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CE923 Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure

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  1. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Susie Orbach is one of my heros too. I appreciate your feedback on how additional theories/theorists can be used to "read" this career more fully.
  2. *Dame Anne Owers Career Reading* ** * * Anne was the first female Chief Inspector of Prisons and is currently chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission. She is strongly driven by her values and has clearly held views relating to those on the fringes of our society. She grew up in a small coal mining community in the North East of England, and she and her cousins were the first in their family to ever go to University. Anne herself studied history at Girton College, Cambridge and after this, travelled to Zambia to undertake teaching and research into African history. She raised three children and maintained her skills by undertaking voluntary advice and race relations work during this time. Later she joined the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and was appointed as its general secretary four years later. She went on to become Chairman of Christian Aid and was appointed CBE for her human rights work in 2000 and elevated to OBE in 2009. Opportunity and responsibility are key themes in Anne’s narrative. When talking about the fact that she and her cousins went to University, she said it was not that they were especially different from her other family members, but rather that an opportunity had become available to them that was not there before. On a similar theme Anne spoke about her Father. Music and writing were what he truly loved, but he worked as a joiner at the shipyards and collieries. He pursued music with a passion in his spare time, as conductor of the church choir and producer of musical theatres. Anne reflected sadly that had he been born a generation or two later, he may have had other opportunities and his life may have been very different. Super says that we enact our lives in different theatres – home, community, work and education. It seems that community was an incredibly powerful force during Anne’s youth. The Methodist Church to which she belonged formed the structure of her community and most of her social life revolved around the church. When questioned about religion’s rules and punishment, Anne said that she preferred the concept of responsibility. She felt that a small close community creates boundaries and responsibility for its members, and these are two values that she has taken with her into the work theatre of her life. When asked about her career, Anne says “I don’t think of myself as having a career, rather just going from one interesting thing to another that seemed right at the time”. It’s very interesting (and perhaps heartening) that such a highly successful individual describes their career in this way. I suspect that in reality, most of us move from one opportunity to the other that seems right at the time, in the constantly changing scenery in the theatre of our lives. Holland might argue that Anne found these opportunities to be interesting because they were so congruent with their identity and personality type. Krumboltz might add that Anne’s observations about opportunity and her reflection on her Father’s life might have created her world view about the importance of seizing the opportunities that are available to you. When speaking about prison and her interest in restorative justice, Anne commented that “people can do hard work to change the narrative of their lives” In terms of an overall Systems Theory, Patton and McMahon may observe that in the ‘individual’ realm, Anne’s career has been affected by her beliefs, values and interests (moving “from one interesting thing to another”). Moving out to the next layer, we see the following influences: *Family* – Anne speaks many times about her family. She lost her Father when she was 15 and her mother less than ten years later. She had her own children in Zambia after completing her university studies, and accepts that she did this to replace the family that she had lost. *Globalisation* – Anne spent several years living and researching in Zambia and has done a lot of work with migrants once returning to the UK. In the interview she spoke passionately about the number of highly qualified professional people that are forced to leave their own country to arrive in the UK with no profession or social networks, and what this does to them as people. *Community* – Anne believes that community has the potential to provide responsibility and accountability to people. *Political decisions* – In the interview, Anne laments that during the time that she was Chief Inspector of Prisons, the number of inmates rose and that this was influenced by the politics of the time. She felt that the money spent on incarcerating these people would have been so much better spent on preventing them ending up in prison in the first place. She doesn’t say so in the interview, but perhaps this contributed to her move away from that position and to be Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission. I found it very interesting that Anne didn’t mention much the role of gender or age in terms of her life so far. As a woman in her sixties I might have expected some comment on this. She seems instead simply to have absolute confidence that she has the skills to do the work in society that needs to be done, and that she should just roll up her sleeves and get on with it. For this, I find her inspirational.
  3. Thanks for your post Hilary - someone new to me & v interesting Liked all your comments. You make good points about Super and theatres. The overlap between theatres and roles is very clear in her case. I'd add the following: * Values is something Super discusses particularly in relation to the developmental task of crystallisation * There is evidence of an open-ended career management style. This can be linked to Holland's key concept of personal career theory and the career mgmt styles literature. There is also strong emphasis on personal responsibility and hard work. I agree this can also be seen as a world-view generalisation. The question of where that leaves people who 'don't make it' is an interesting one * The loss of father and mother may be seen as preoccupations in Savickas' terms * I agree there are gaps in her account e.g. re gender
  4. Katie Adie is best known for her work as the BBC’s Chief News Correspondent from 1989 to 2003. The assignments she is most often associated with are the bombing of Tripoli (1986) and the Tiananmen Square protestor killings (1989). However, Adie claims that her initial journey into a broadcasting career was down to chance, when she participated in a university radio quiz, after which she went for a meal with the producer and presenter and discussed her career: “They asked what I wanted to do there was a long pause and then I said: ‘what you do looks like fun’. They said: ‘Oh, it’s the best thing ever!’ and that planted the seed”. In this situation, Adie benefited from an unplanned event and we are reminded of Krumblotz’s Happenstance Learning Theory. This normal chance event in Adie’s early life inspired her to explore an area she was curious about and after graduation she became a Station Assistant for BBC radio in Durham. It is reported that Adie was given up for adoption as a baby and although she claims that her childhood was ‘horribly uncomplicated. No basis for a book’, Savickas’ Career Construction Theory would argue that this life theme will have imposed meaning onto Adie’s vocational behaviour. Adie has talked about her early curiosity and interest in ‘digging stuff out’. Becoming a journalist allowed her to do this and in the process attempt to resolve her own issues with her adoption and questions about her past. Inspired by her own experience of adoption, in ‘Nobody’s Child’, her more recent work as an author has allowed her to explore the stories of other people abandoned as children. Adie, K (2012). Nobody’s Child. Hodder & Stoughton. Dorset Magazine (2013). ‘Helen Stiles meets new Dorset dweller Kate Adie’. Available from [Accessed 06/08/14] The Telegraph (2005). Article by Elizabeth Grice. Available from [Accessed 06/08/14]
  5. Thanks for this posting Bianca I agree the quiz & meal sound like associative learning experiences in Krumboltz's terms. The experience of adoption may be connected with public roles. It is here that Savickas's key terms of preoccupation, life theme and occupations are helpful. Digging stuff out may relate to a life theme. We would then have to square Kate Adie's statement that her childhood was uncomplicated, with it providing a preoccupation, a felt experience of inferiority, hurt or incompleteness. Interested in others' views.
  6. *J.K Rowling Career Reading: Law, Holland, Super and Cochran* J.K Rowling (J.K) began writing stories for her sister and dreaming of being an author from a very young age; ‘my life's ambition has been to write full time... This is all I have wanted from the age of six’ (J.K cited in Feldman 1999). This brings to mind Super’s Growth stage whereby fantasies and interests play a big part, are very clearly defined here by J.K. Although the interest remained throughout her adolescence she did not fully have the opportunity to engage in the exploration stage as she decided to take a place at Exeter University, studying French and Classics. Here we see Law’s work on community interaction become particularly significant in her decision making process, as her parents had certain expectations and pressures which swayed her to make this decision; ‘That was a bit of a mistake…I think I was influenced by their belief that languages would be better for finding a job’ (The Scotsman 2002). J.K also mentions in an interview that her subsequent roles using her language skills in a secretarial capacity were ‘totally unsuited’ (The Scotsman 2002) as she mentions her disorganised nature. J.K more strongly aligns to Holland’s ‘artistic type’ which typically avoids highly ordered or repetitive tasks, and conversely does not align to the ‘conventional type’ which Holland defines as being able to follow a set plan, and being meticulous as you would expect a secretary to be. As these two types are the furthest away from each other on Holland’s hexagonal diagram this shows that that these two types are not consistent, and that she has a highly differentiated, or peaked interest in one particular type. She goes on to work teaching English as a foreign language (perhaps indicating a social type), but remains committed to pursuing writing throughout. Eventually J.K disengages with this role and begins a new mini-cycle wholly focussed on writing. J.K begins to crystallise her ideas, and eventually establishes herself as a successful writer and maintains this to this day. One could also say that with the end of the Harry Potter series J.K had to complete another small mini-cycle to disengage with that role, as it was such a massive part of her life, plan to move onto new projects, including script-writing, and launching charities, as well as assuming the role of a ‘new’ author, taking on the pseudonym of Robert Gabraith to launch her new series of novels. This brings to mind Cochrans’ work casting yourself as a certain character in your narrative. J.K then had to re-establish herself as an author in this new context, moving around the mini-cycle *Reference List* Feldman, R (1999) The Truth about Harry, School Library Journal, vol. 45 no. 9 p136-39. Available from [Accessed 08 July 2014]. The Scotsman (2002) Harry and me. Available from [Accessed 08 July 2014].
  7. Fascinating post Kimberley - apologies for the dealy in responding I like your use of personality type and mini-cycle to interpret JKR. There is an online video of her speaking on the 'Fringe Benefits of Failure' at Harvard She comes across very well - intelligent, funny. Calls to mind Savickas and the movement from private failure to public success.