There are three major ways with which careers have been described traditionally including being defined as a series of positions held within an occupation. Secondly, careers have also been traditionally described in the framework of an organization's mobility. Thirdly, a career is described as an employee's characteristic consisting of several experiences, jobs, and positions. However, this description of career has changed drastically in contemporary working environments to be referred to as protean careers.
Career planning can also be described as a purposeful process where goals are transformed into guidelines for implementation. This process of translating goals into implementation guidelines enables people to connect their anticipations psychologically with the actual behavioral procedures and plans. The process involves thinking about the kind of job and work environment that permits individuals to accomplish their goals. Therefore, career goals are related to the career planning process since they have a motivating impact and results in the development of a career strategy (De Vos, Clippeleer & Dewilde, 2009, p. 765).
Today's description of careers is entirely based on self-direction with the aim of psychological success in an individual's work. The psychological success in a person's work is embedded on the expectations that employers and workers have on each other. Since the modern psychological contract doesn't provide workers with job security in most cases, they are responsible for managing their careers. Due to this change, many organizations provide workers with opportunities to attend development programs and experiences that enhance their job opportunities with the current and future employers.
Psychological Success and Today's Careers:
Unlike traditional careers, today's career has numerous implications for employee development because of its emphasis on psychological success. This psychological success is generally considered as the feeling of pride and achievement that emanates from the accomplishing life goals that are not restricted to success at work. Based on the new career patterns, employee development necessitates the provision of opportunities that promote the identification of an employee's interests and the strengths and weaknesses of their skills. Additionally, the new career patterns require suitable development programs and experiences, which involve job relationships, experiences, and formal courses (Noe et. al, 2010, p. 413).
Modern careers have become increasingly protean or self-managed unlike the traditional careers that were managed by the organization. The organizational management of career was rooted in the provision of skill development, pay increase and promotions by the organization. However, in today's protean careers, employees assume greater responsibilities for their personal development while experiencing job rotation and sharing as well as developmental assignments. This has resulted in the decline of expectations for upward, linear career development throughout the planning process (Lyon & Kirby, 2000, p. 277). Therefore, employees are required to be flexible, self-directed, and capable of learning in today's careers. The capability of self-learning is based on the fact that people learn better when they are in control of the learning condition.
Career preparation has largely been considered as a significant developmental task whose successful performance improves personal growth, social adjustment, and future welfare (Koivisto, Vinokur & Vuori, 2011, p. 345). Career choice preparedness is defined as the willingness to capitalize on opportunities and deal with obstacles and setbacks in a career choice. Therefore, career preparation is a combination of career choice self-efficacy and inoculation against obstacles. The career choice self-efficacy is the degree of confidence in an individual's ability to successfully carry out responsibilities related to the career choice. The inoculation against obstacles can be defined as the defensive stress management skills that help in maintaining active, goal-directed and welfare behavior in the midst of challenges.
There are five key competencies in career preparation which are self-knowledge, information about occupation, choice of goals, planning, and problem-solving. The career choice self-efficacy has four main sources of information including open learning or modeling, performance achievement, controlling anxiety, and offering encouragement and support. These sources of information are greatly effective in promoting career self-efficacy beliefs.
Nature of Career Planning:
There are various key aspects about the nature of contemporary career planning process including:
Achieving Personal Goals:
Today's career planning is about obtaining personal life's goals as well as attaining clarity regarding an individual's knowledge, skills, abilities, and values (Blair, 2000, p. 175). The contemporary career planning is also about achieving individual needs, aspirations, wants, and personal style. This process involves self-analysis and self-reflection with the involvement of career professionals with necessary information regarding a career path. These information professionals provide a systematic step-by-step process for individuals without clarity on a career path. This nature of career planning has been brought by the change of employment and the downsizing by many organizations. It has also changed because the concept of a long-term career in a single profession is seriously threatened and challenge.
Career planning and development has now become a personal responsibility because employability demands an acute awareness of the changing work environment. The awareness involves managing work relationship, taking control of long-term learning needs, and the ability to identify work opportunities through market analysis. Being an individual responsibility, the process of career planning needs to be flexible and reactive to the person's needs.
Self-analysis and Needs-evaluation:
Effective career planning and management start with the process of self-analysis and needs-evaluation. However, this process should enable workers and managers to be aware of personal and organizational needs. They also need to consider the increasingly changing work environment and any necessary personal changes when establishing their career goals (Zajas & Zajas, 1994, p. 20). This recognition and prioritization of important needs and goals are significant steps in the process of effective career planning.
Inclusion of Other Components:
From a long-term perspective, the nature of career planning has also evolved to encompass education, work, and leisure (Trusty et. al, 2005). This is largely because the educational and occupational components of career planning are intrinsically bonded. According to a research, the need for effective career planning demands the inclusion of these components in the process. This is also because of the need to realistically analyze the academic and occupational alternatives that are necessary in the working environment.
Structure of Career Planning:
The structure of a career planning process basically involves a process with three major steps with each involving several distinct activities. These three major steps are self-exploration, examination of career possibilities, and experimentation, which are critical in the life-long career planning process. Self-exploration is the first step in the career planning model that involves determining one's working roles, evaluation of career interests, and identifying personal desires, dreams, and purpose in life. As the second major step in this process, exploration of career possibilities involve activities like analyzing career opportunities and alternatives, prioritizing the selected career possibilities, and determining the career plan. Experimentation is the final step in this model and involves finding the employment, obtaining small successes, evaluating and learning from achievements and failures as well as updating goals (Coetzee, 2006, p. 25).
Purpose of Career Planning:
Because of the numerous advantages it provides to employees and managers, career planning has various purposes including:
For Greater Motivation and Productivity:
Career planning is an important aspect in employee development since it guarantees a higher degree of involvement, commitment, motivation, and productivity for individuals and organizations that are successful in establishing and accomplishing effective career plans. Career planning assures this great degree because its essence is on its ability to focus on specific needs, goals, and necessary alternatives for achieving them. Career planning is used for motivation and productivity since individual's work toward progressive goals after conducting self and needs assessments.
This in turn results in greater involvement, commitment, motivation, and productivity because individuals establish and work on priority goals and objectives. The career planning process is used for motivation and productivity since the goal-setting aspect emanates from the person's needs and wants. The goal-setting aspect and achievement can later be used by the individual to determine and overcome procrastination, disorganization, poor performance, indiscipline and failures in accepting responsibility. When these negative factors are identified in the career planning process, the individual not only makes progress but is also motivated and highly productive in the workplace.
Career planning, particularly through programs organized by an organization, is for the purpose of equipping employees to take advantage of the available career development systems. Such programs provide opportunities that demonstrate the link between personal plans and performance reviews, incentives, compensation and training and development (Walker, n.d., p. 5). This process equips employees by providing opportunities that motivate and direct individual training. It also equips employees by providing information regarding job requirements, compensation opportunities, development resources, and alternative career paths.
Career planning is for the purpose of career management which is considered as the process with which individuals make informed decisions and choices regarding their work lives (Greenhaus, Callanan & Kaplan, 2010). Through career planning, individuals are better placed to manage their career because of the goal-setting aspect, which contribute to informed decision-making. Effective career management is also enhanced by the…