A career is an individual’s journey through learning, work and other aspects of life. There are
a number of ways to define a career and the term is used in a variety of ways.
Definitions and etymology
Career is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person ‘s “course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)”. In this definition career is understood to relate to a range of aspects of an individual’s life, learning and work. Career is also frequently understood to relate to the working
aspects of an individuals life e.g. as in career vwoman . A third way in which the term career is
used to describe an occupation or a profession that usually involves special training or formal
education, and is considered to be a person’s lifework. In this case “a career” is seen as a
sequence of related jobs usually pursued within a single industry or sector e.g. “a career in law” or
“a career in the building trade”. The etymology of the term comes from the French word carriere (“road, racecourse”) which, in turn, comes from the Latin word “(via)
cararia” (track for wheeled vehicles) which originated from the Latin word carrus” which means “wagon”.
By the late 20th century, a wide range of choices (especially in the range of potential professions )
and more widespread education had allowed it to become possible to plan (or design) a career: in
this respect the careers of the career counselor and of the career advisor have grown up. It is also not
uncommon for adults in the late 20th/early 21st centuries to have dual or multiple careers, either
sequentially or concurrently. Thus, professional identities have become hyphenated or hybridized
to reflect this shift in work ethic. Economist Richard Florida notes this trend generally and more
specifically among the ” creative class “.
According to Behling and others, an individual’s decision to join a firm may depend on any of the three factors viz. objective factor, subjective factor and critical contact.
Objective factor theory assumes that the applicants are rational. The choice, therefore, is exercised after an objective assessment of the tangible benefits of the job. Factors may include the salary, other benefits, location, opportunities for career advancement, etc.
Subjective factor theory suggests that decisionmaking is dominated by social and psychological factors. The status of the job, reputation of the organization and other similarfactors plays an important role.
Critical contact theory advances the idea that a candidate’s observations while interacting with
the organization plays a vital role in decision making. For example, how the recruiter keeps in
touch with the candidate, the promptness of response and similar factors are important. This
theory is more valid with experienced professionals.
These theories assume that candidates have a free choice of employers and careers. In reality the
scarcity of jobs and strong competition for desirable jobs severely skews the decision making
process. In many markets employees work particular careers simply because they were forced
to accept whatever work was available to them.
Additionally, Ott-Holland and colleagues found that culture can have a major influence on career
choice, depending on the type of culture.
When choosing a career that’s best for you, according to US News, there are multiple things to
consider. Some of those include: natural talents, work style, social interaction, work-life balance,
whether or not you are looking to give back,whether you are comfortable in the public eye,
dealing with stress or not, and finally, how much money you want to make. If choosing a career
feels like too much pressure, here’s another option: pick a path that feels right today by making the best decision you can, and know that you can change your mind in the future. In today’s
workplace, choosing a career doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stick with that line of work for
your entire life. Make a smart decision, and plan to re-evaluate down the line based on your long-term objectives.