A decade ago, Bruce Wasserstrom was tiring of his job as an analyst for the state of Wisconsin. After a bout with cancer, he decided it was time to take stock of his life.
“Those life-threatening experiences will make you stop and think hard about your priorities,” Wasserstrom recently said on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Larry Meiller Show.” “I had a good career in state government, but the last several years I was not able to use my best skills on a regular basis and I felt a bit frustrated. My daughter was finishing high school, and I was coming up on my 50th birthday, so it was time to make a change.”
Wasserstrom sought advice from Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS), which offers free career counseling through the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Continuing Studies. The ACSSS counselors helped steer him toward a more fulfilling career in music.
One of these counselors, Sybil Pressprich, appeared with Wasserstrom on “The Larry Meiller Show” to discuss the services available at Adult Career and Special Student Services. The process usually starts with an hour-long consultation to determine a person’s goals.
“A lot of the folks we see say they want to make a change but don’t know what kind,” Pressprich told Meiller. “If you push a little harder, sometimes they’ll come up with ideas, and then we talk about how they’ll explore those ideas. Sometimes we do informal career assessments or a more standardized formal assessment. We take them where they’re at and hopefully move them along in the process.”
Explore your options
During the broadcast, Pressprich heard from several callers who are unsure about their next steps in seeking a job change. Kevin in Madison wants to find a new career after years of being self-employed, but he lacks a college degree. Mark in Stitzer wonders if returning to school will help him escape a low-paying job at McDonald’s.
Pressprich encouraged these callers to explore their options, with help from Adult Career and Special Student Services if necessary.
“When we look at the research, we find that productivity goes way up for people who are engaged in their workplace—who enjoy it, see value in it, and feel appreciated,” she said. “If you’re really unhappy it’s going to show in your performance and your willingness to take on new projects. So why not consider doing something different?”
To learn more about meeting with a career counselor or returning to college as an adult, see the Adult Career and Special Student Services website or call 608-263-6960.