How are career choices made by the average person?
That’s what career development theory is about.
Various career development theories have provided good contributions for career counselling in the past, however, this career article takes a fresh look at vocational calling as a core career development theory.
A good majority of recent career development theory is based on reductionism.
Career development authority, John Holland explains reductionism as:
… The idea is that you could understand the world, all of nature, by examining smaller and smaller pieces of it. When assembled, the small pieces would explain the whole”John Holland
Vocational calling and reductionism appear to be two career development theories that are at odds, at least in part.
What is ‘Calling’?
The word vocation [from the Latin vocare] means “to call”.
And if there is a call, there must be a “caller”.
This caller for most people would probably be God of some description.
And for the vast majority of the world’s population who do believe in God as their Creator, this ‘caller’ would be the God who made them.
In reference to God creating human beings, the Old Testament says that we are not only made by God, but we are made like God.
Let Your Life Speak
And if we are made like God, it would be reasonable to conclude that we are therefore made with immense complexity, sophistication, and uniqueness.
And this is where the area in which the reductionist career development theory potentially clashes with a calling theory.
Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you.-Parker Palmer
Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.
One theory says that we can go about choosing careers by examining all the small pieces of what makes up a human being. The other career development theory implies that this is too simplistic and that we are a far more complex creature than that.
Biological science continues to be increasingly more surprised at how complex the human body is. Take a look at this video to remind yourself just how wonderful you are.
It is, therefore, a reasonable assumption that a similar complexity is present in our psychological makeup associated with the significant issue of choosing careers.
As career development theory writer Dr. Mark Savickas says:
….. the empirical tradition of rational career counseling does not encompass complex human qualities such as Spirit, consciousness, and purpose.Dr. Mark Savickas
Science examines parts; personal stories examine the whole”
High Number of People Believe They Have a Call
A study of first-year college students found that 42% of the students believed that having a calling was totally true or mostly true of them when it came to choosing careers.
28% indicated that they were, in fact, searching for a calling.
With the vast majority of the world’s population believing in God as a Creator, I wonder if career counselors are doing an injustice to their clients if they are not raising the possibility of a calling with their clients as a valid way of choosing careers. Or at least providing an environment that fosters such an issue being raised.
The purpose of this career development article is to challenge career counselors and people seeking career advice, to reassess one of our oldest career development theories, and one which research suggests is still prevalent in our society.
If you are a client seeking career change advice, you should be able to freely raise issues like this with your career counselor.
What if a career counselor’s worldview doesn’t support this belief system?
This is no different from the many other factors to consider when selecting a career counselor to work with.
It is not too sacred ground to ask a potential career counselor what her worldview is on these issues and whether or not she discusses these issues on a regular basis with other clients.
Many career counselors are trained and use the client-centered model of counseling. The name of this model is self-explanatory in that the career counseling session should be centered on the client’s needs, the client’s wants and the client’s desires.
To incorporate a person’s spiritual needs into career counseling sessions is in line with valid career development theory.
However, if a career counselor is unable to, or is not experienced in supporting this worldview, a client should consider somebody else.
Other topics related to this career development article include: