Lesson 2: On Client-Centerdness

How are you working?

 We began Lesson 1 with the question “Why are you working?” but this second lesson turns to our own career services practice and how we are helping our clients find their best lives through their career.

 I am going to ask you to watch a video titled What really matters at the end of life where BJ Miller, a palliative care doctor who has certainly embraced positive VUCA (Velocity, unorthodoxy, creativity, and awesomeness) in his career life.

View his 19:07 minute video here.


If you are like me, this video deeply impacted you. I want to use BJ’s call to redesign his profession to make the same call to us as professional career service providers – to relieve as much career suffering as we can instead of “adding to the pile.”

  Take out your journal and write for 15 minutes, exploring the questions, “What aspects of career work is necessary suffering and what can I effect?”, “What can I reframe in my practice to alleviate suffering?”, and “If career services were designed for employers, how can it be redesigned to be more for workers?” Write in your journal for 15 minutes.

My thesis in this lesson is that career services might be redesigned for the clients more so than it was initially designed. If you might agree with my thesis from Lesson 1, that work must take a backseat to life in our work with clients, then now is our chance to begin to consider what this redesign for life might look like in our own practices.

To begin, I want to share research on the longest study on happiness in history. Please forgive me for offering another TED Talk video but it is simply the best source I can find on sharing this research from its 4th Director.View the 12:46 video below:


Relationships are certainly one scientifically supported aspect of living well. The second scientifically supported aspect of living well that I point to in this course is experiences. More so, how we create meaning in life through storytelling about our experiences. Please read this article on his research.   

Deep meaningful relationships AND deep meaningful experiences are the two primary components of our lives. Storytelling is how we make meaning of each of these components. Stories are NOT a retelling of past events, they are a statement about our current needs (relationship and experience needs).

A redesign of career services practice (or a reframe of our own individual practices) then would put these two basic human needs for a good life at the forefront:

Relationships and Experiences

Hopefully, we can begin to think about redesigning or reframing our career services practice from the user experience.  Let’s dig a little deeper at this process as you view the dialogue video for this lesson lasting 14 minutes.


In this Lesson 2 we learned about redesigning our career practice to operate from a more client-centered framework. In Class 3 we will tie this directly into practice, making our work higher touch than high tech.


Now that you have finished with Lesson 2, answer questions 6-10 on your worksheet. Once finished with that,  mark this section complete and you can go to Lesson 3!