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Career Thory

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The purpose of this paper is to explain the career development process and outline an approach of how to progress through it. I will choose a specific Career Theory from the textbook that fits into my personal beliefs of human behavior and career development. I will provide the main points of this theory and use examples from my life to demonstrate how this theory will be beneficial. I will also identify any potential weaknesses or aspects that I may disagree with.

What Is a Career?

A career can be defined as the "time extended working out of a purposeful life pattern through work undertaken by the person" (Zunker, 2012). This also includes "activities and positions involved in vocations, occupations, and jobs as well as to related activities with an individual's lifetime of work" (Zunker, 2012). A career should be a job that one benefits from not only monetarily but also in some personal way. People should be careful in choosing a career because most people spend over half of their lives working. If one chooses the right career than they can lead a happier life. So many people have what can be considered job instead of a career. A job where one works only to receive money can lead one to be unhappy and cause quite a bit of stress. Overtime this can have an effect on an individual’s overall health. This is why the idea of career development can be so important.
What is Career Development? Career development can be defined as a process in which a person forms their work identity. This process can span throughout an entire lifetime. Career development is a natural process that evolves as one matures; however, with career counseling an individual can construct a more successful and content career path. Career counseling can begin as early as elementary school and last well into adulthood. Career development can be influenced by many factors. These factors include chance factors, personal characteristics, physical and/or mental abilities, and socio-economic factors. Chance factors are life events in which we can’t control or have very little control. Chance factors can influence the career one chooses and how they progress in their career. Personal Characteristics involve a person’s interests, personality type and values. All of these have a big impact on career development. It is crucial that one pays careful attention to personal characteristics when choosing a career. Counselors can assist their clients with completing a thorough self-assessment to help them learn about their personal characteristics. Physical and mental abilities have to be taken into account when choosing a career. Unfortunately some people may be limited due to their physical or mental abilities or limitations. Socio-economic factors can effect career development. Some individuals may be limited in the careers they choose because they may not be able to complete the required training or education due to their family's financial situation. If this is the case it is important for the career counselor help them explore options such as financial aid and scholarships.
What are the Career Development Theories? Career development theories tend to come from three basic perspectives: Cognitive/social learning, developmental, or trait oriented. Cognitive and social learning theories tend to stress the importance of self -knowledge as the foundation for making a career decision. Cognitive/social learning theories involve information-processing skills and reflect the importance of personal traits such as personality, interests and values. These theories also use direct research to assess how these traits correlate to guide growth and development. Other important factors important in cognitive/social learning theories include physical and/or mental abilities, and socio-economic factors. These theories introduce the idea of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the measure of the belief or nonbelief that one has about their own ability to complete tasks and reach goals. According to research high self-efficacy leads to success whereas low self-efficacy leads to failure (ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, 1997). A career counselor using these one of these theories should address faulty beliefs aggressively. Developmental career theories place a focus on one’s idea of their self-concept which involves the developmental changes that individuals go through and how they adapt to changing life roles. Clients are often involved in several life roles concurrently. The success in one life role can help facilitate success in another life role. Some clients may not be prepared to make a career decision, so the goal for career counseling is to assist each client in developing an accurate picture of one's self in multiple life roles. Trait-oriented theories generally suggest that human traits such as interests, aptitudes, and personality can be matched with certain work environments in order to evaluate potential work sites.
Choosing a Career Development Theory to use with Clients There are several different career theories that a counselor can use when working with clients. It is important to choose a theory that the counselor is comfortable with as well as one that is easy to use and meets the needs of the particular client. A few of theories discussed in the textbook were Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory, Holland’s theory of Vocational Types and Super’s Developmental Self-concept theory. Bandura’s Theory is based on the idea of self-efficacy. Super’s Developmental Self-concept theory is based on the idea of the development of self-concept in stages. These stages include: growth, exploration, established, maintenance, and decline. Holland’s theory is based on the idea of personality types.
Summary of Holland’s Theory of Vocational Types Holland’s Theory of Vocational Types gives careful consideration to behavioral style and/or personality types. Common themes of this theory are that members of each occupational group have a similar personality, one’s occupation choice is an expression of their personality, individuals in each occupational group will respond to situations in a similar manner and occupational achievement, satisfaction, and success depend on the comparison of an individual’s personality type and their work environment. According to Holland there are six personality types: Artistic, Investigative, Conventional, Enterprising, Realistic, and Social. Individuals with an artistic personality type are creative, emotional, literary, musical, and open. They may also be expressive and spontaneous. They are typically not conventional, efficient, or masculine. Individuals with artistic personality types would make good artists, musicians, interior designers, poets, or writers. People with investigative personality types are typically thoughtful, analytical, explorers, and base decisions on knowledge rather than social aspects. They are typically not adventurous, or powerful. People with an investigative personality types would make good biologists, dentists, veterinarians, or chemists. Individuals with conventional personality types prefer routines and rules. They have great self control and love to provide order or direct structure. They are typically dependable, stable, and efficient. They are not normally considered to be creative, adventurous or intellectual. People with conventional personality types would make good cashiers, bank tellers, typists, and data entry specialists. Individuals with enterprising personality types are direct, dominant, verbally skilled, and persuasive. They are also energetic, ambitious, and adventurous. They are typically not considered creative, feminine, or intellectual. People with conventional personality types would make good business executives, lawyers, politicians, or television producers. Individuals with realistic personality types like to use machines or tools, work with their hands, and are considered active and adventurous. They are typically masculine and stable. People who have a realistic personality type would make a good farmer, truck driver, construction worker, or architect. Individuals with social personality types like to educate, inform, help, and support. Relationships are very important to them. They are typically considered friendly and cooperative. They are not considered creative, ambitious, or strong. People with a social personality type would make a good nurse, counselor, teacher, or social worker. In order for someone to find their personality type they must complete a self-assessment. Holland did recognize that individuals wouldn’t just fall into one personality type. He assigned each personality type a letter which could be combined with other types to obtain a three letter code. Each letter would represent an individual’s top three personality types which then could be used to be categorized. For example, CES would mean conventional, enterprising, and social. After a code is obtained then one could be matched with occupations that correspond to their personality code. According to Holland’s theory, when one chooses an occupation whose personality type is the same or similar to their own then they are more likely to be satisfied. Implementing Holland’s Theory through the Career Development Process

The career theory that made the most sense to me and was the easiest to use was Holland’s Theory of Vocational Types. If I were using Holland’s theory for career counseling the first thing I would do is interview my client to determine if this theory would be a good model to use. As part of this interview I would have my client discuss their interests, values, strengths, weaknesses, and personality. During this first session I would also explain the career counseling process and why career development is so important. As part of Holland’s theory the client would need to complete a self-assessment either paper/pencil or possibly online. During the second session I would interpret the results and share these with the client. I would explain Holland’s Theory of Vocational Types and discuss the careers or areas of interest that matched with their personality code. After indentifying a list of possible careers of interest to them I would give them an assignment to have ready for our next session. This assignment would be having them research what they need to do in order to pursue those careers. For example, level of education, cost, salary range, ect. For our third session I would review their assignment with them and have them narrow their career choice to one or two options. We would then need to come up with a plan of action together regarding exactly what they needed to do to obtain their desired career. I would schedule a follow up session if I felt it was necessary or if the client desired to do so.
Pro’s and Con’s of Holland’s Theory of Vocational Types There are a few advantages of Holland’s Theory of Vocational types. One advantage is that the types are able to be easily shared with clients. Another advantage is that it helps clients get oriented to the world of work in a way that is not overwhelming to them. It also provides a helpful way to understand a variety of work environments. There are a couple of disadvantages of Holland’s Theory of Vocational types. One disadvantage is that the theory doesn’t provide any insight on how one develops a specific type.

Resources
Ehow. (2013). Theories on Career Development. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_7982973_theories-career-development.html

Savickas, M. & Lent, R. (1994). Convergence in Career Development Theories. Palo Alto, California: Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc.

Stritt-Gohdes,W. (1997) Career Development. Columbus, Ohio: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career and Vocational Education.

Zunker, V. (2012). Career Counseling: A Holistic Approach. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.…...

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