator of the Traditional Cultures Project’s multimedia presence (MA, Counseling Psychology).
- Founder of a journal dedicated to “applied mythology, legend, and folktale” (PhD, Depth Psychology).
- Journalist and documentarian on women in prison (PhD, Mythological Studies).
- Founder of an “educational program promoting social emotional learning, peace building, and joy through creative expression” (PhD, Depth Psychology).
Sometimes it’s not a matter of inventing a new kind of work, but of rejuvenating what you now do, which is what our doctoral-level Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices emphasis intends for current coaches, counselors, and psychotherapists. Or perhaps you’d like to add on to what you do, which in my case included using my Pacifica education to help found Immanence: The Journal of Applied Mythology, Legend, and Folktale.
In your search for a meaningful career, then, make room for the possibility that your career is also searching for you, the person who can bring it into being.
Craig is Associate Provost at Pacifica Graduate Institute. He earned his Ph.D. in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute and also holds a Master Gardener certificate and another in permaculture design. He is the author of Terrapsychology: Reengaging the Soul of Place (Spring Journal Books, 2007) and co-editor with Linda Buzzell, MFT, of Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind (Sierra Club Books, 2009). Craig was core faculty in East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and former core faculty at John F. Kennedy University, where he served as acting department chair (Consciousness & Transformative Studies), designing and launching the world’s first ecotherapy certificate. He also is founder of Immanence Myth Journal http://www.immanencejournal.com