Career Self-Management


It is recognised within Occupational Psychology that a shift in career management has taken place from an organisation-led process to an employee-led process (McKinley, 2002). Previous rigid career structures have conceded to flexible and boundaryless career pursuits, increasingly controlled by individual employees (Briscoe & Hall, 2006). This means that career self-management has become a necessary skill for any modern-day employee to master.

This shift in career management potentially places increased pressure on employees to self-manage successful careers. This can be impactful on self-identity and even our social positioning (Ahn et al, 2017). It is worth remembering when embarking on any career self-management, that career success is measured in at least two important ways. The first is as a subjective measurement. This means that an individual will measure his/her own career outcomes from a self-reflective position (Stebbins, 1970). The second is as an objective measurement. This means that an individual will gauge his/her own career outcomes from socially recognised career achievements such as promotion (Barley, 1989).

To achieve either form of career success, it is necessary for the individual to take control of his/her own career in order to efficiently manage the direction it takes (Brown & Lent, 2016). At UMi Psychology, we aim to provide further information on how to do this over the next few posts, starting with the importance of self-efficacy.

References for this post

Ahn, J., Dik, B. & Hornback, R. (2017).  The experience of career change driven by a sense of calling: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 102, pp 48-62.

Barley, S. (1989). Careers, identities, and institutions: the legacy of the Chicago School of Sociology. Cited In Arthr, M., Hall, D. & Lawrence, B. (Eds). Handbook of career theory (pp. 41-65). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Briscoe, J. & Hall, D. (2006). The interplay of boundaryless and protean careers: Combinations and implications. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 69, pp 4–18.

Brown, S & Lent, R. (2016). Vocational Psychology: Agency, Equity and Wellbeing. Annual Review of Psychology. 67, pp 541-565.

McKinley, A. (2002). Dead Selves: The Birth of the Modern career. Organization articles, 9 (4), pp 595-614.

Stebbins, R. (1970). Career: The Subjective approach. The Sociological Quarterly, 11 (1), pp 32-49.