Career Development

Career Development Issues

Career DevelopmentA vocational psychologist studies many important is­sues that people might encounter in their career de­velopment process. Often these same issues are what prompt an individual to seek the assistance of a psy­chologist or career counselor. These issues include ca­reer transitions (i.e., school to work, midlife changes, and work to retirement), work and well-being, job sat­isfaction, career advancement, career coping strategies, networking, work motivation, and stress and burnout. Motivation and stress are two of the most common is­sues of importance to the career development process.

Motivation to work varies from person to person. For many people, work is more than earning a wage. Most individuals share the basic human need for self-fulfillment through meaningful work. Choosing a par­ticular career may fulfill other needs, such as status, security, or satisfaction. The type of tasks required for a particular occupation, the working conditions (both physical and interpersonal), and the working hours re­quired (e.g., shift work) may also influence motivation to work.

The work environment and the demands of work have the potential to be stressors that may interact with stressors outside work (e.g., family stressors). These stressors, as frequently cited in the literature, include poor physical working conditions (e.g. excess heat), work overload or underload, home and work pressures, job dissatisfaction, shift work, and poor relationships with colleagues or management. Stressors may also stem from the person. For example, a Type A person­ality is characterized by excessive competitiveness and ambition, which may cause the person to experience greater occupational stress. Stress overload may result in burnout, which is the depletion of physical and men­tal resources that results in nonproductive behavior, job dissatisfaction, boredom, accidents, or interpersonal conflicts.

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