6 Tried-and-True Ways to Boost Job Satisfaction and Get Excited About High School Counseling Again

One thing I love about Counselor Clique is that we truly are a community. Whether it’s hot topics, biggest wins, or job stresses keeping you up at night, I love hearing what’s going on in your own personal wild worlds of high school counseling. Because yes… this world is quite wild. And if we’re not careful, we can get swept up in a way that hinders job satisfaction. Recently, I asked our community “what are your most helpful methods, strategies, and hacks for preventing burnout?” In this post, I divulge the answers. Read on to learn how your fellow counselor friends are staying engaged and excited about their jobs.

job satisfaction

1- Boost job satisfaction by managing to-do list expectations

Managing our own expectations as high school counselors is critical to our overall job satisfaction. Many of you mentioned that “never-ending to-do list.” I hate to break it to you, but as your number one high school counseling hype girl, I have to shoot it to you straight: you can’t do it all. Remind yourself daily that you cannot accomplish everything you need to do in a day. This is okay and normal. We wear many hats as counselors, and we have to be adaptable and flexible on a daily basis.

So, let’s shift our mindset from it must get all done to it’s not going to get all done, and that is okay. Once you start checking off tasks on your list, more are being added. Your to-do list is like a faithful friend… it’s always there for you. So let’s set our expectations and celebrate checked items but not let the unchecked items rule us.

Pro tip: Be sure to check out my TpT store for resources that are already created for you to help you shorten that never-ending to-do list. Let’s not reinvent the wheel if we don’t have to, right?

2- Boost job satisfaction by taking email off your phone

Overwhelmingly, and rightfully so, many of you mentioned boundaries about your email. I did a happy dance reading all the responses about taking email off of your phone. If this seems scary to you, let me encourage you by saying “everyone’s doing it!” A little peer pressure over the right thing doesn’t make it wrong, does it?

Setting a boundary to not be available 24/7 by email is hard for us counselors because it can feel like people need us all the time. The emotional burden that comes with counseling makes this lie easy to believe. I use the word “lie” because there are some myths we tend to believe on a regular basis about the necessity of being available over email (more about those myths and how they interfere with self-care here). Let me encourage you to set a boundary to not check work email outside of work hours. The results are truly freeing and will actually help you be a better counselor by focusing your energy more intentionally within working hours.

3- Boost job satisfaction by closing your door

Yes, you read that right. Another counselor hack from our community is to close your door in order to create space for much-needed breaks. While we want to be inviting and available to students, staff members, and coworkers, we have to also set boundaries and protect our space, too. Our jobs are highly relational, and sometimes, we all just “need a minute.” Or thirty. It’s okay to close your door every once in a while to signal to others that you have some solo work to get done, this is my time, and I don’t want to be bothered. (Unfortunately, paperwork IS a part of our job, and we’re allowed to set aside time to get it done!)

4- Boost job satisfaction by not giving out your personal cell phone number to students

I felt so proud of our community when I read how you are setting boundaries with students so you can actually serve them better. Setting boundaries is a life skill that we can all grow in, so it’s not fair to expect our students to understand the importance of boundaries. If we are giving our cell phone numbers out to students, we are inviting some major challenges to our own personal work-life balance and therefore, overall job satisfaction. I thought this hack was a great one presented by many of our readers and podcast listeners.

5- Boost job satisfaction by building an encouraging community of high school counselors

We all need each other and when we realize we are not alone and have others to lean on for help and encouragement, job satisfaction will increase. Many of you have joined the Clique Collaborative, my high school counselor membership that gives you exclusive access to resources and an awesome community of counselors. It is so helpful to bounce ideas off each other and problem-solve together on the hottest counselor topics. You can also interact on my social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

6- Boost job satisfaction by not going to work

This one made me laugh at first… but when I read on, I loved the reminder from a fellow counselor. Use your personal days and time off. They are there for you to get a break! Sometimes we can get into a cycle of guilt thinking that if we take time off we are not being the best counselor we can be. Let me encourage you by saying: your students will be better when you are rested, refreshed, and clearheaded. Use your personal days for self-care! More self-care tips for the exhausted counselor here.

Thanks to all who shared their tips and tricks for boosting job satisfaction and setting boundaries! It’s so encouraging to hear how setting boundaries is helping you be a better counselor.

Looking for more ways to connect with your greater high school counseling community? Join us inside the Clique Collaborative, a membership for high school counselors just like you!

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