Looking at the career development and the way we work in the modern society, particularly in the 21 century, we can observe that it is constantly transforming in the midst of globalization, development in technology and communications. Thus, numerous changes have been noted within the working approach in the 21st century. An example is that the increasing occurrence of career changes as one tries keep up with the unpredictable working environments resulting from ever changing organizations and industries. As such, the new direction towards work/career will no longer just be solely about money but also influenced by the following terms:
To look into this, we will carry out interviews with four working individuals with the aim of tracing their career development and the factors influencing it. We will then analyze the interviews and try linking them to the various theories of career development, as well as discovering whether our above terms are valid.
If yes, please elaborate it and proceed to question 3
If no, why?
If no, why is your current occupation so attractive to you?
Proceed to question 7.
If yes, can you give me example(s)?
Who else influenced you in choosing your occupation?
If yes, what brings you satisfaction?
If no, what brings you dissatisfaction?
Report of interview 1
Occupation:Director of a Bio Business
The interview was started off by inquiring her aspirations when she was young.
She replied that when she was around the age of 6 years old, her aspiration was to be a cinema usher but when she grew older to around 16 years old, it was to be an air stewardess. At 20, she was supposed to enter medical school and study to become a doctor but ended up taking a biochemistry degree at University of Tokyo after being attracted to laboratory work. Presently, she is a director of a biotech company of around 40 staff.
Prior to her current job, she revealed that she did not have any full-time job experience before it. The main reason why she like her existing job so much is because it was what she wanted to do and she also finds her job very challenging; almost as if creating something out of nothing.
Her career values are determination, staying focus, highest quality, transparency and honesty. All these values matter a great deal to her in the choice of her career. To her, her two greatest skills are her optimistic attitude and ability to adapt easily to changes. Even so, skills played little part in her career choice as she feels they can be picked up without much difficulty. Her interests are jogging, photography, and rollerblading. She added, “Do what you love and it will come to you”. Her drive towards achieving the aim of the company also results in satisfaction that she derives from her work which is essential requirements for power and achievement.
Initially, her determinants for making her career choice are opportunities presented to her but the support of family and loved ones soon play a part too. Her parents’ opinions influence her in her occupation decision and additionally, she discovered that attempting to encompass a unique work-life balance in fact restricts her career mobility.
The personality type of hers is that of an Entrepreneur and she considers her occupation type to be similar too. She also noted that her family’s careful nature had to some extent shaped her attitude regarding careers. To her, career is her second priority and that she finds her current job suitable because it is something she has interest in and is also able accomplish things in it.
Analysis and observations
Rose has had many aspirations, varying from usher, stewardess, doctor to biochemist. Her path of differing aspirations may be enlightened by Ginzberg’s Process Theory. During her childhood, she wanted to be an usher, which is simply play orientation. However, at her early adolescence stage, she then wanted to be a stewardess as she started to identify her interest, abilities and work requirements. Proceeding on to her middle adolescence stage, due to crystallization of values coupled with the integration of interests and capacities, she finally aspired to be a biochemist.
While examining the three aspirations of Rose, they had nothing much in common but this can be governed by another basis of Ginzbberg’s Process Theory which states “decisions made during early life will help shape career choices, but changes occurring in a person’s own work and life will also influence choices and patterns”.
Rose is a person who likes to be in control and it would appear that her current occupation would match with her values just fine. For Rose, her values have driven her to undertake a managerial position job that permits her to completely exercise her desire to manage.
Rose believes that skills do not matter in her selection of job as skills can be acquired without much difficulty. This exemplifies that working in the 21st century no longer need skills to be completely relevant to a profession. Nowadays, skills are highly adaptable and moreover, they can be picked up easily.
Subsequently, from Schwartz’s Values Model, we can observe that Rose’s desire for power, affiliation and achievement shows that she is high on self enhancement. This would undoubtedly lead to her searching for a job that is high in prestige, giving her authority and accomplish success on a personal level. On top of that, she should be able to demonstrate competence in everyday life.
The opinions from her family do influence her in making her occupational choice which brings us to Familial Influence and Career Genogram. From it, we can perceive her perseverance that everything she does is “high quality” and “transparent” was brought about by her parents’ very careful nature. In addition, Rose values a unique work-life balance and this limited her career mobility. To many working in the 21st century, one of the work conditions in the new work contract is quality of life. Thus, her persistence on leading a high quality of life meant that she had to decide on a occupation where she can handle her own time.
Rose is an Enterprising Persuader, which means she prefers to lead a team to achieve a goal, likes to focus on the bigger picture and get others to commit to pieces of the plan, and is at ease with assigning work. Therefore, since Rose’s job is in line with her personality, this brought about job satisfaction for her.
To wrap up, Rose’s personality and values are the ones that drive her the most. Every single theory works together to create this unique mix of motivators and influencers for her that led her to decide upon this occupational choice.
Report of interview 2
The sole aspiration he had when young was to be a soldier. When inquired whether his aspiration matched his existing occupation, he responded that it was somewhat similar in the sense that both had the same idea which is to lend a hand to people. As he was interested in the sector of IT, his first job was also dealing with providing IT support but not long after he resigned owing to working differences with his boss. Subsequently, he job-hopped a few times before settling down his present job which attracts him as it is of the same kind as his first one except that it has a better work environment.
The career values Rajar possesses are social recognition, responsible, obedient and a sense of accomplishment and these values play a large role in the job he selects. His skills are analyzing, diagnosing, IT technicality and programming. Likewise, they matter as they will be put to use in his existing job which comprises of both providing technical support and customer service. His interests are basically sports and gaming.
When inquired how the choice of his career is decided on, he replied that the most significant factor would be the extent of his contribution and achievements he would be able to accomplish in the job. Another would be maintaining good boss-subordinate relations so as to have a favorable working environment. On top of that, both his relatives and friends are also key influences on his occupational choice.
By being from another country, he felt that he did experience unequal treatment in the working society and that hinders his career mobility. The personality he has is that of social and when questioned if his present occupation matches with his personality type, he gave an positive answer as his job does provide him opportunities to interact with people to a large extent.
From his point of view, he feels that prioritizes his relatives and friends before his career. Presently, he is deriving satisfaction from his occupation as he feels that the work and effort he puts in is being valued by the company and it allows him to accomplish things also.
Analysis and observations
In this interview, an interesting detail to point out is that the aspiration and jobs Rajar had always involve lending a hand to people. This particular career development can be associated with Gottfredson’s Theory of Circumscription. In Rajar’s career, we can observe that the occupations he had are characteristically those of the masculinity kind. In addition, the theory states that the compromise aspect, taking into account limiting factors, is also essential to understanding career decision making. As Rajar got older, becoming a soldier was no longer attractive to him. The compromising factor come into play when he then selects another job that still enables him to aid people.
Super’s theory also enlightens us as to the reason Rajar had a few jobs before the present one as “people in the 21st century are expected to take on several different jobs and go through a few ‘mini-cycles’, with the same characteristics as a ‘maxi-cycle’.” Nonetheless, Gottfredson’s Theory alone is unable to justify his career decision and it is at this juncture where values come into place. The career values Rajar mentioned were mainly intrinsic values, which are sort of his code of ethics, and they have a great influence in his decision on whether to remain in a job. Since there were conflicts with his values in his first job, he felt discontented with it and chose to resign. To a certain degree, we can note that skills and interests played a role in his career choice. His job needs him to be equipped with most of his skills and his interest in gaming is without doubt associated with IT.
Following that, we now focus on a person career can be affected by familial influence and career genogram. In Rajar’s opinion, relatives and friends weigh the greatest in his career genogram. Regardless of their significance in his career genogram, the career genogram is not significant enough to determine his choice of occupation.
Holland’s Theory links personalities to jobs. Since Rajar has a social personality, it denotes that he prefers networking to gather information before creating solutions and plans of action. On top of that, people of this kind of personality are good at network building and hence prefer team approach. Rajar’s job may not seem to suit his personality type but on closer examination we realize that an IT technician does in fact involve networking by having to offer customer service to a large extent while dealing with the technical aspect. Therefore, this job suits his interest and also his aspiration at the same time.
People who decide to work in an surroundings similar to their personality type are likely to be successful and satisfied. From the interview with Rajar, we can see that this point is justified. In his case, the most significant factor in determining his occupation of choice is values, and then by his personality type.
Report of interview 3
Race: Mixed Chinese/French
Occupation: Information technology (IT) consultant
Alexy has been staying in France since he was 10. He had completed a 3-year degree course of Computer engineering and another 2-year degree course specializing in IT in Bremerhaven University. His current company, a multinational company with more than 1400 employee is fully subsidizing his tuition fee to help him pursue his master degree of service-oriented architecture. He has been working in the company for 2 years.
When he was in primary school he aspired to be an astronaut. But while he was in secondary school, he started to think practically and changed his aspiration to become a bio-chemist. He said, “I wanted to improve the quality of our lives particularly biochemical research.” However, 6 years later he changed his aspiration to an IT engineer which he believed would have higher satisfaction and challenges. This result in him studying IT in university and taking an IT consultant job.
Before he switched to IT consultant, he was a part-time translator for 2 years. He’s main job then was to help the Chinese communicate with the French counter parts during international trade events. The job offers relatively good earning and he benefited a lot from it, through knowledge gain from the businessmen’s experiences.
“Above than average salary is 1 of the main values I look for in my career.”, he said. It is 1 of the reasons why he joined his current company who not only pay him well but also subsidize his master course tuition fees. His second career value is to have good colleagues. Due to the nature of his job which involves a lot of discussions, with colleagues, it can increase the team’s performances. He also said, “I feel lucky to have these colleagues who are not selfish of exchanging ideas which further improves team performance.” The third value is intellectual challenge. This is because he loves problem solving and software writing. He decided his career based on the values he have and as the values are compatible with his current job, he feels satisfied.
He believes that he posses skills of analyzing, adapting, creating, initiating, expressing, programming and active-learning. He also chose his job which relates to the skills he has. His interests are computing, information technology, books and music. His vocational personalities are investigative and some social.
Analysis and Observations
Ginzberg’s process theory is the occupational choice due to developmental process which applies to Alexy. We look at the timeline of his life. When he was young, he was not mature enough to think practically thus he aspired to become an astronaut. When he reached around 13 to 14 years old, he becomes more work-oriented and recognized the rewards of his aspiration and his values. When he reaches young adult age, his identification of his interests, capabilities and crystallization of occupational patterns had switched his aspiration to become an IT consultant.
Holland’s theory of vocational choice states that people tend to choose their occupational environments which match their personalities. Alexy’s investigative personality matches his career as an IT consultant. Also his minor personality of social allows him to mingle with his colleagues well. These Holland’s inventories had influenced his occupational choice. However, there are other factors which had an impact in his career choices such as his values, skills, interest, education background and company’s welfare. For example, he had good pay, good experiences and had no problem with his colleagues in his previous translation job but he changed job because of other factors which did not match his previous job such as values, skills, interest, education background and company’s welfare.
Gottfredson’s theory of circumscription and compromise states that the degree of career satisfaction is related to how closely match the career is to self perceptions. We have mentioned that Alxey’s values, interest and skills are highly related to his current occupation. In conclusion, as all his self perceptions matches his current occupation, this results in him attaining career satisfaction.
Report of interview 4
Angelina was born in a village in Indonesia and had low education level. As a result, she had very few career choices to make. The only skill she had then was tailoring skills taught by her mother when she was young. Thus she went to work in a clothing factory when she was 17. As she had very few career choices, she continued her job till 22 years old when she happened to chance upon fashion drafting learning. She studied for 1.5 year before working as a fashion drafter.
For the next 8 years, she had changed many companies. When asked why she kept changing companies, she said that it was because she was not happy with her pay, had different views with the colleagues and bosses and she felt bored working in that company.
When we asked her regarding her ambitions, she said, “I just want to have a stable job and be able to live comfortably.” This is a common view with her fellow villagers thus it had some influence on her mindset of her career choice.
She said her career values were good working environment and colleagues, satisfactory working time, good pay and preferably near her house. She said her prefers to have good relationship with her colleagues as they will be able to make her working day less monotonous. She also explained that she does not want to work long hours as she feels tire easily, with shorter working hour, she will be able to have the freedom to do her own things such as shopping, meeting up with friends and resting at home. On top of that she wants good pay so she can shop and feel happy.
Two of the main reasons (which coincide with her values) which will deter her from choosing her company will be pay and distance from her house.
Lastly, she said that she may resign from her current job as she felt that she was underpaid and she had difficulties working with her demanding boss.
Analysis and Observations
Ginzberg’s process theory states that individual values, emotional factors, amount and type of education and effect of reality through environmental pressure are the 4 main factors influencing vocational choices. Through Angelina, we can see that 3 of the factors had affected her. Firstly, it’s her values of working close to home and having high salary are critical to her choosing her company. Secondly, due to her low educational level, she had limited choices and had to choose tailoring and fashion drafting. Lastly, as Indonesia is very big and there’s traffic jams frequently which can result in travelling time to as much as 1-2 hours, she would choose work place which is close to her house to reduce time travelling.
The theory states “people periodically reassess work satisfaction so that occupational choice becomes a lifelong process”. It comprises of 6 main determinants namely: work, growth and upward mobility, colleague, attitude towards work and supervision. In relation to Angelina’s case, she complained about her current pay and boss. However from our analysis, her dissatisfactory of her job is partly due to her attitude. Her demands of more time to relax and higher pay were difficult to compromise from a boss who tended to demand efficiency and effectiveness. This results in work dissatisfactory thus she is considering resigning.
Through Familial Influence and Career Genogram, we can see that her occupational perception was affected by her family and friends. As most of the people from her village were working as a tailor when she was young, she was easily influenced to take the same job as them.
We can also relate her situation to Gottfredson’s theory of circumscription and compromise. We can see that her imitation aspect of low education level and skill resulted in her making a compromised to work as a tailor in the early years and fashion drafter in the later years.
We can see that working in the 21st century, salary is 1 of the main factors but is no longer the only factor. We believe salary is and will still be 1 of the main factors in affected one’s decision in their career choice although it may not be the highest priority. This is because in the society, money is still a necessity; to buy food and to buy house for shelter. However as the society progress, working environment will be different and more factors will spring up and money will not be the only determinant of a career choice. Each individual is different and we must recognize they will be motivated by different purpose to work. Thus in conclusion, through the analysis, we can deduce that career choices are affected not only by money but also many other factors explained by numerous work theories.
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