Posts Tagged career development learning

The ‘High Five’ of career development

Virtual Five! by Melanie Allan

Up high! Down low! Too slow!

Yesterday I attended the NICEC workshop on the Blueprint for Career Development. This is a competency framework for career management skills that was originally developed in Canada and has been adopted by Australia and some European countries. I don’t have time to blog about the Blueprint properly at the moment so watch out for a future post on it. In the meantime, you might want to take a look at Tristram Hooley’s presentation from the workshop and poke around on the Australian Blueprint website.

For this post I wanted to refer to something that is mentioned, almost in passing, in the Blueprint material — the ‘High Five of Career Development’.

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The fun theory

A while ago I was running a workshop on career choice. After we had explored all the various things that one should be doing to increase one’s chances of making a good decision, one of the participants looked at me with a rather glum expression and said ‘That sounds like too much hard work! Even though I know I should do it, I’m not sure I will. It’s not much fun.’

I had to agree with her. The way I was presenting it made it sound really onerous, responsible and worthy. Surely, there must be another way!

OK, The Fun Theory isn’t a career theory, it’s not really a theory at all. It’s a competition and marketing initiative by Volkswagen which involves coming up with ideas to encourage people to do responsible things (such as recycling and doing more exercise) by making them more fun. See the video below for a way to get people to take the stairs rather than the escalator.

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Is ‘management’ the wrong word?

Careers may just be too complex to 'manage'

At a recent workshop I was running for medical educational supervisors we were discussing why the provision of careers support for doctors is now such a big issue. In the words of one of the consultants: ‘You used to be able to bum around for ages as a house officer until you worked out what you liked and disliked. Now you have the two years of your foundation programme and you are expected to know enough about the whole of medicine to make a sensible decison about your entire future.’ This was backed up by stories from the consultants about their haphazard career paths, full of wrong turnings, unexpected discoveries and random opportunities.

I find it somewhat ironic, therefore, that one of the most commonly used phrases in this new career support is ‘career planning’. ‘Planning’, with its implication of being able to predict, decide and control the future seems an inappropriate concept for many of the foundation doctors I have met. Even the fairly self-contained world of the medical profession is subject to social and technological changes that see the waning of certain specialties and the rapid growth of new ones, so that it is hard to predict what an area of medicine will look like by the time you are qualified to practise it.

Outside of medicine, I have noticed that we tend to use the term ‘career management’, which, if slightly less prophetic than ‘planning’, still presents the assumption of control. Of course the currently correct terminology for what we do is ‘career development learning‘, but surely we don’t call it that in front of the students! So what do we call it? Is ‘career management’ the right phrase to use?

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