Counseling in industry-appearance and reality problems and prospects

The sign above the door reads "Counseling". Inside are four pleasant offices, decor circa 1950, and they were occupied by three people; Louise J. about to retire, who joined the Rock Company in the late forties; Joanne H. who had been counseling about three years after working for twelve years in the medical department; Papa L., retired, who came to help out. They were fine strong, caring human beings, highly respected by managers and employees and obviously capable. In June 1971 I was hired to be trained to join the counseling staff. I was exceedingly happy to get the job, a career opportunity. As a freshman in college at age 33, my long-range plan was working beautifully. Now that my children were grown I was able to step into challenging useful work. I was impressed by the people i met, the company's flexibility in hiring an old lady of 46 as a management trainee, the enlightened employee relations policies, special programs, fringe benefits and salary potential. My graduate project was going to be a rap room, Tuesday at 4 p.m., where we might not only deal with personal problems but possibly make some useful recommendations to management. Who counsels the counselor? In August 1972 I resigned due to the extraordinary workload and procedures. I enjoyed my work and my co-workers, but the job was impossible. I was a part-time counselor responsible for approximately 800 people, while doing the work of two employment interviewers hiring about fifty people a month and administering the college recruitment program on the side. The workload was less onerous than the nature of some of my assignments. I could not understand the gap between the ambitious formal counseling program and the actual treatment of employees, the incongruity between stated concerns with social responsibility and the impossible work assignments.