Throughout my life, there have been many factors and influences that have led me to my current career choices; my personality has been shaped in such a way as to provide me with unique skills and interests suited for that career. In terms of career development, there are several theories that can help me link my personality to my aspirations in career counseling. In this reflection paper, several career development theories are used to evaluate my life and personality to the end of determining my suitability for the field of career counseling.
Donald’s Super’s theory of career development describes a ‘life rainbow’ that takes an individual through unique stages of self-concept and development. The behaviors I developed from childhood to adulthood have been very helpful in preparing me for the skills and temperament I would need as a career counselor. In childhood, I found myself learning more about the world and about myself, establishing deep relationships with parents and friends. I became interested in the way in which people did things; I also saw myself as someone always eager to help. From time to time, my parents would always catch me attempting to help my mother cook or clean, even though I was not developed enough to help to any real extent. This secured my self-concept as a helper, someone who wishes to offer assistance to others. I also managed to find a way to read people very well; I could tell through their words, actions or tone what their state of mind was, as well as their likes or dislikes.
As an adolescent, my helping behaviors were solidified. From a very early age, I wanted to work, to earn money and provide a service to people. I found myself being consulted for advice and other types of assistance; I enjoyed this privilege. As a result, I decided I wanted to help people by offering my counsel on a broader scale. During my early adult years, I started reducing my own leisure time in order to make room for helping and advising people. Because work and careers were a fascination of mine, I knew I could feel comfortable advising others on what career paths they should take.
During my adult years, I continued to pursue my desire to become a career counselor, including taking college courses in order to satisfy those goals. Finding jobs in the career counseling field permitted me to further develop my own sense of confidence and self-assurance in the field, demonstrating my own competence in these abilities. This has led to an incredible amount of career satisfaction, as I am able to further my own self-concept that I am a helper and advisor.
According to the trait and factor theory, people on the whole have their own set of traits based on their personality and interests, all of which demonstrate their potential. Matching these traits to the factors that go into performing a particular job is a great way to identify which job is ideal for that person. Given my particular traits, I feel as though I am a perfect candidate for a career in career counseling. According to O*Net, Career Counselors take a very particular set of skills. Active Listening, in which the counselor can pay attention to and properly synthesize what others are saying, is vital, as well as good speaking and critical thinking skills. Complex problem solving, writing, and decision making are also vital factors. Careeronestop.com lists oral/written expression and comprehension among the chief factors required for a career counselor, as well as deductive reasoning.
Given these factors, and my own traits, I feel as though my skill set would be well suited to career counseling. I have honed my active listening skills throughout my life, paying full attention to what others are saying to me, and figuring out what they are attempting to communicate to me. I also possess oral and written skills adequate to the job, allowing myself to communicate completely and in great detail with the people that I counsel. My decision making skills permit me to come to a choice regarding what career would be both financially and emotionally ideal for those I counsel, and my critical thinking skills would allow me to take what I know and am told about a person in order to find that perfect job.
According to the John Holland theory of types, there are six basic personality traits that people can have which can be matched to certain careers. These six traits are Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional, and they help to determine which career is best for the person who has some of these traits. My Holland Code would be SCR (Social, Conventional, and Realistic); this particular combination makes for a perfect personality template for a career counselor.
Someone with a Social personality trait is very cooperative and supporting, working closely with others to help and nurture them. This skill set is well-suited to a career in counseling; much of the energy required in counseling is helping others and supporting them to choose the right career. Conventional personality types are very precise and organized, paying great attention to detail; this ability to be precise and detailed while I am assessing potential careers for a client would be very helpful. Being Realistic means that I am very physical, practical and pragmatic, I am a ‘doer.’ Career counseling requires a great deal of pragmatism; I have to steer clients toward careers that would not only be emotionally fulfilling, but would be doable and allow for the client’s financial stability.
According to the Myers-Briggs personality profile, I have an ESTJ (Extraverted Sensing Thinking Judging) personality. As a result, I am focused on order and organization, allowing myself to supervise and help people as I encounter them. I gain a great deal of satisfaction from serving and being responsible for others, especially if they are thankful for my help. My immense level of responsibility and adherence to the rules allows me to be passionate while still maintaining a sense of orthodoxy. Being an extroverted thinker permits me to make a decision quickly and adhere to it. I can also manage and advise people while still feeling a reasonable sense of authority regarding those choices.
According to Krumboltz’ social learning theory, behavior and cognition coincide in order to make accurate career decisions. Our environment and education plays a large part in our career decision; in my case, I grew up with an extremely loving, generous family in a calm neighborhood, permitting me the opportunities to freely explore my desires and aspirations. My learning experiences were often very positive, and they served to teach me the value and satisfaction in teaching and helping people to make good decisions. Everything from giving a childhood friend a good piece of advice to following my own intuition to an advantageous result helped me trust my own feelings on the world and how to navigate it. I often approach a task by setting a clear goal, searching for the ideal final result (in this case, finding the perfect job for someone). Once that goal is set, I resolve myself to achieve that goal no matter what, learning everything I can to facilitate that end for my client. Finally, my cognitive and behavioral skills would come in quite handy for a career counseling career. Through my communication with others, I can accurately determine what they want and how to get that to them; I am very interested in the well-being of others, which makes me all the more committed to their satisfaction and happiness.
Given the numerous counseling theories I have learned, the Holland theory of types is the discipline that best describes my personality and suitability to my career. I feel as though those six basic personality types provide me with a simple, straightforward means of determining the essential components that constitute my personality. By learning that I am social, conventional and realistic, I am better able to determine just what it is about me that makes my ideal job so perfect. I want to become a career counselor; discovering that my social skills, my level of observation and organization, and my pragmatism are well-suited to that job is a great comfort, and gives me great confidence that I can excel in that field. With these personality traits in mind, it is clear that my skills and interests are best suited to the field of career counseling.
Holland. (1973). Choices: a theory of careers. Prentice-Hall.