Career Counseling: The “Model of Personal Career Management”

Career Counseling: The “Model of Personal Career Management”

Maria Koutsafti (Doukas School, Greece) and Niki Politi (Doukas School, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3053-4.ch020
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Abstract

Career Counseling is a lifelong process starting when individuals choose an occupation -or even earlier-, prepare for it, and make progress in it. It emphasizes exploring the individuals' interests, values, skills and personality characteristics so as to support them to progress in those subjects and activities that will contribute to the attainment of the ultimate aim of shaping a good career as they wish it. The chapter starts with a brief presentation of career counseling and decision making as well as career management development in a contemporary context and continues with an exposition of the Model of Personal Career Management adopted by the “STEP” Career Counseling Department at Doukas School. An overview of the services provided is presented with a focus on the use of the “global net cloud.” Finally, the need for engaging the parents is stressed and additional activities, including handling students' exam anxiety are discussed.
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Definitions

Career in a Contemporary Context

Career has always been one of the most determining aspects in one’s life. The last decades, more than ever, career and identity have been intimately interlaced. To know about work has always been the same as to know about the self. However, at different times and in different discourses, meanings for both are constructed and approached differently (Law, Meijers, & Wijers, 2002). More specifically, in the contemporary context, uncertainty and change in the world of work are the results of forces such as internationalization, downsizing, advancing technology, and increased diversity in the labor force. Further, traditional realities such as maintaining a job with one company, or even one career, throughout one’s work life, are now obsolescent (Lee & Johnston, 2001).

Work is a universal and timeless term. But in our time, questions, such as what, how, when and where are more vague and unclear, than they have ever been (Gratton, 2011). Consequently, in a world of constant challenge, change and advancement, career is a course with many fluctuations at the cognitive, psychological and emotional level. The term “objective career” has been replaced by “subjective career” that emphasizes self-direction and personal autonomy (Abele & Spurk, 2009). We are living in the era of “multiple specialization” which will help future employees to maintain their “employability”, their readiness for a sequence of vocational roles, by constant learning and the cultivation of a set of transferable skills. Life-long profession has been transformed to a life-long employability. We are driven to a transformation of our vocational mindset in general, not only our everyday job conditions and habits.

According to IFTF (Institute for the Future for Arizona Research Institute, 2011), the six drivers of change are: the rise of smart machines and systems, the new media ecology, the computational world, the globally connected world, the extreme longevity and the super-structured organizations. These six drivers of change are also defining the necessary future skills. Such skills are: sense making, transdisciplinarity, novel and adaptive thinking, social intelligence, new media literacy, design mindset, computational thinking, virtual collaboration, cross cultural competency, cognitive load management. Moreover, it is a fact that we have entered the Conceptual Age that focuses on the grasp of creative ideas, featuring a model of multi-potential (Pink, 2005).

In the light of the foregoing and according to the contemporary reality, we have abandoned the idea of planning a career and we have adopted the concept of a life-long career management. And this is the lens through which we implement career counseling in our educational institution. At this point it would be very useful to define and briefly analyze the theory and practice of career counseling aspects.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Career Planning: The process of mapping out the necessary steps that an individual needs to take and the services s/he might need to use in order to achieve an identified educational, vocational or personal goal. The process might be conducted by the individual on their own, in conjunction with someone else (e.g. a career counselor) or by using a template or online tool.

Career Counselor: Career counselors assist people to explore, pursue and attain their career goals, provide counseling in educational, career and personal domains. They assist individuals to achieve greater self-awareness, develop a career/work direction, increase understanding of learning and work opportunities and become self-directed in managing learning, work and transitions.

Self-Assessment: It refers to the process of assessing/evaluating one’s personality, interests, values and skills so as to achieve self-awareness.

Self-Actualization: It refers to the achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity and a grasp of the real world.

Self-Awareness: Knowledge that an individual has/develops about him/herself.

Decision-Making: It refers to the process of making a choice between particular career alternatives as the result of a logical series of steps used to identify individual aims, traits, interests, values and skills.

Interests: Are things that arouse one’s enthusiasm and provoke the state of wanting to learn or know more. They have a “self-motivational function” as well as a dynamic dimension throughout lifespan. Interests are critical to the formation of one’s career as they are an influential factor of the career decision-making process.

Career Decision: An individual’s career intention based on their personal aptitudes, abilities, aspirations and goals, tempered by the realities of the labor market and their personal circumstances. It refers to the process through which an individual’s career intention is developed and realized.

Career Management: An ongoing process of preparing, implementing, and monitoring career plans.

Lifelong Learning: All learning activity (either formal, non-formal or informal) undertaken throughout life, which results in improving knowledge, know-how, skills, competences and/or qualifications for personal, social and/or professional reasons.

Career Development: A lifelong process (as well as the outcome of it) of managing learning, work, leisure and transitions in order to move towards a personally determined and evolving future.

Job/Work/Profession/Vocation: A temporary position, a step to an individual’s career scale.

Career Portfolio: A portfolio is designed to be a record of the competences (skills, knowledge and abilities) and experiences of an individual. It may list formal qualifications or include examples of work as well as recording training courses, work experience and non-work activities undertaken by the individual.

Career: The interaction of work roles and other life roles over a person’s lifespan, including how they balance paid and unpaid work, and their involvement in learning and education.

Career Counseling: An interaction between a career/guidance counselor and an individual or a group and the process used to help them solve a specific career related issue.

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