applying the psychology of working theory for transformative career education:
How can we cultivate academic and socioemotional development among children, adolescents, and families? Maureen E. Kenny seeks these answers, examining the individual and contextual factors that promote positive growth. Her expertise includes school and community-based interventions for marginalized youth, whole child education, student motivation, and how academic challenges evolve through shifts in technology, globalization, and workforce opportunities.
Professor, Counseling, Developmental & Educational Psychology
• Work and nonwork experiences are often seamlessly experienced in the natural course of people’s lives. As noted earlier, psychological theory and practice has become increasingly insular, leading to artificial splits that are not consistent with the lived experience of people. As such, the relatively seamless nature of life ought to be captured in scholarship and practice about working. In contrast to the increasing compartmentalization of psychology, the psychology-of-working perspective strives to reduce or eliminate a priori categories that separate psychological discourses. The optimal discourse would be one that examines the lived experience of working, which is conveyed in the language of people talking about their lives. As conveyed in memoirs and narrative excerpts (e.g., Blustein, 2006; Bowe et al., 2000; Terkel, 1974), working is inextricably connected to the rest of our lives. We inhabit multiple roles in life and these roles intersect with each other in organized and random ways, creating a rich tapestry of life experiences (cf. Super, 1980).
Following the trend toward increasing specialization within psychology, working, as a context for human behavior, became increasingly compartmentalized throughout most of psychology, ultimately yielding a highly insular view of a portion of our lives that takes up a significant amount of time and energy. For example, with some notable exceptions (e.g., Axelrod, 1999; Lowman, 1993; Richardson, 2012; Socarides & Kramer, 1997), working is not a central part of most psychotherapy and personality theories. Furthermore, within North America (and in many other parts of the globe), psychological practice and scholarship on working increasingly has tended to focus on those with some degree of privilege and choice. These factors, when considered together, have led many scholars to critique existing discourses and to advocate for a more inclusive perspective of the role of work in one’s psychological well-being (e.g., Blustein, McWhirter, & Perry, 2005; Harmon & Farmer, 1983; Richardson, 1993).
Career construction theory defines vocational personality as the constellation of an individual’s career-related abilities, needs, values, and interests. The theory discusses personality using the nomenclature and framework of Holland’s RIASEC (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional) types because it offers a widely used language for describing the personological results of an individual’s efforts at self-organization of his or her skills, interests, and abilities. While adopting Holland’s language to articulate accounts of personalities and occupations, career construction theory reminds counselors and researchers that the traits constituting RIASEC types are completely decontextualized and quite abstract. It is easy to forget that the traits, especially when denoted with nouns rather than verbs, are really just strategies for adapting. They are dynamic processes that present possibilities, and they should not be reified into realist tools for predicting the future.
Using social constructionism as a metatheory, construction theory views careers from a contextual perspective that sees people as self-organizing, self-regulating, and self-defining. Relying on its social constructionist epistemology, the theory reconceptualizes both vocational personality types and vocational tasks. It interprets personality types as processes that have possibilities, not realities that predict the future. It views developmental tasks as social expectations. Career construction theory then uses the concept of life themes to weave together its conceptualizations of vocational personality and career adaptability into a comprehensive theory of both vocational behavior and career counseling. Stated succinctly, the theory holds that individuals construct their careers by using life themes to integrate the self-organization of personality and the self-extension of career adaptation into a self-defining whole that animates work, directs occupational choice, and shapes vocational adjustment.
work boundary e.g. excessive time demands affecting relationships, leisure, fitness. Low respect/high control culture. No time off except sickness absence. Discipline for absence. Scapegoating weaker members by stressed team. Harassment or abuse by aggressive/stressed manager. Boss changes. Rigid agenda.
- Economic insecurity – low income, debt, high financial commitments, fear of job loss, temporary, ambiguous or onerous employment contract
- Emotional insecurity – no partner, few friends, dependent relatives, secret grief (lost lover or child), sense of guilt, unresolved issues or regrets, multiple transitions, anxiety over being diagnosed mentally ill
- Health – chronic or undiagnosed conditions, low fitness, fatigue, lifestyle
- Hostile work environment – work overload, unrealistic demands, insufficient resources, abuse of life
University of Florence:
Career guidance for social justice
It is an on-going attempt by Tristram Hooley (Derby University), Rie Thomsen (Aarhus University) and Ronald G. Sultana (University of Malta) to bring sociological perspectives to bear on career guidance theory and practice, so as to further the social justice agenda. The project has led to two books – Career Guidance for Social Justice (2018) and Career Guidance for Emancipation (2019), both published by Routledge. The team is now trying to identify the ways in which career guidance practitioners attempt to enact social justice in their everyday work.