Rethinking the world of work as we know it

Posted on February 27, 2015

The leading international scholarly journal in the field of career counseling, Journal of Vocational Behavior, published as the leading article of its first edition a research paper by Prof Kobus Maree, a B-rated researcher in the Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education. The article addressed the need to rethink existing career counseling theory and praxis.

In his article, Prof Maree explains that the world of work has undergone dramatic changes following the global economic meltdown and related developments over the past few decades.

“The resultant uncertainty, insecurity, work trauma, and feelings of ‘stuckness’ experienced by many employees as the form of work changed from stability to mobility to meet the labour needs of post-corporate societies called for an innovative, adaptive, flexible response from counselors and clients alike,” he said.  

This response included the rethinking of existing career counseling theory and praxis, as well as the design of new strategies, techniques, and assessment instruments (narrative instruments in particular). It also led to a move away from using objective approaches in isolation.

Significantly, this transition coincided with a shift in career counseling toward a focus on subjective aspects of clients' career-life stories.

According to Prof Maree, postmodernism is characterised by global connectedness and networking as well as by impermanence, unrestricted participation at all levels, a disregard for both repressive power structures and uncritical observance of rules, immediacy, and ample allowance for emotion, creativity, and innovation.

“The pendulum has swung strongly toward appreciation for feelings, passion, and freedom of expression, and the sense of being listened to by people at all levels and at all times. Emphasis is placed on encouraging and enabling clients to express their deepest emotions and passions more openly and thereby help them identify deep-seated strengths and motives,” he adds.

Innovative techniques are used to empower clients to reflect on their career and life stories, and reflect on these reflections to initiate self- and career construction through appropriate action and movement forward.

This study confirmed that while change will inevitably impact the career-lives of all workers and prospective workers, it should not be feared or considered insurmountable, thereby leading to paralyzed inactivity.

“Career construction counseling offers a viable and exciting strategy to deal with the effects of change intentionally, actively, and effectively,” Prof Maree points out.  

Prof Maree, an honorary member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, has been invited to deliver a keynote address and present a workshop on how to get published in high impact journals at the Interdisciplinary Scientific Conference, to be held in Cracow, Poland from 15 to 19 March 2015.

The conference aims to meet the urgent contemporary demand for integrating scientists representing seemingly distant fields of knowledge into the successful education of creative, in particular mathematically fit, students. 

- Author Petronel Fourie

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