There are myriads of career models and theories that seek to define career development. However, this field has proved to be complex and diverse hence it has not been fully explored. It is true to observe that from the several theories which have been formulated, none has been able to sufficiently describe career development. Needless to say, career development is a mutually inclusive discipline that requires a multidisciplinary approach. Indeed, this is the reason why all the descriptions of career development are depended on one another. In order to offer a comprehensive study of the various theories on career, this paper offers a report on research findings, description as well as analysis of career development of an admired
manager. Mr. Mathew has been in human resource management for over thirty years now. I have been able to follow his transitions in the three companies he has worked for.
Definition of career
Mr. Mathew is the current human resource manager at Andron Stainless Corporation. He happens to be one of the professionals who I really admire and often desire to emulate. For instance, he is a highly influential person I have ever known and as such, I would like him to be my role model. Mathew has grown in his career over a considerably lengthy period of time. It is true that he has been changing employers, but has indeed realized some significant development as a human resource manager in various organizations. He concurs with McMahon and Patton (2001) that career is the changing process of obtaining diverse working experience in an individual’s professional life.
On his major principle Mathew noted that “I believe that nobody is an expert in any career field. Someone needs to gain the skills needed in career development even as he or she executes various roles and duties at place of work.” Mathew was quick to respond during my interview. This ideology concurs with Sharf’s (2009) definition of career who posits that the latter is a life-long channel of transformation towards improvement. Sharf (2009) also describes career as a consistent achievement of self realization. His description of career as an organized pattern is definitely most reliable since it depicts career as an assortment of gainful experiences and adventures which calls for continuous decision making at the work place. This description is typical to that of Jackson (2000) who views career development as an on-going process with no definite end.
Objective and subjective aspects
Mr. Mathew reveals that his career objective entails the advisory, representative as well as the compliance roles that he has to execute from time to time. He has summed up his post graduate qualifications into a managerial role given that he is a personnel manager. He is an academically qualified manager who is always ready to assist in the human resource chores in his organization to utilize his full potential. According to Lent and Brown (2005) on the managerial role of personnel managers, Mathew’s office has is basically tasked with a duty to offer advice, represent junior management staff and ensure the compliance of the whole labor force.
Mathew has an appealing objective approach in his career. He regards his career as an entity which he has been learning continually at his workplace. He is keen to advocate for Brown’s (2002) idea when he argues that, “career is a modeling done in a person by the network of organizations where an individual is working with.” In addition, both the institutional and informal relationships also model individuals in their career development. It is notable that his point of view is quite acceptable given that during career growth and development, an individual is continually and progressively modified. The pursuit for income, influence and prestige in career development are evident in Mathew’s case.
Form of career
Mr. Mathew has embraced the reality that being a professional career maker gives an individual a better platform for developing the career itself. Professional carrier makers often choose to build their jobs into a lifetime career. He notes that he has chosen to do his job as a systemic profession. This has helped him to earn a better pay as an employee, to be highly respected as well as to be socially successful. In spite of his evident success as a human resource manager, this job has numerous possibilities of failure. As a result, the human resource manager has chosen to exercise ultimate professionalism. Studies indicate that the noble job of personnel management has proven to be a transient one (Bright & Pryor, 2011).
Mr. Mathew has also incorporated bureaucracy in his career. He is a leader who leads by allowing his followers to exercise their liberty. He makes decisions autonomously and stands tall above the norms of such a conventional career. It is clear that the actions taken at the different offices of human resource management entail a great aspect of bureaucracy and leadership command. According Brown (2002), the duty of professionals is well accomplished if they are given the chance to enjoy as well as apply bureaucratic insulation. Mr. Mathew defended his bureaucratic actions and decisions by noting that “I know who I am because I have chosen to be.”
Career development-hindrances and promoting factors
The field of work that has been chosen by Mr. Mathew has grown more competitive as the business world becomes more dynamic. The human resource management career is a demanding role which many people have failed (McMahon & Patton, 2001). Several factors have worked towards the successful career development of Mr. Mathew. The fact that he has been keen to stay motivated by hanging out with like-minded professionals has really helped this human resource manager. He has been ensuring that his thirst for growth does not get quenched by any challenges. The constant motivational seminars and conferences he’s attended have been very resourceful to him. Mathew has also grown career wise as result of working with different organizations. The decision to change organizations in a bid to pursue higher levels in one’s career is highly helpful for professionals to gain value. It is also worth to note that working in different organizations provides an opportunity for an employee to acquire the much needed experience as well as work ethics.
On the other hand, there are three factors which have hindered his growth and development. For example, an array of job distractions due to different organizational cultures has been quite challenging to him. Secondly, stereotyping in his decision making strategies is also a factor which acted as a setback in his ability to make specific, measurable, attainable and realistic goals. Thirdly, there is a period of time when he was still young in his career that really worked against him since he was not conversant with best practices in his field of study. Mr. Mathew attributes his career development to his willingness to read about top executive managers. He does not have a specific mentor, but he notes that literature on management has been very useful to him.
Factors which impacted Mathew’s career choices
The career choices made by Mr. Mathew have a foundation on his vocational personality. His vocational achievement has been drawn from deep desire to retain the job satisfaction which he is currently enjoying in the human resource management career. It is clear that he has chosen a career which reflects his entire personality. The many movements he has made to work in other organizations are compatible with his personal desires. Mr. Mathew revealed that he likes being realistic, investigative and social. These are inherent traits which he has never wanted to lose away. Lent and Brown (2005) note that the management career is unique in sense that that it is not directly influenced by an individual’s personality. Human resource management has been an appropriate career for Mr. Mathew who is able to work with people, information (ideas and theories) as well as machines.
Mr. Mathew’s career cannot be isolated from the use of metaphor as a study method of describing his working life and organizational operations. His career can be attributed to that of an “experience tree”. This can be well explained in terms of being self confidence, fearless, dynamic, Intellectual assimilator and a peaceful conqueror. He happens to be a leader who is able to bring the desired change without awakening resistance. This is a very appropriate career strategy to emulate in my early career development. Notably, Mr. Mathew who is also our personnel manager is an influencer who develops quality relations with others with the aim of exercising his authority in decisions that are being made on a daily basis. In relation to personal career pursuits, Mathew’s personality career is very authentic. This is an approach I would desire to adopt in the event that I eventually become a human resource manager either in my personal organization or at any other place of work.
One of the most resourceful lessons that I have learnt as a result of interacting with Mr. Mathew is the realization that success in this type of career is a process and not an event. It is a process that professionals have to learn throughout their working life. Mathew observed that “Career development keeps on progressing even after a person is no longer an active professional in the field.” He also advised me that “young professionals need to develop good relations with experienced folks in their various career fields.” I have resolved to interact closely with Mr. Mathew who has proven to be an excellent career mentor to me.
In summing up, it is important to mention that the analysis of metaphors gives deeper and more integrated insight on the concept of career development as a life time process. Metaphors largely assist in enhancing an effective understanding of every aspect that is being discussed as it is the case with Mr. Mathew who is a human resource manager. In general, metaphors are invaluable tools for describing career in a manner that it can be easily understood. Moreover, career development is well appreciated if individuals are allowed to share their opinions.
Career experiences make sense if they are analyzed according to the theory of career. If all assumptions are explained using basic details, both the past and present occurrences can be well understood. This gives a chance for those who are still young in their careers to make valid decisions by predicting their possible career outcomes. The career theory is therefore a reliable channel which expands the knowledge of both job seekers and employees.
Bright, J. & Pryor, R. (2011). The Chaos Theory of Careers: A New Perspective on Working in the Twenty-First Century. New York: Taylor & Francis Publishing.
Brown, D. (2002). Career Choice and Development. Virginia: John Wiley & Sons.
Jackson. (2000). Career development. Washington: CIPD Publishing.
Lent, R. & Brown, S. (2005). Career Development and Counseling: Putting Theory and Research to Work. Toronto: John Wiley & Sons.
McMahon, M. & Patton, W. (2001). Career Development Programs: Preparation for Lifelong Career Decision Making. Georgia: Aust Council for Ed Research.
Sharf, R. (2009). Applying Career Development Theory to Counseling. New York: Cengage Learning.