Stop and Listen: Podcasts for (Un)conventional Career Exploration

Stop and Listen: Podcasts for (Un)conventional Career Exploration

December 17, 2019

It’s no secret that I love podcasts.

In fact, if you spend an afternoon with me, and I haven’t mentioned something that I learned on a podcast, then it’s safe to say you haven’t spent an afternoon with me. Podcasts have been a fundamental part of my mornings and my commute since 2013, a year after I got my first smartphone. Before I learned more about them, I thought that podcasts weren’t for me. I couldn’t see how they would fit into my life. My interests were too diverse! How would anyone know how to speak to my interests?

I should have known, however, that the medium of podcasting would come through for me. The medium of magazines certainly had. In grade 10, I had an English teacher who encouraged me to start reading magazines. I had mentioned that I was reading less because I felt as though I had no time for books. He said “Keep reading and read anything! There are thousands upon thousands of magazines out there waiting for readers, and most of them are terrible and horribly specific. I can guarantee that there’s a magazine out there for you.” He was right. There are actually four, and they are (in fact) amazing, and horribly specific. And when it comes to podcasts, there are 302 that I subscribe to that are amazing, and horribly specific. I want to share with you six of my favourite podcasts that have influenced my perspective on the field of career development.

Everything is Alive – – Hosted by Ian Chillag

Although not a Career Development Professional, I adore Ian Chillag’s premise. As an interviewer, Chillag finds not people to interview, but things. He chats with these everyday objects (voiced by comedians) about everything.  This podcast demonstrates that whether you are a person or inanimate object everything is about careers.  Chillag asks those important career questions to each of his guests such as the role they play, the meaningfulness of their “job”, the people and other things they interact with, their hopes, dreams and preferred futures. Charmingly, the podcast itself is obsessively poignant, and although there are laugh-out-loud moments, the questions Chillag and his guests ask and are asked truly speak to the deepest part of my soul. I highly recommend the episode featuring Sean, a subway seat.

Every Little Thing – – Hosted by Flora Lichtman

If you’ve ever wondered what kinds of jobs are out there for you or your clients, Flora Lichtman’s got you covered. While the podcast focuses on answering questions like “where do confiscated TSA items go?” and “Why do auctioneers talk the way they do?”, Lichtman’s show finds the answer. In each episode she interviews an expert in the topic that answers the question, and gets me thinking “Wow. What an incredibly interesting, and important job.” To get you started, I would listen to Baseball and Organ Music: How’d That Happen?. You’ll get to meet Nancy Faust, and she is a delight.

Career Buzz – Hosted by Mark Franklin

I don’t think a podcast list about career development would really be complete without Career Buzz. Mark Franklin hosts, and touches on multiple facets of the career development profession. From high level, and organizational topics; to tools and tricks you can build into your practice; and stories of transition. Mark’s narrative approach to career development has me relating on some level to every episode. My favourite is Jobs in the Great Outdoors – Tree planting, fishing camps & Zamboni driving. Is it because I want to be a Zamboni driver in my retirement? Probably.

Don’t Dis-my-Ability – – Hosted by Shawn Smith

If you’re looking for insights into reaching clients with barriers and thinking diversely about neurodiversity and employment, Shawn Smith’s Don’t Dis-my-Ability will not disappoint. I was absolutely floored by this four-part series. Although the series is short, my favourite episode has to be Smith’s interview with Dr. Stephen Shore, whose research matches best-practice to the needs of people with autism.

Hello Monday – Blog – Hosted by Jessi Hempel

One of the newer additions to the career podcast options comes from heavy-hitter LinkedIn. In this series, Jessi Hempel interviews famous people who rose above adversity and brilliant ‘nobodies’ you should know, about their career journeys. The episode titled “When to be Quick, When to be Wise” looks at how strengths change as a person ages. Backed by the work and research of Harvard University’s Arthur Brooks, this episode may help you re-think your own career moves, and support clients in transition.

Major Jobs with Teland – – Hosted by Teland

Teland is a high-schooler with a knack for interviewing. He interviews people with such diverse work lives and his goal is to learn more about the job descriptions, work tasks, and employment journeys of anyone he meets. Teland brings a unique perspective, and often brings the focus back to conversations he has with other teens his age. This would be a great podcast to share with clients if they’re interested in pursuing a specific line of work, or if they just don’t know if their chosen career is a good fit. A great place to start for you may be his interview with a rurally-based Canadian Career Coach.


Interested in listening to any of these podcasts, but aren’t sure how to start?

Check out this great article from Lifewire that helps walk you through the process. You could start a lunchtime podcast club with co-workers, assign ‘homework’ to clients looking for career direction, or perhaps start playing episodes from these podcasts in your office’s waiting room or during your commute. The possibilities are absolutely endless!

Do you listen to podcasts? Which are your favourites that support your work?