The Dynamics of Interesting Careers -- 64 Games that Your Life and Work are and 64 Ways to Play Those Game Well from People Having Superb Careers
16 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 1, 2004
Research Questions -- Research Question 1: Whose Careers Are Most Interesting: Who are the people having the most interesting careers? What makes their careers interesting? Research Question 2: How Do People Create Interesting Careers: What do people do that makes their careers more interesting than careers of others? Research Question 3: Do People Achieve Interesting Careers By The Same Overall Means: Do people with interesting careers share a significant number of steps and means for making their careers interesting ones? Research Question 4: Are Careers Outside Of Business And Large Organizations Different: If we look beyond business and large corporations do we find more interesting careers than there? Why?
The Sample -- This is a study (questionnaire and interview) of 150 people nominated as having “very interesting careers” by 315 eminent, highly accomplished, nominators distributed across 63 strata of society (5 for each stratum).
The Analysis -- Large, well ordered, categorical models of the components of such careers not found in less interesting ordinary careers were built, resulting in fractal concept models. These categorical models present dimensions of “interesting” careers both self-reported by the 150 nominees and other-reported by the 315 nominators as not found in ordinary careers. The models constitute a map of phenomena to be investigated later causally. At least mention by 12 nominees was required for all items included in the models presented here.
Ten Components Ten Models -- The ten types of career components induced from subjects in the above way are organized causally in a path model at the end of the article and six hypotheses of evolution among relations on that model as “interesting” careers develop (suggested by subject responses to research instruments) are mentioned on that model.
Overall research Method -- Method 1: Improve Career Research Using Feldman’s Recommendations: Apply all 8 of Feldman’s published recommendations about how to fix what is wrong with usual career research. Method 2: Focus On Career Skills Not Just Career Interests: This is one of Feldman’s recommendations--here we emphasize career skills found shared among 150 people having highly interesting careers (as selected/reported by others).
Fulfilling Feldman's Recommendations -- Feldman in a well written comprehensive review of the current state of career research (2002) recommended moving study of career away from business careers and MBA careers, studying career development changes within individuals as they progress in their careers, examining the role of career skills not just career interests, plotting the interplay of career stages with life stages by investigating extreme misfits between them in certain cases, and looking at careers as coping mechanisms and emotional support havens when family-life decays as a social support mechanism in modern industrial societies. He noted how sample bias in career research thus far (and hence generalizability) could be improved by moving beyond MBA and business career populations, how constructs like age (chronological, subjective, and relative) can be operationalized better when studying career development changes, and how reactions of research subjects to objective career conditions cannot be understood or even investigated if journals continue to reject articles based largely on self report data.
This study fulfills all eight of the attributes of future career research listed above from his call for research improvement (it omits several of his requested improvements, however, due to inevitable limitations of time, resource, and method).
Method 3: Career Extremes Examined: By seeking “most interesting” careers, dimensions not reported by prior research were found, career: types, rules, tools, constraints, topographies, dynamics, approaches, and creativity. In particular, this paper excels at the broad scope of non-business careers it includes and the substantial level of detail of career skills and skill use obtained for its research subjects. Also, by studying “highly interesting careers” extreme conditions, methods, skills, goals, personalities, results, lifestyles were investigated, nearly never encountered in usual publishings of the field of career research. Eight types contents of interesting careers were identified: career types, rules, tools, constraints, topographies, dynamics, approaches, and creativity, Causal relations among them were suggested by the data (though of course not proved). Six ways, suggested by respondents, that relations among these types, taken as career variables, develop through time, stated as hypotheses, close this article.
Results -- 10 Career Dimensions, 6 Hypotheses -- all arranged in a causal diagram ordering, testable by future research. For occupational therapists, young people entering the world of work, and organizations attempting to attract and hold exceptional people, the dynamic contents of “highly interesting careers” offer practical, specific, attainable conditions that already attract and hold such people now in various organizations and good facsimiles or improvements on which could be set up in other organizations.
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