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Monday, January 16, 2012

Four Career Development Theories

Identify at least one unique contribution from each of the four career development theories discussed in this chapter.

Super’s theory is a large and expansive construct with a difficult number of factors to interpret, but one of its cornerstones stands out the idea of exploration by the client of the self and needs. It then becomes the responsibility of the counselor to address that exploration, aide in it, and guide the client on to the next find. Super’s life stages overlap and it is important to note that child, student, and worker start at different ages in life but all end around sixty five(Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2009, p. 50). This would indicate that so long as some is still working they are still learning and developing. In the modern world we see this all the time with older and older individuals returning to school and looking to education for their next stage of development.

We can consider the act of thinking about, asking about, or researching a new career to be this exploration. For example, a man came to me looking for a job to fill his time once he retires as he would do so in the next six months. He questioned me about a job as a Security Officer as he knew my experience in this area. I then explained to him that the work was often boring, difficult, dangerous, and stressful. In the end of this interview we agreed that before he retired he should have a firm grasp of the work he would move into and that he should test the job out before making any major changes. He explored a possibility, found it not to his liking, and I helped him through this search.

The most important aspect of Gottfredson’s theory is that it addresses preconceived notions placed on clients from the past. This is consistent with the ideas of Freud and Kelly both relying on passed experience. However, the point to be examined with Gottfredson is the idea of sex rolls. This “Tolerable-sextype boundary” (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2009, p. 60) will be a major obstacle for many a client and counselor.

In a sociology class I once watched a documentary about a man who was ostracized at work for taking his daughter to the doctor. His coworkers felt that this was “woman’s work” and said that he was father and mother to his little girl. When I was asked to comment on this the class was surprised that I found this concept ‘evil’. I then explained to the class that gender should have no impact on responsibility and that these ideas are out of date and never had much real validity. As a counselor these issues will at some point need to be addressed.

Holland’s theory is very attractive in that it is simple and easy to understand. It can be broken down into the idea that there are six mindsets and six environments in which these mindsets fit. The idea that all jobs and people are one of these: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, or conventional oversimplifies and relies on the idea that one, we are correct in these assumptions, and two that those assumptions are assessable readily. However, the point to take from Holland if any is that different people require different environments for optimal satisfaction. The other side of this coin is that every person can work well in a number of environments. The counter point that must be made is that this theory is overly mechanical and fails to also include human factors like dysfunctional job situation in which no one will work well or the opportunity for satisfaction outside of work. Take what you want from Holland but understand that in addition to the limitations the research lends it only moderate support.

Krumboltz Learning Theory of Career Counseling has a major advantage over the others because it uses cognitive restructuring to improve clients rather than simply evaluate them. This idea of restructuring can greatly benefit individual with a verity problems and bring them to a better work environment.  

Which career development theory offers the best link to your future counseling practice/population?

Honestly, Holland’s theory will work well for those cases that are in moderate distress. Those who are easy to satisfy will need little help and a model they can understand. On the other hand, problem cases will require Krumboltz because the individual must look within for job satisfaction as the work space is so rarely a happy one.

Niles, S. G., & Harris-Bowlsbey, J. G. (2009). Introduction to Career Development Interventions. In Career Development Interventions in the 21st Century (3rd ed., Ch 2).