How does the average person make important career choices?
That’s what career development theory addresses.
This article takes a look at one career development theory: vocational calling.
Much of recent career theory is based on reductionism. What is reductionism
Career development expert, 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
But reductionism and the idea of vocational calling appear to be two career theories that are at odds with each other. 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 theory implies that this is too simplistic and that we are far more complex creatures than that.
What is ‘ Vocational Calling’?
The word vocation [from the Latin vocare] means “to call”.
And if there is a call, we assume there must be a “caller”.
This caller for most people would be God.
If you believe the bible’s account of how we got here, you would believe that we are not only made by God, but we are made like God (…so God created man in his own image… Genesis 1:27)
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 reductionist career 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.
Biological science continues to surprise us at how complex the human body is. Take a look at this video to remind yourself just how complex you are.
It is, therefore, a reasonable assumption that a similar level of complexity is present in our psychological makeup. And it is a our psychological makeup that is associated with the issue of choosing careers.
As career expert Dr. Mark Savickas states:
….. 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”
Many People Believe They Have a Call
A study of first-year college students found that 42% of the students believed that they have a call.
28% indicated that they were, in fact, searching for a calling.
With the vast majority of the world’s population believing in God as their 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.
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: