Career Management Essay

8127 words - 33 pages

Career ManagementIn the developed countries, we have moved a long way beyond times past when most people had "employment" or "jobs" rather than careers. Acareer is often defined as "the evolving sequence of a person's work experiences over time" (Arthur, Hall, & Lawrence, 1989, p. 8). The termevolving sequence tells us that a career is more than just a string of jobs: These jobs are linked together over time and patterned so that we can see a career as a single meaningful entity, for example, "a career in banking," "getting to the top of the organization," or "from hairdresser to salon owner." Careers are cumulative in that experience, skills, and interests developed in one job can be carried over into the next. While not everyone who works is a manager, everyone who works has a career, and for most people, it lasts for many years. This makes careers a very personal and important topic for just about everybody.Arguably, for most of us, the management of our careers is the most important management there is. When we join organizations and contribute to them, we do so with our own welfare in mind. Of course, we are also interested in organizational matters; we ask questions about the organization: What does this organization do? What are its values and culture? Where is it going, in the long term? But these questions are asked from a personal perspective: Does the organization do something that suits me? Are its values in line with mine? In the long term, where will this organization take me? In many cases, we willingly identify with the organization's objectives, mission, and way of doing things, but this is less because we value these intrinsically than because we know that cooperating with the organization will enable us to pay our own bills, meet our own values and needs, and provide for our current lifestyle and development into the future. In short, we join organizations and often commit to them for future-oriented personal reasons-reasons that are connected to our careers.It follows that career management is an important facet of management in general. If individuals are to become and to remain committed to organizational objectives and to effective completion of their work tasks, they have to gain not just immediate rewards but ongoing personal benefits for their careers in doing so. If careers are not managed or are managed badly, they, like organizations, can become aimless, disorganized, and dysfunctional.Another key aspect of career management relates to whether the career is regarded as an individual activity or as part of a collective activity. In some cultures and in some families, careers are seen as an expression of collective will and advantage. Individuals may be expected to cede their control over their careers to wider and more important forces. This was true in some of the former communist and other totalitarian societies where the state controlled important aspects of many careers. It is also true in societies that have a...

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