Here, I want to give you a little bit of insight into my approach to career counseling. Some of this information may be more than you care to know, and, at the end of the day, you don't NEED to know it. I'll walk you through things throughout this course. However, read through this so that you can be an informed consumer of my class, and, at the end, I'll give you my "take aways."
Many of us think about career counseling as being a matter of finding a career or major that fits with your interests. Once you find this career, you will then take the steps necessary to achieve it. And THEN, once you have gotten this job, you will be happy. This is a nice thought. However, it's not really what happens for most of us. Because of this, I utilize career theories that are more appropriate for helping you make sense of careers in our current world.
The approaches I want to highlight here are Happenstance Learning Theory, Career Construction Theory, and the Psychology of Working Theory.
Happenstance Learning Theory
Happenstance Learning Theory, developed by John Krumboltz, posits that people are influenced by a whole range of things - genetics, learning experiences, environment, parents, peers, education, and (this one is important) the imperfect world. So career counseling becomes a matter of figuring out what it is you want to focus on, learning from your past experiences, and becoming open to opportunities. There's much more to it than this, but you get the idea...
For you, this means that the goal of career counseling is to help clients learn to take actions to achieve more satisfying career and personal lives – NOT TO MAKE A SINGLE CAREER DECISION.
Career Construction Theory
Career Construction Theory, developed by Mark Savickas, allows you to author your own life. You are a unique person with interests, skills, personality, and values that are specific to you. However, instead of trying to find your life work, you are going to begin constructing how to make your life work. This approach is very necessary in today's world of work, as you'll find out in later readings. This is because many of us are choosing to take control of our careers and piece together a career that works for us rather than rely on a job to give us that career and that meaning. Ultimately, this approach puts you in control of your career.
The Psychology of Working
This is one of the newest career theories and my own personal favorite. The Psychology of Working Theory, developed by Duffy, Blustein, Diemer, and Autin, takes everything we think we know about careers and flips it around. This approach says that our environment (think culture, family, whether you grew up rich or poor, where you were raised, whether you have a disability or not, etc..) and relationships play a large part in our career. Personal factors are important here, too. Instead of things like interests, though, this theory looks at characteristics such as work volition (motivation) and career adaptability.
What this means for you is that we're going to spend some time considering your culture and family and the role those things play in your career. It also means that some of the things I'm going to have you do in this class are going to build your work volition and your career adaptability to help you be successful in your career.
This approach to career can be challenging if you are wanting a firm answer for what you should do with your career. However, in the current world of work, it is more beneficial for us to take this approach to career planning. It gives you tools and information to take with you as you make your career decisions both now and in the future. I believe my approach empowers you to be the author and the creator of your career rather than depending on me or someone else to give you the answers. It's also important that you understand the role of your culture and your family in your career now and as you move forward. So while I will introduce you to some standard assessments to help guide you to a better understanding of yourself, I depend on you to tell me who you are and what all of these things mean to you. I am also going to focus the activities in this class on tasks that empower you, educate you, and give you the tools you need to succeed.
This was a ton of information, I know. In fact, I have graduate students who have a hard time understanding this stuff. However, I tell you this so that you know some things going into this class:
- You need to be an active participant in your career planning. You cannot depend on me or anyone else to tell you what to do.
- You should consider and understand that what you know about careers is often the result of the people around you. Sometimes they know what they are talking about, but sometimes they don't.
- Who you are is a major factor in your career planning. Your culture, your family, your friends are factors and that is okay.
- You are not going to be able to make a career decision now that is going to last your lifetime. Career planning is a lifelong process so what you need to take away are tools and information to help you along the way.
- Much of our career is a result of unplanned, chance events. This means you can't plan for them! Instead, you can learn to be open to new opportunities AND learn to create these new opportunities for yourself.