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Posts Tagged ‘purpose’

I recently came across another article of interest to me and my current state of career transition, “Beyond the Self: External Influences in the Career Development Process,” by Ryan Duffy and Bryan Dik (The Career Development Quarterly, Sep 2009).  As implied by the title, the authors explore a number of external factors that affect career decision making, to complement “the influence of an individual’s internal goals, needs, and pursuit of satisfaction”.

Specifically, the authors examine four external influences:

  1. Family expectations and needs
  2. Life circumstances
  3. Spiritual and religious factors
  4. Social service motivation

The first point is certainly a constraining factor in any change of career choice I may make insofar as it impacts work-life balance.  Financial remuneration and retraining costs would also be considerations that relate to this point.

With respect to life circumstances, the authors admit this is a rather broad category that “refers to all of the uncontrollable situations, events, and conditions that occur at an individual and societal level that may constrain career decision making.”  For example, the current economic climate has an obvious bearing on the job market. A change in one’s health status would be another factor that would override any ideal career path one might be envisioning.  While the authors also state that these unpredictable circumstances can be “positive and produce beneficial career outcomes for an individual, such as serendipitous events that lead to better employment”, that generally hasn’t been the case for me, and in any case, one can’t depend on serendipity alone!

I was going to just brush off the third factor as irrelevant but clearly there is something to said for individuals who believe that there is a Divine plan for their lives, including their career which they view as their calling. This sense of an integrated and  transcendent framework for their lives that grants a sense of purpose, mission, and meaning in life would obviously be a powerful motivating and sustaining force. Indeed, the authors note that research has  found “such factors relate positively to desirable career development outcomes such as career decision self-efficacy, career maturity, and job satisfaction”.  Maybe this prodigal son needs to return home …

The last external influence, social service motivation, resonates with me as volunteering has been a very rewarding experience, though I’m not sure I’m quite as altruistic as those whose “desire to serve others may take precedence over other aspects of personal fulfillment.”  At the same time, I have recently considered the possibility of working for not-for-profit organizations that align with my interests and support. Alas, there usually aren’t a lot of openings in these organizations.

At this stage in my life, a desire for growth, purpose and significance are probably the main driving forces behind my restlessness. How to fulfill this desire within the constraints noted here and elsewhere on this blog is still something I’ve not quite figured out yet.

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Unfinished Business

I think the video speaks for itself:

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