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Lifespan-Lifespace Theory: A Comparison of the Career Self-Concept at Two Distinct Stages

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Myia Bennett

on 17 July 2015

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Transcript of Lifespan-Lifespace Theory: A Comparison of the Career Self-Concept at Two Distinct Stages

Participants were asked to rank
the importance of money
to ascertain what value they placed on monetary gain in relation to career choice over their lifespan.
Prevalent Life Roles
Newer Professional (Established/Exploratory)

Most identified "worker" as their primary life role
Interests & Hobbies
Participants were asked about their personal interests and hobbies and their responses were examined to see if there was evidence of implementation in any of their personal life roles or their "worker" life role.
Participants were asked about their perception of work and what meaning their work held for/to them. An individual's perception of work could provide insight into a facet of their personality and their career world view.
Participants were questioned about
job loyalty and job security
. The value that workers place on these has been affected by ongoing changes in the western culture workforce. These effects will impact this facet of individual career self-concept.
Lifespan-Lifespace Theory: A Comparison of the Career Self-Concept at Two Distinct Stages
Newer vs. Older Professional
Newer Professional (Established/Exploratory)

Saw work as a means to an end
Perceived work as a way to provide for family
Newer vs. Older Professional
Newer Professional (Established/Exploratory)

50% of younger professionals ranked money as significantly important and cited money as factor in career choices
Money appeared to be an integral part of career planning
Newer vs. Older Professional
Newer Professional (Established/Exploratory)

Job security is extremely important
Personal loyalty to one company is somewhat important (middle of the road)
Newer vs. Older Professional
Newer Professional (Established/Exploratory)

Most ranked "liking their job" as highly important
Most expressed positive attitudes toward their worker roles and were able to list specific hobbies and interests that they engage in personally, in other life roles
Older Professional (Decline)

Saw work as an outlet for interests & values
Perceived work as a means of expression
Will lifespan stage (Established vs. Decline) have any impact on the interviewees' value of personal time? Participants were asked.
Newer vs. Older Professional
Newer Professional (Established/Exploratory)

Younger professionals were slightly more willing to sacrifice time with family for work than older professionals
Half of the younger professionals reported spending more time preoccupied with work than family
Super believed that ability shaped career self-concept. Participants were asked about ability vs. network and their views on which is more important. Interviewees were also asked about future career plans to ascertain any potential focuses on skill development.
Newer vs. Older Professional
Newer Professional (Established/Exploratory)

50% of newer professionals saw ability as more important than network when planning for career growth
100% of the newer professionals had plans to continue learning
Older Professional (Decline)

The majority of older professionals ranked money fairly low on the scale of importance, citing money as a tool for provision
Money did not appear to be a primary motivator or part of future career goals
Older Professional (Decline)

Job security was ranked as a medium concern for half of the older professionals
Company loyalty was insignificant as all of the older professionals were partially or fully self-employed
Older Professional (Decline)

Most older professionals were unwilling to sacrifice time with family for work
High value was placed on time with family/friends/leisure
Older Professional (Decline)

Half of the older professionals valued network more than ability
100% of the older interviewees were fully or partially self-employed & seemed to value their entrepreneurial abilities
Older Professional (Decline)

Most conveyed the importance of liking their job and an alignment of interests and job roles were present
Many shared that time with family is a dominant interest that they engage in, in their personal life roles
Older Professional (Decline)

Half identified "leisure-ite" as their primary life role
Spouse/Family Member
How is the self-concept developed?

The development of Career Self-Concept is ongoing throughout the lifespan. This idea of a fluid self-concept reiterates the belief that individuals can cycle through different stages and tasks.
The Career Self-Concept
Super purported that successful career development depends on how well an individual can identify and implement their career self-concept.
Life Roles
Super conceptualized individuals to assume different roles over the course of their lifetime. Individuals could have multiple roles simultaneously.
Life Span, Space, Tasks, & Roles
Life Span is compartmentalized into five different phases that "play out" in different theaters or spaces such as school or home. The phases include: growth, exploratory, establishment, maintenance, & decline.
A Comparison of the Self-Concept at 2 Different Lifespan Stages
We decided to take a look at the self-concept at two distinct points over the lifespan: early on in individual career development (the Establishment/Exploratory lifespan stage), and later in career development (the Decline/Maintenance lifespan stage).

We interviewed 10 participants (5 "newer professionals" & 5 "older professionals." The newer professionals fell into either the Exploratory or Establishment stage, and the older professionals fell into predominantly the Decline stage. Of the 10 participants: 5 were Caucasian and 5 were African American, 6 had only a Bachelor's degree, 3 had Master's degrees, and 1 possessed a PhD.

We collected data about the different components that shape career self-concept, and we hypothesized that there would be differences in the ability, interests, environmental influence, and perhaps even values at these two distinct stages of the lifespan.

The following slides will highlight findings regarding some of the differences between these two distinct demographics/lifespan stages.
The Career Self-Concept
Personality, values, experiences, ability, and interests are different components that shape the self-concept. These are all things that might change over time and consequently an individual's career self-concept might look and be implemented differently depending upon current life stage and task. Super viewed awareness and implementation of the self-concept as instumental to successful career development.
Super's 9 Main Life Roles
Life Tasks
Progression over the lifespan can be viewed through the different developmental stages (growth, exploratory, establishment, maintenance, & decline) and through developmental tasks that correspond to the stages.
Super's 5 Life Tasks
Crystallization: can expound or not on each of these.
Counselor Considerations
Progression through the lifespan stages and tasks are not always linear; clients may cycle through the stages

Client awareness of their own self-concept is a crucial component in counseling

Interventions could look differently at different lifespan development & task stages

The self-concept and primary life-roles should influence selected counselor interventions

Culture and subculture are environmental influences that shape the self-concept; potential impact on career decisions should be considered
Specific Interventions
Use of C-DAC in assessment

Life-role salience scales, the Salience Inventory (SI) & use of planning portfolios to increase role salience

Building resiliency and life-role adaptability through coping skill psychoeducation

Setting goals for lifespan task mastery at the client's current lifespan stage

Encouraging and identifying opportunities for real-world work role exposure/experience
Discussion Questions
What are some basic observations about the differences and similarities between the two groups?

What is something (a difference between the two groups) you noticed that you surprised you?

What might interfere with a client's career self-concept implementation?

Which of Super's life roles do you currently identify with and why?

What has significantly shaped your career self-concept? How so?
The Career Self-Concept and all its parts
External factors such as the economy, employment experiences and job role identification, life experiences, culture, & religion shape the career self-concept. Interviewees were asked about environmental influence on their initial career choice and ongoing career choices.
Newer vs. Older Professional
Newer Professional (Established/Exploratory)

Family influenced initial career choice, and ongoing career choices
Economic impact via job loss influences ongoing career choices
Early work experiences impacted career direction decisions
Older Professional (Decline)
Family/Mentors influenced career choice
Early work/military experience influenced perception of career and awareness of opportunities
Economic trends affect entrepreneurial decisions of older professionals
Thank You!
In Summary
Choose two
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