In our last blog, we focused on the need to develop character traits that have been found to enhance success at work during an individual’s development years. In this presentation, we want to focus on the idea of developmental tasks and the role they play during the growth phase (childhood and early adolescence). We think that career practitioners, and more particularly career educators who focus on these tasks help provide individuals with the background and foundation to enter the exploration phase of vocational development and to be able to accomplish the dynamics inherent in this phase.
Theory suggests that young children, as a consequence of secure attachment develop an “internal working model” of human relationships, characterized by trust and confidence in others. With the development of this model, the ground is established for future relationships with others generally, and fellow workers more particularly. Additionally, the model promotes a sense of security as children explore and daydream about their place in the adult work world. We see secure attachment as a critical factor that enhances mastery of the developmental tasks during the growth period.
There are at least four developmental tasks children need to accomplish to maximize their vocational development during this growth phase. They need to form concepts about themselves and others that extend into their later work life. This developmental task is termed career concern. The second task involves the ability to take ever more increasing responsibility for their vocational exploration. This task is referred to as career control. The third task involves forming facilitative concepts about making educational and vocational choices, a task known as career conception. The fourth task is known as career confidence, or one’s ability to exercise personal confidence and hard work to achieve success and overcome obstacles in the work environment.
Mastering these tasks enables children to enter adolescence with dispositions and competencies that promote appropriate self-perceptions and the ability to identify with others in the work world. Identification with others helps maturing individuals to choose occupations that are in line with their sense of self; and, experiencing a sense of security leads to a positive experience with mentors, supervisors and coworkers. Further, the ability to make a commitment combined with consistent effort towards achieving occupational stability enables the young adult worker to develop satisfaction with and productivity in their work role.
We think career educators who focus on the developmental tasks of concern, control, conception and confidence during the growth phase provide developing children with personal concepts and behaviors that will enhance their job exploration and job choosing skills. Children who are responsible and self-confidence and who develop facilitative concepts about the work world are in good stead to master the essential dynamics and decisions to be achieved during the exploration phase of vocational development. We think these two dynamics of character and skill development enhance the possibility of more satisfying and productive tenures in their work environments.
By John Stewart and Jeff Landine
Ateah, C. A.,Kail, R. V., & J. C. Cavanaugh, J. C., (2009). Human development: A life-span view. (2nd ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson Education Ltd.
Savickas, M. L. (2002). Career construction: A developmental theory of vocational behavior. In D. Brown and Associates (Eds.), Career choice and development (4th ed.) (pp. 149-205). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA