Thursday, May 30, 2013

"Heeding the Call of the Heart" in One's Career

I'm so excited by a just-published book I helped put together! It is called Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace. It is the first book to bring together the research literature on meaningful work, work purpose, and calling, yet it was created to provide practical strategies for finding meaning and purpose in the workplace, whether you're a worker, owner, manager, leader, coach, or counselor. In each blog entry, I will highlight one of the chapters from the book.

The first chapter addresses how career counseling and vocational psychology can be an effective tool for transforming our clients' work lives.

Eminent vocational psychologists Paul Hartung and Brian Taber illustrate how to apply Savickas' Career Construction Theory to career counseling. This theory tries to help people identify and breathe life into the role their careers play in their life stories. It is impossible for most of us to imagine not having to work most of our lives, and it is an immensely appealing idea to create a life story that includes a career that feeds our spirits---a life-career story, as it is called in this chapter.

With that noble aim in mind, Hartung & Taber discuss how people construct their life-career stories taking into account individual differences, unique developmental trajectories, and authorship of their career direction. Because Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace is designed to be a practical guide as well as an authoritative review of scholarly work, several strategies for helping our clients author their life-career stories. Here's just one example of the 9 specific practice recommendations shared by Hartung and Taber.

>To help your clients make meaningful career choices, work with them to clarify their sense of self by focusing on their personal meanings in life, including the themes that emerge across pivotal life events.

I like this example because it happens to fit the theory of meaning that is most compelling to my eyes. I also like it because this strategy is Tested by practice, Derived from theory, and Supported by research. I hope this whets your appetite because, like all of the scholars who contributed to this book, Hartung and Taber generously share their expertise, and key ideas for achieving purpose and meaning in work. For more on career construction and Heeding the Call of the Heart, check out their academic research, and check out our book