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The aim of this case study is to give a detailed analysis of the theories applied while discussing the career development of a person who is from Pakistan. The main reason of the case study is to give the meaning to the theories applied while discussing the career progression of a person who has some experience of different jobs at certain age level.
The person whose interview I took was from Pakistan and she belongs to a middle-class family and is residing in Rawalpindi district. She has much interest in the math’s from the start and she was good at studies overall. She was good inmate’s. She told that her father died when she was very young. Her mother was also a working lady. She has 3 brothers and all are younger than her. She has no sister. There are total 5 members in the family. She is the decision maker for her family and her mother also takes decisions. Everyone listens to her as she is very confident and keen about everything. She did A levels having science subjects Maths, Physics, and Statistics. After that, she has done her bachelors in Science Subjects. She has done her Masters in Arts Subjects this is the first transition as she changed her subjects from science to arts.
She told that she felt very good playing with her brothers in leisure time and she also helped her brothers in studies. Her brothers also listen to her as she is very dominating and do a thing right. She further added that she is very friendly and she likes to interact with different people and she is an outgoing girl and she likes to go out with her friends every weekend.
What she said about her personality is that she is very social and she likes to communicate with different people or people with the different age group.
To explain the transitions she has gone through her life and the reasons for those transitions have been discussed below:
After getting Master Degree she has done the 1-year job as an assistant teacher in XYZ university. After that she has done a 1-year internship in LMN University and then she did the job as a manager in some other university for some time and now she is doing a job as a Department Coordinator in the same university in which she was interned (5:40). In her childhood, she was interested in Maths subject as she told that it was fun for her to do Maths practice of Integration and differentiation but later on she changed her subjects. (3:14-3:3:50) It seemed from the video that she was not sure at that time about her career choice(4:04) and was in the process of thinking to take any decision. She did not go for the higher studies rather she preferred to do the job after her Master’s Degree. She never thought about her future plans when she was young. She likes Maths as a subject but she never thought of becoming an engineer and opt Maths in future rather she preferred to choose those subjects which her friends told her to select she has changed her subjects from science to arts. There are basically four transitions in her life. And she said that she herself was the reason behind every transition. The reason she told about that transitions was the financial problems she had faced after her father died. She also wanted to gain some experience in other fields. She does not want to stick at one job throughout her life. By probing more into her life experiences, she told that she had not face any problem related to her gender rather she has made her position strong in every job and she did not face any difficulty in any job environment. She always remains calm and relaxes with the environmental factors around her. She told that her family is dependent on her like brothers depend on her and that is also the reason they listen to her. (5:21) She was still of the view that if she gets any opportunity better than this, she will switch her job.
By looking at her background there are many theories which best fits her career progression. The first theory which helps the interviewer was the famous theory of John Holland (1959). The person told that she was very social and likes to interact with people who match her interest with her personality as now the job she is doing needs a lot of communication and interaction with other people. She further added that she has a lot of friends and she likes to go out with her friends every weekend. (08:09) she said that she likes to play video games with her brothers and she feels very happy with them (05:09). Thought-out the session she seemed very relaxes yet confident by giving nonverbal and verbal clues that were very responsive and positive. As Holland (1973)”social person are very friendly, responsive, communicative and caring. Looking at these factors one can get an idea that the person has social personality. She had interest in Math subjects and solving questions and she was good with calculations which narrate that she likes to do systematic orderly things. Holland (1973)says that people who like to do concrete tasks are called people. But the person was having more social interests than a realistic one, so one can predict that she was overall a social person. If we see the relationship realistic and social personality, the congruence between them is very low which tells the reason why the person is more social than realistic. She feels more relaxed in a social environment as she is the skillful person for that. She did the job as an internet, then as a Program Manager and later as a Department Coordinator at XYZ University. All these jobs require interaction with a lot of people and she trained herself for that. It shows the congruence between her job environment and personality. Her personality type fit to one of the Holland type, also her personality shows that she is a little bit realistic but social-type is dominating the realistic one and it was explored that the person was more social than realistic. (Zunker 2012) said that social and realistic type has very low congruence, which was easily shown in the interview. (08:18).
Another theory was applied in its true sense was that of Donald Super (1990) which talks about three stages of life i.e.life span, living space, and self-concept. The person was at the stage of the establishment as her age range between 24-45. At this stage, she was in process of stabilization by making her position strong in this job. (Niles & Haris,2013). Looking at her responses, the interviewer can say that the person was still in the transition phase as she said that she might think to change her job if she will get a better opportunity than this. When we talked about her first job she told that it was her will to gain some expertise in the work field and that’s why she started working as an internee in the university(06:19). During her second she felt some difficulties with the student as a program manager (7:10) and that was the reason she always wanted to do some administrative job and enter into a higher level. (7:28) this shows that the person was at the stage of exploration as she was striving hard and she looking for the best suitable job for her. By getting different experiences of jobs, she has crystallized her job preference which was administrative. She was in the phase of career adaptability and her in the process of exploring her interest by working in different environments. The person was playing different roles in her life which she expressed in detail. The major role she was playing is a daughter and sister of her brothers. (5:00). Being the eldest sister all the responsibility is on her shoulders now and she has to take this role positively. While taking her interview, it was identified that after Masters the person was looking for the job and she was very motivated to get the job even with the low pay scale. (6:25). her first job was as an intern and she did that job because she wanted to take some practical work experience. After getting into other jobs she became more focused and she got to know her role more clearly. Doing the job in university was very important for her as was the eldest sister and want to share the burden with her mother. She was playing the role of a daughter at that time. Doing other jobs then, her role became clearer to her. It seemed that she felt happy in playing all the roles because her family was very cooperative towards her and they respect every decision she made in her life.
As cited by Sharf (2010) career decisions are made at early stages, as it is the most thinking period of one’s life. When she entered into the administrative job from the internet, she was not well aware of the job responsibilities at that time. During the first transition, she was not sure about her role as an administrator but later on in her third transition when she joined XYZ University she found it easy to set herself into that environment and see her role clearly. At the time she became aware of her roles and duties regarding the job. In the start, she was not considering low pay scale as she wanted to enter the work area but as the time passes she felt that she should go for high ranking jobs which offer high pay scales.
To see if there was any ‘contextual factor’involved in her life story, it depicts the Mcmohan theory (2008) which states that there are some internal and external factors which affect the career development process. To relate this theory to the person’s story, the internal factors are probably her interest and personality which motivates her to do those jobs. She did different jobs because she was comfortable in doing that and it matches with her personality and environment. By doing different jobs, the person gets to know about her personality deeply. She was happy and satisfied with working in different environments and in different educational institutions. (7:15). So it was seen that most of her decisions were influenced by the internal factors. But external factors also played a major role in her life that we called as environmental factors. The famous Schneider & Corry (2007) states that “people are generally social creature and they are influenced and get motivated by the social factors.” As she expressed that, because of financial issues she started doing the job at an early age without completing her studies. The other reason she gave was her father’s death which affected the person badly and she was unable to complete her studies. She further added that she would have completed her studies and go for higher education if the situation could be different and her father was alive. (13:53). She opted for the third job because it was offering her high salary and the post offered was also high. She was very happy at XYZ University as her colleagues were very supportive and cooperative with her in every situation she had faced.
The other theory which can be integrated into the person’s career progression development was of Krumboltz Learning theory of Career Development. As he says (1975) that learning mostly takes place through our direct experience of the situation. During her different jobs as an interne and Program Manager, she gets to know that she is good at administrative work rather than teaching students. This is because she has experienced personally that nature of every job is different from one another and every job brings different roles and responsibilities with itself. Doing three or four jobs she became more confident and professional and she attained those skills which were the requirement of certain job she was doing at that time. If we talk about associative learning according to Krumboltz, the person knows very well that administration job needs a lot of patience and multitasking but still she considers it good as compared to the roles she would have in teaching or dealing with the students all the time. This theory also talks about the chances, the opportunities we get. It relates to the person in this context that was taking different opportunities as a tool for getting experience. In the start, she did not know that she is interested in administrative jobs but by taking chances and working with students and administration she narrowed down her options. But she was always motivated to get new chances and she did not miss a chance of getting into a new environment and learn something from there.
Talking about Savickas Narrative theory itis the best approach to guide the person to make or construct her/his own theory using lifeline or life themes which he had described. Its emphasis on the self-construction and the person was in the process of constructing herself by adapting herself with the environment or continuously adjusting to the unfavorable conditions which come her way. The person narrates her story by telling her past experience that how her father wanted her to become a doctor (13:45). Her life themes became clearly discussing her life experiences. Life themes can be explored by developing or constructing your own story. She went in the process of making life themes by getting into one job as an interne and then left that job because she thought that it was not suitable for her. She constructs her own reality through direct experience.
The person self-construction was very strong. After her father died, she remained very strong for her family and she was in the process of constructing herself by giving her new opportunities thought out these periods. She has made different transitions in life and at each stage, there are some experiences. For example, when she started the first job as interne she was in her growing stage according to Super (1990), later she switched that job and started exploring herself that is the next stage of life. She found comfort in doing an administrative job where she explored out her interests and duties and ended up as an administrative and now she is in her establishment stage. With the passage of the time, she got aware of the external factors that may influence her career decisions but she adapt herself effectively to the environmental conditions which play a vital role in anyone’s life.
Assessing her personality and job experience, she seemed to be an extrovert person as described by the Jung in his psychodynamic theory (1975), that there are two types of personalities, one is introvert and the other one is extrovert. By seeing the past experience of the person and relating her past events with the current one can get an idea that she was more extroverts and little bit introverts. She loves to interact with the people and making new friends is what she likes to do. She likes to spend her free time with brothers playing video games and going out with friends. She likes to work in a collaborative environment where she can communicate with the people and get new ideas from other people in the working area.
It was observed that she talked about her childhood memory related to father which was seen as she had some sort of associated memory in her unconscious related to her father and by probing into her past it comes into her conscious (Carl Jung, 1875). Her memories were not discussed in the interview in detail but at the end of the interview, sessions relate her likes with her father which was in her conscious and shared the information. Adler (1923) expresses that child’s birth order affects his character and also the situation in which he was born also influence the child. If we relate that theory to the person her birth order is 1st. With reference to the theory, she was very bossy and confident. She takes most of the decisions in the family. She acts as a role model to her family and she is very caring towards her family. She is very responsible and takes care of her family after her father’s death. As said by Paulhus(1999), these kinds of individuals are very open with reference to the environment that may be a reason for the person to change different jobs and adapt herself to the environment.
These theories are very effective for use in career-related interviews. To know the career development process of individuals, one needs to grasp these theories by practical application through conducting different sessions with the individuals. These theories are very useful to know the individual deeply. Human nature is very complex and one cannot get an idea that what the other person is thinking, but these theories somehow are useful to know about personal interests and his complex feelings. There are still some gaps which can be filled in the future by practical applications of the theories.
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