Archive for October, 2009
Ok, ok, this isn’t a trawl through the back issues of Hello Magazine to identify the ‘first’ ever model, instead a look at the FIRST Framework. I came across this model a few weeks ago and initially really connected with its simplicity. FIRST stands for: Focus, Information, Realism, Scope and Tactics. The dimensions of the FIRST framework can be used as a diagnostic tool to ascertain the stage the client is at in their career thinking.
- Focus: How far has the client narrowed down their options?
- Information: How well-informed are they about the career options they are considering?
- Realism: How realistic is the client (both in relation to own abilities and the constraints of the market)?
- Scope: How aware is the client of the range of options available?
- Tactics: To what extent has the client worked out the steps to achieve their career objectives?
In our work with foundation doctors choosing their specialties, I pose a number of questions to help them to think about their choice in more depth. One of these questions is, ‘Have you thought about how your priorities will change over time?’ One of the female doctors accused me of aiming this question specifically at women because they are the ones likely to have to consider issues of work-family balance. However, many of the male doctors I’ve spoken to have also raised the issue of working hours and their impact on life outside work.
Last week the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published the research report Working Better: Fathers, family and work – contemporary perspectives. This quote from the conclusions sums up the main findings of the research.
The findings from this survey show that fathers’ attitudes towards parenting do not appear to match the reality of their work and care arrangements. Their rejection of traditional views, dissatisfaction with the time they spend with their children and their strong support for extended paternity leave shows a willingness to be involved in the day-to-day care of their children. In practice, however, most fathers still work full time, and many work long hours.
See the press release for other key highlights. In the report, they admit that the figures may be unrepresentative because men who are actively involved in sharing responsibilities for parenting are more likely to respond to the survey. Similarly, male doctors who are particularly concerned about work-life balance may be more likely to attend optional career management sessions.
In 2005 Lisa Mainiero and Sherry Sullivan introduced the concept of Kaleidoscope Careers as a way to describe the changing priorities over the course of a person’s working life.
I want to continue this short series of posts based around the theme of compromise by looking at a more modern developments.
In 2004 Charles Chen introduced the concept of positive compromise (Positive compromise: a new perspective for career psychology. Australian Journal of Career Development, 13(2) 2004). Compromise within career choice is generally considered a negative concept. Chen proposes that compromise will always be part of career choice in a complex and rapidly-changing world. Therefore, it makes sense to understand how to engage with compromise in constructive way.
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Work commitments meant that I couldn’t attend the NICEC/CRAC debate Past its Sell-By Date? Career guidance for the 21st Century. However, there are a couple of blog posts from people who were there: Tristram Hooley and Gillian.
Join the debate.
Related post: A new blood sport
Imagine that a small hamlet of 600 people has been struck down by a potentially fatal disease. A health expert comes to you and offers two possible treatment programmes:
- If you follow Programme A 200 people will be saved
- If you follow Programme B there is a one-third probability that all 600 will be saved, but a two-thirds probability that no-one will be saved.
Which would you go for?
Now, let’s imagine that neither Programme A or B is viable. Instead, the boffin proposes another two treatment programmes:
- If you follow Programme C 400 people will die.
- If you follow Programme D there is a one-third probability that no-one will die and a two-thirds probability that 600 people will die.
Which would you choose now?
This probably didn’t trip you up — you may have spotted that programmes A and C are exactly the same and programmes B and D are exactly the same. However, when these choices were presented separately to two groups of people, those who were given programmes A and B mostly chose A, and those who were presented with C and D mostly chose D (Entman, R. M. (1993), Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm. Journal of Communication 43(4) 51–58.)
Presenting the options in a slightly different way with different wording resulted in people making radically different decisions. This is an example of a cognitive bias — a repeatable irrationality in the way we tend to think and make choices. This particular cognitive bias is called framing (or possibly the pseudocertainty effect), but dozens of them have been identified.
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A while ago I came across a fascinating article entitled ‘Graduates’ Construction Systems and Career Development’ by Valerie Fournier (Human Relations 50(4) 1997). The research used a technique from Personal Construct Psychology called the Repertory Grid to elicit the constructs (mental frameworks) through which graduates viewed themselves in the world of work. Fournier examined the graduates as they started their careers, after six months and then after four years.
She then compared the graduates whose careers had been successful with those who were less successful. She used objective measures of success (i.e. promotions) and subjective measures (i.e. reported career satisfaction).
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