A career is a central part of an individual's journey through life. Your career will see many highs and lows and will often consist of important milestones in your life, like, finishing studying, starting your first job, getting your first promotion and so on. This journey from back in your early schooldays to where you are now is your career so far. And the years ahead will see your career move on, often in unpredictable ways.
Gone are the days of considering a career as being the occupation you aimed for on leaving school or college, and that you could loose your career if you lost your job. Your career, and that of your children, is now viewed as a journey, and the emphasis today is on ensuring your child is prepared for the journey, not just the first stop.
Jobs, Occupations, Careers - I'm Confused?
Nobody entirely agrees on what these commonly used words mean, but here are some of the more accepted definitions:
|Job||Work that is paid for in return for performing specific tasks: e.g. an electrical engineer with ESB|
|Occupation||This refers to a range of correlated jobs that are associated or have similar characteristics – e.g: educator, engineer, scientist|
|Career||The paid and unpaid variety of occupations, skills, experiences and knowledge that one experiences and amasses across a lifetime journey. It refers to the totality of all our relationships with family, friends and associates, our education, leisure activities, voluntary activities and our life roles.|
There are lots of career theories and frameworks to help us make sense of this aspect of our lives, one of the most popular is that of John Holland or Donald Super’s Life Span Life Space Theory. Super states that people play nine major roles as they mature – Child, Student, Leisurite, Worker, Citizen, Spouse, Home-maker, Parent, Pensioner. Each of these roles comes with expectations and responsibilities. Super defines career as: ‘the combination and sequence of roles played by a person during the course of a lifetime.’
Without getting too technical, and regardless of which theory you favour, there are some fundemental principles that need to be understood by parents and young adults alike: The High Five Principles for Career Planning