Beyond Skills: Why Vocation Matters in Career Development - Beshortlisted

Beyond Skills: Why Vocation Matters in Career Development

Is Career Development Theory Making a Comeback? A Fresh Perspective

So, you’re at that point in your life when you need to make some big decisions about your career. How do you go about it? Well, that’s where career development theory comes into play. It’s all about understanding how people like you and me make those crucial career choices. But here’s the thing – career development theory has been around for a while, and it’s been through its fair share of changes.

Beyond Skills: Why Vocation Matters in Career Development

In the world of career counseling, various theories have taken the spotlight over the years. But today, we’re taking a fresh look at an old theory – vocational calling. Yep, it’s making a comeback, and we’re about to dive into why.

The Clash: Vocational Calling vs. Reductionism

Before we get too deep into this, let’s clarify something. What exactly is a “calling”? Well, the word “vocation” comes from the Latin word “vocare,” which means “to call.” And if there’s a call, there must be a “caller,” right? For many, that caller would be some form of God.

In fact, for a vast majority of the world’s population who believe in a higher power, that caller would likely be the Creator, the one who made us. It’s not just about being created by God; it’s also about being made like God. The Old Testament even suggests that we’re created in the image of God.

Let Your Life Speak

Now, here’s where things get interesting. One school of thought says we can choose our careers by breaking ourselves down into smaller pieces and examining those parts. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? But then there’s the other side of the coin.

“Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. 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.” – Parker Palmer

This theory implies that we’re not just a jigsaw puzzle of skills and traits waiting to be assembled into a career. We’re something more complex, more intricate. It’s a bit like how biology keeps discovering new layers of complexity in the human body. So, it’s not a stretch to think that our psychology, especially when it comes to choosing careers, is equally intricate.

The Missing Pieces

Dr. Mark Savickas, a prominent career development theory writer, puts it succinctly: “The empirical tradition of rational career counseling does not encompass complex human qualities such as Spirit, consciousness, and purpose. Science examines parts; personal stories examine the whole.”

In other words, science can’t capture everything about us. There are aspects that go beyond the analytical, and those aspects matter when it comes to choosing a career.

The Belief in a Calling

Here’s a stat that might surprise you. A study of first-year college students found that 42% of them believed that having a calling was either totally true or mostly true when it came to choosing careers. An additional 28% were actively searching for their calling.

Given that a significant chunk of the world’s population believes in God as a Creator, it raises an interesting question. Are career counselors doing a disservice if they don’t explore the possibility of a calling when helping clients choose careers? Shouldn’t they create an environment where such discussions can happen?

Rethinking Career Development

So, what’s the purpose of all this? Well, it’s to challenge career counselors and those seeking career advice to reconsider one of the oldest career development theories – vocational calling. It’s a theory that still has a hold on our society, and maybe it’s time we pay more attention to it.

If you’re someone looking for career change advice, remember that you have the right to discuss these ideas with your career counselor. After all, it’s your future on the line.

A Counselor’s Worldview Matters

But what if your chosen career counselor doesn’t align with these beliefs? That’s a valid concern. When selecting a career counselor, you’re not just looking at their qualifications; you’re also looking at their worldview. It’s not a taboo subject to ask them about their stance on these issues or whether they regularly discuss these matters with clients.

Many career counselors follow the client-centered model of counseling, where the focus is entirely on you – your needs, your wants, and your desires. So, integrating your spiritual needs into career counseling sessions is entirely in line with valid career development theory.

But if your counselor can’t provide the support you need or lacks experience in this area, it might be time to consider someone else.

In the end, your career decisions are too important to leave out any potential avenues of exploration. So, whether you’re a believer in a higher calling or a staunch reductionist, it’s worth considering all aspects of your unique self when plotting your career path.

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