Katie Dallison

Winemaker, dairy farmer, MSc co-ordinator, genetic scientist, technical sales rep, kiwifruit orchardist, student recruitment adviser, deli assistant and menswear store manager. Just a few of the job titles I've had in my life. My journey has brought me to where I am today, a careers adviser for The Careers Group - long trip for a kiwi girl from Whakatane! And I love it. I've always had a love/hate relationship with careers theories - I find them really interesting and useful to base my practice around them, but some models drive me mad with their highly academic and impractical focus. I see participating in this blog as a great development tool, to really challenge myself (mostly trying to keep up with David and his mad blogging)! Enjoy.

One theory to rule them all?

It is generally accepted that there is no ‘one’ right theory that suits every client, so how can a practitioner make some sort of sense out of the multitude of approaches that exist within the modern academic careers world (apart from following our blog of course)?  Enter Patton and McMahon (1999) Systems Theory Framework of Career Development (STF).

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Trust your audience

I wanted to share with you a eureka moment I had recently while running a workshop with a group of speech and drama PhD researchers.  It was a full day workshop on career planning and we were reaching the dreaded dead zone (after lunch but before afternoon coffee) and moving into the discussion on networking.

Networking seems to invoke fear in the hearts of many, the idea of self-promotion really does go against all things English (and most other English-based cultures).  I got the conversation going by running the following clip:

This clip always leads to great conversations (and usually a lot of laughing) about awkward networking situations that people have experienced.

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Anchors aweigh!

No, it’s not International Talk Like a Pirate Day (that’s Sept 19th for any of you that are interested) but recently I’ve been asked to be a participant in a study based around career anchors.  A PhD student from New Zealand is looking into how Schein’s Career Anchor model (1975), may now be expanded and updated.

Edgar Schein‘s model proposed that everyone has a different set of values and qualities which they employ with regards to their work life.  These values make up their career anchors. A better understanding of one’s motivations (or limits) will lead to a clearer self concept and this will facilitate better career choices.

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Classics – Community Interaction Theory

Bill Law

Bill - a Law unto himself

Bill Law is a bit of a guru when it comes to careers theory — he developed the DOTS framework which is used frequently in careers education. He even has his own website www.hihohiho.com and twitter following.   He constantly argues for a more radical, activist perspective on careers guidance and education, embracing complexity and reforming careers to also consider life-role related learning.  More recently he’s done some work on storyboarding as David has mentioned in his earlier post.

But going back to the classics — in 1981, Law introduced his Community Interaction Theory.  He suggested that some of the most influential factors in career choice relate to events which occur in the context of ‘community interaction’ between the individual and the social groups of which she or he is a member. If theories such as Circumscription and Compromise talk about the impact of society pressures on our decision making process, Community Interaction focuses on some of the mechanisms by which this takes place.

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Are you like a quilt?

Now, which square do I want to be today?

Now, which square do I want to be today?

During my training I remember coming up against a few theories that I really struggled with. Mostly because they seemed to me to be overly academic and I couldn’t see how they could be implemented effectively in my everyday work. One of these theories was Integrative Life Planning (ILP).

ILP, developed by L. Sunny Hansen in the late 1990s uses a quilt as a metaphor. The quilt is composed of many different levels, all telling their own story but also weaving together to represent a person’s whole life. This quilt can be understood on three levels:

  • Global world where there are dramatic, overarching changes
  • The career world, where profession knowledge and practice are changing
  • The ILP model itself, where a person’s world is ever changing

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Is helping too fluffy?

As a newly qualified adviser, I was really interested to look into the differences between the types of training I received on my New Zealand course and what the majority of my colleagues go through on UK courses.  There were many!  Apart from never hearing mention of DOTS (sacrilege I know!) a major part of our course was spent exploring guidance models and what actually takes place within a guidance discussion.

Much was based on Robert R Carkhuff‘s work regarding helping models.  The basis of his developmental model for helping is based around a 4 stage process explained below.  I’ve used examples from a careers discussion to help put it in perspective.
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