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

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  1. This message relates to the revised assignment brief for those whose module enrolment letter is dated 17/4/13 or later. Registrants of any period are however welcome to read and respond if interested. *Formative assessment activity: ‘Reading’ the career of a public figure* Select one or more public figures that interest you and for which there is some information generally available concerning their career development. Try and use one or more of the key concepts covered in this module to interpret their career development i.e. to take a brief ‘reading’ of their career development. Post your thoughts to the thread in the module forum. Here are some of my reflections on the career development of Boris Johnson to get us started. *Boris Johnson, Mark Savickas and John Holland* It is reported that as a child Boris Johnson suffered from severe deafness and underwent several operations, according to his biographer Andrew Gimson. For a period, he was quiet as a child (Gimson cited in Jack 2012: 9). He also experienced the pain of his parents’ divorce: ”’As Boris was growing up,” says Rachel [his sister], “whenever anyone asked him what he wanted to be, he would answer: ‘World King’”. His mother says, ‘I often thought his desire to be World King was a wish to make himself unhurtable, invincible, and somehow safe from the pains of life – the pain of your parents splitting up.” (Radio Times 2013: 11) These accounts made me think of Mark Savickas’s work on preoccupations, life themes and occupations. Savickas relates preoccupations to felt problems in the person’s experience. He says that occupations can provide a vehicle for the transformation of these felt inferiorities to public success. In Johnson’s case, his more public roles (Occupations) may be read as creative (although not unproblematic) responses to childhood problems (Preoccupations). I think this also helps to illuminate some differences with John Holland’s ideas on personality type. Holland is concerned with/matching/ personality and job role. Savickas, on the other hand, draws our attention to the/ contrasts/ between preoccupations and occupations. Jack, I. (2012) Do you like him? Review of You Can’t Say That: Memoirs by Livingstone, K. London Review of Books [Online] vol. 34 no. 9 pp. 9-12. Available from [Accessed 15 December 2012]. Radio Times (2013) Anyone for Boris? Article by Michael Cockerill in March 23-29 issue, pp. 10-14.
  2. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    I have Chosen Ryanair, CEO Michael O’ Leary, *Micheal O’Leary, Law, Savickas, Cochran, Hodkinson and Super* In terms of Michael O’ Leary’s background, he was born into a relatively wealthy family, his parents ran a successful knitwear business (RTE ,2007).He also received a privileged education, he attended Clongowes, a prestigious boarding school in Ireland, referred to by the BBC “as the Eton of Ireland” (Calder 2006).This reminded me of Law’s Community Interaction, particularly in relation to community as motivation.Furthermore,O’Leary went to the same school as Tony Ryan, the founder of Ryanair, where although they were not close friends, they and their siblings where acquainted. In relation to Role Models and Modeling, His relationship with his Mother and Father who managed a successful business through turbulent economic times made me think about modeling as presented by Savickas and perhaps is a reason behind his desire/energy for success through equally turbulent times. O’Leary’s father not only ran a knitwear business but also a farm and set up a number of other businesses in the 60’s and 70’S in Ireland despite tough economic conditions (RTE,2007).Also, in relation to models, the role of Tony Ryan I believe strikes a chord with Cochran’s theory as as O’leary was impressed with his success but not with his running of a company, suggesting modeling against someone(RTE,2007). I was also struck by what seems to be evidence of Hodkinson’s pragmatic rationality, where O’Leary left a very stable and rewarding career as a Tax Consultant with a reputable company to be his own boss in a sweetshop, which he made into a successful business (Lawson, 2008). This choice of career change would naturally not fit well with ‘technical rationality’. Related to the above I was also interested to note the application of Super’s Exploration stage in Mini Cycles, O’ Leary went through a number of career changes after graduating from University. These were; Accountant to Shop-owner to Adviser to CEO (Lawson, 2008). Also Super’s assertion that people live a life while making a living and this enactment through life space roles is particularly interesting as regards Michael O’Leary, as he has maintained a passion for land and animals from his agricultural background and turned it into a successful Horse breeding hobby/business throughout his many transitions (RTE ,2007). Calder,S. Profile: Michael O’Leary , BBC, 18 August 2006, viewed 2nd July 2013, <>"> Clark, A. The Guardian Profile: Michael O’ Leary, The Guardian, 24th June 2005, viewed 1st July 2013, Lawson,D. ‘Michael O’ Leary: Cheap and Chearful,The Independent , 17th August 2008, viewed 30th June 2013,—cheerful-899783.html RTE (2007),Conversations with Eamon Dunphy, Podcast [online]. Available from <>"> (Accessed June 23rd 2013)
  3. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Thanks for this posting George I like your reflections on Law and community – reminds us how communities influence career all the way across the social spectrum. I also wondered, as a result of this ‘priviliged’ upbringing, what job roles lay beyond Michael O’Leary’s horizons for action – in Hodkinson’s terms? Also liked your comments on modelling against – an important form of influence, and the succession of job-related mini-cycles. Good stuff – interested in hearing others’ views & examples too. Best wishes Phil
  4. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Here’s my attempt at a brief reading of the journalist and author, *Caitlin Moran*, referencing *Hodkinson, Krumbolz, Cochran and Savickas*. Moran refers often to her childhood upbringing and the poverty she felt: ‘Our family got so poor that I was worried that the end of the world was going to come, and I thought we have to earn money’ (Edemariam 2011). In hindsight, she identifies her interest in writing as a ‘way out’ of this: ‘I knew I wanted to write intense things – write until I’d written myself new shoes and new hair and new friends, and a new life away from the inexorably compacting walls of our house’ (Moran 2012: 2). This brought to mind Savickas’ discussion of preoccupations (in this example, poverty and/or social situation) and occupations (in this example, becoming a writer), with Moran’s interest in writing providing a line of movement between a problem and its solution. Similarly, Moran’s claim that she ‘wanted to be rich. It’s best to get rich, then you can do what you want’ (Hunter 1994) is the opposite required for completion referred to in Cochran’s narrative theory, for which poverty is the incompleteness. “Caitlin Moran left school at 11. At 12, she won the Dillons essay competition. At 15, she won the Observer’s Young Reporter award. At 15, she had her first novel published. At 17, she was writing for the Observer and the Guardian. At 18, she got her own column in the Times.” (Hunter 1994). Moran’s early success summarised in the quote above could be an example of Krumbolz’s instrumental learning experience. She is positively reinforced through prizes and financial reward (i.e. a book published and paid employment) and so repeats her writing ‘behaviour’. From Hodkinson’s perspective, this chain of events demonstrates how Moran is changing position in the field of writing by increasing her cultural and social capital, thus influencing her horizon for action. This horizon for action is also likely influenced by Moran’s disposition towards ‘getting rich’ as quoted above. In Moranthology Moran describes her own career options, aged 15 as prostitution, working at a supermarket checkout or becoming a writer (Moran 2012: 1-2). Looking at this in terms of Hodkinson’s horizons for action, Moran’s position in the education field would no doubt have impacted in two ways. Firstly in terms of her lack of formal qualifications (ibid.) and secondly in terms of her knowledge of writing as a profession: “an option I only knew of because that was what Jo March in Little Women, and Mother in The Railway Children had done, when they also fell upon hard times” (ibid). She says of her home-schooled education “I lived in the public library” (Hunter 1994). This is also an example of Cochran and Savickas’ modelling, whereby the role models of Jo March and ‘Mother’ personify developmental pathways. *Reference list* Edemariam, A (2011) The /Saturday interview: Caitlin Moran / (accessed 11/8/2013) Hunter, D (1994)_ INTERVIEW / Atrocious mess, precocious mind: Meet Caitlin Moran, newspaper columnist, television presenter, novelist, screenwriter, pop music pundit . . . and typical teenage slob_, -atrocious-mess-precocious-mind-meet-caitlin-moran-newspaper-columnist-television-presenter-novelist-screenwriter-pop-music-pundit—-and-typical-teenage-slob-1436595.html (accessed 11/8/13). Moran, C (2012) /Moranthology/, Kindle version: Ebury Digital. Any comments and feedback gratefully received. Also my last reference in the above list is for a Kindle edition. I’ve followed the model for a ‘normal’ book, but there is no place of publication given. Is there any official guidance on this? Many thanks.
  5. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Anne Thanks very much for sharing your reading of Caitlin Moran’s career and providing the helpful links from different points in her life. I agree with your points about instrumental learning. I can also see her statement about being rich ‘it’s best to get rich, then you can do what you want’ as a world-view generalisation, in Krumboltz’s terms. I agree with your points about role models too in relation to Cochran. In Hodkinson’s terms, Caitlin’s horizons for action appear to have been an interesting blend of both working class and middle class bohemian. It is stated that she lived in a council house, her father was working class and a musician. Her mother was more middle class and this is perhaps reflected in her speech ‘proper tones’ and choice of reading (Riders, Railway Children and Little Women). This in turn influences her past dispositions (working in a supermarket or writing) and future ideas (living by the sea with an Aga). What do others think? Phil
  6. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Feargal Quinn: (Entrepreneur & Senator) Super, Hodkinson, Krumbolz & Holland Shortly after graduation in 1960 at the age of 24, Quinn travelled in Europe and returned, convinced that the grocery retail industry was on the cusp of a huge transformation. He was determined to be at the forefront of modernizing the Irish retail grocery sector and by November of the same year he had opened his first grocery store which would become the first stepping stone in a hugely successful chain of retail supermarkets which held a significant share of the Irish market until their sale in 2005. (Quinn, 2006) This example brings to mind Super’s theory of vocational development and his work involving individual characteristics and self-concepts. Quinn’s activities in 1960 provide an example of the ‘implementing’ stage; the last step in what Super terms the ‘Exploration Stage’ of the Individual’s career story. Evidence of both the ‘Crystallization’ and ‘Specifying’ stages are evident throughout his adolescent and early adult life where he worked part-time in his Father’s holiday camp and Quinn frequently refers to this as the place and time where ‘ I learned everything about business, but also about life’ (Today FM, 2013) . The emphasis Quinn places on his early background also reminds me of Hodkinson’s concepts of Careership. Quinn’s social and family background suggests that an entrepreneurial urge was ‘embodied’ from an early age and this individual ‘disposition’ dominated his particular horizons for action. There is also some overlap here with Krumbolz work on the influence of environmental conditions and individual learning experiences in making career choices. Quinn’s business philosophy of emphasizing the importance of the customer and empowering members of staff can also be read in terms of well-established world-view generalizations. This is evident in his belief that all members of staff can be fulfilled in their work through promoting trust and giving responsibility to employees. His own work habits and attitude which are embodied in his practice of giving managers small offices and having them spend most of their time on the shop floor is an example of self-observation generalizations and applying task approach skills. It seems clear that Quinn was also going to be an entrepreneur and that growing up within the environment of working in a family business placed him in an ‘enterprising’ model environment as outlined in Holland’s theory. Also, any evaluation of Quinn’s character would firmly label him with the RIASEC types of a social and enterprising individual. References: Quinn, F., Crowning the Customer, (O’Brien Press, Dublin) 4th Edition, 2004.
  7. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Thanks very much for sharing this John I agree that, in Super’s terms, Feargal Quinn’s career 1960 to 2005 can be seen as part of a very long mini-cycle leading from implementation through to disengagement in relation to gocery store management. Senator is another mini-cycle. The grocery business and the holiday camp experiences are clearly inextricably tied up with his wider life. This highlights Super’s work on the importance of roles. Worker, Child (son), Leisurite and Citizen spring to mind here. The importance of values is also highlighted. He has evolved views on fulfilment through work, trust and empowerment. These are also world-view generalisations about career management. It is interesting that each approach you select (Super, Krumboltz, Hodkinson and Holland) highlights a different facet of Feargal Quinn’s career development. Well done. Interested in others’ views. Phil
  8. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    We have now shared postings on 4 public figures: Boris Johnson Michael O’Leary Caitlin Moran Feargal Quinn I make that two entrepreneurs and two journalists/authors, one with a political bent. The thread is going well and providing us with a rich resource. I would now like to encourage you to comment on each others’ postings as well as sharing my own thoughts. This helps to enrich the dialogue and bring in other perspectives. So please don’t hold back – posts can be quite short and informal as well as longer! Phil
  9. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Below are my thoughts on the “Reading” of the career of a public figure. Public figure: Jerry Greenfield Jerry Greenfield is one half of the entrepreneurial partnership that has brought the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream brand to supermarket shelves. Jerry’s career aspirations following his High School Education were to follow a career in Medicine. However a number of events led him away from this initial goal. Two rejections from Medical School forced him to re-evaluate his ambitions. He began to reconsider his ambitions and draw on other experiences including his part-time job as an ice cream scooper and a significant reunion with a childhood friend, Ben Cohen, whom he shared an apartment with after his return to his home city of New York to work initially as a Laboratory Technician. Unlike Jerry, Ben had dropped out of formal education at an early stage had taken up a number of jobs including driving an ice cream delivery truck and learning to produce ice cream on a small scale. With Jerry’s initial career ambitions having been thwarted and Ben moving between various jobs, the two began to consider a business partnership number potential, food-related enterprises (Richards, 2013). In exploring the options, the pair soon realised that up-front equipment investment costs of a food production business were rapidly narrowing their options. Their limited but common experiences of ice cream production and sales, along with the relatively low start-up costs (according to the Daily Telegraph, 2013, this included a $5 fee for a formal ice cream making course), soon made it an obvious choice. The pair agreed to invest an initial $12,000 in an the idea which would be differentiated from larger scale business by seeking a market niche with a high quality product and a strong connection with the local community in the site of their first shop in a Vermont College town where business and tenancy rates were relatively low. This became the starting point for a business which now employs over 440 people and has annual sales revenue of $132 million(Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, 2012). There are obvious points of overlap between Jerry Greenfield’s career and the theory of Planned Happenstance (Mitchell et. al, 1999). The failure to reach the initial goal of a medical career forced an interesting strategy upon Greenfield. This encourages him to become more opportunistic and draw on what he may have initially viewed as his, secondary experiences and strengths in food retail and his own social network, which included Ben Cohen. The pairing of Greenfield and Cohen in itself is interesting as they each come to a similar conclusion regarding their career despite one taking an academic and the other a non-academic routes at the outset of their life journey. Their parallel experiences culminate in both concluding that a partnership in an entrepreneurial food retail environment, which builds on the quality of the produce and signposts links to the consumers own community to promote customer loyalty, is the route they both wish to follow. This decision draws to mind the propositions of Holland’s RIASEC matching analogy with Greenfield having to adopt a Realistic, Investigative and Enterprising attributes and cleverly matching them with his personal Social values that have had the added benefit of encouraging customer loyalty to the Ben and Jerry’s brand. (Holland, 1997) References: Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, Retail Industry (4.4.2012) Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Statistics, Available at: <>"> (Accessed: 5.11.2013). Holland, J.L. (1997) Making Vocational Choices: a theory of vocational personalities and work environments, 3rd edn, Odessa, Florida: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc. Mitchell, K.E, Levin, A.S and Krumboltz, J.D (1999) ‘Planned Happenstance: Constructing Unexpected Career Opportunities’, Journal of Counseling & Development,77, pp. 115-124 [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 5.11.2013). Richards, D. (2013) Ben & Jerry’s – The Men Behind the Ice Cream, Available <> (Accessed: 5.11.2013). Salter, J (2013) Jerry Greenfield remembers starting an ice cream business in 1980,Available at: <>"> (Accessed: 5.11.2013). Posted by Eimear Gallagher
  10. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Good to hear from you. I liked your thoughts on planned happenstance (a theory of career management) and Holland. Good points also on community. B&J’s tacit knowledge of the college community was helpful in marketing and design. See Law & Hodkinson. Inferiority to superiority. Private failure to public success. The work of Adler, Cochran and Savickas is also relevant here. In lectures, Savickas sometimes speaks of ‘from lemons to lemonade’ ie from bitter to sweet. B&J too move from setbacks to success . You’ve got this formative assignment licked Eimear (sorry!). Phil
  11. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Below are my thoughts on the career development of David Dimbleby, BBC TV commentator. He attended private schools in Surrey, including Charterhouse, and studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford where he graduated with a third-class degree. Whilst at university he edited the university magazine Isis, which was then privately owned (Robinson:2009 <>). David Dimbleby joined the BBC as a news reporter in Bristol after leaving university and appeared in network programmes from 1962. David has been the commentator for a wide range of special outside broadcast events for BBC television including the State Opening of Parliament, Trooping the Colour and the Remembrance events at the Cenotaph. He commentated at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, and during the funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and for the BBC’s programmes to mark the Golden Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth in 2002. (BBC:n.d <>). A decisive factor in David’s career is the fact that his father, Richard Dimbleby, was the BBC’s first “news observer” and was known as The Voice of the Nation (BBC:2007 <>). If we consider Law’s community interaction theory and the five modes in which influence occurs, the parental impact on David’s career could be interpreted as considerable. Maybe there were some expectations from family with his father himself acting as a model. With David’s brother, Jonathan, also going into broadcasting and journalism this could have aided as a form of support. As I mentioned earlier, David had a stint of the editor of the student magazine which benefitted from positive feedback. However, if we read a quote from David in 2008, it could be argued that his career was more aligned to Krumboltz and the theory of planned happenstance – exploring areas and reacting appropriately to what opportunities came his way. “He (Dad) wanted me to be a lawyer or a diplomat. But in the end I needed some cash and with freelance journalism you effectively get cash in hand. My first job was as a news reporter in Bristol and paid £3.” (Dimbleby:2008 <>) References Law, B. (2009) Community Interaction and Its Importance for Contemporary Careers-Work. The Career Learning Network. Collins, L (2008) The truth about my father’s death, by David Dimbleby (Accessed 24th November 2013) Robinson, J (2009) David Dimbleby: Ringmaster of our democracy (Accessed 24th November 2013) BBC (n.d) David Dimbleby Accessed 24th November 2013)
  12. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Good to hear your thoughts on DD. I agree with your link to community interaction. The family link is striking as is his statement that his father discouraged him from journalism. Sounds like it remained firmly within his horizons for action (in Hodkinson’s terms). These horizons also appear to be classed. I wonder how many people would think of journalism as a way of earning some quick cash as opposed to, say, working in a bar or in a factory.
  13. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Here are my thoughts on the career of Stephen Fry, in relation to the theories of Hodkinson (2009), Holland (1997) and Law (1981). While growing up in rural Norfolk, Fry says he had no choice but to immerse himself in reading: “Being isolated in the country as a child, having asthma and chronic insomnia, I spent my time just reading and reading. I didn’t have a television in my bedroom; all I had was books and a light!” (Loxley, 2013). This suggested to me something about his dispositions being formed at this early age (Hodkinson, 2009), i.e. viewing the world through the perspectives of others through literature and academic reading. It would have also have influenced his horizons for action; perhaps for example engaging in practical work experience at this stage in his life would have been outside these actions. These horizons for action would have contained within them an Oxbridge education, particularly considering the interactions between fields such as social class and prestigious university education. A departure from a classically privileged education would probably have been outside these horizons for action. By quoting Oscar Wilde, Fry shows some recognition of personality types and how these might relate to work environments, as explored by Holland (1997). “As Oscar Wilde said, if you know what you want to be, you will become it – that is your punishment. If you know you want to be a judge or a soldier or a grocer or a lawyer, you will become one. But if you never know what you want to be, what he calls the dynamic or artistic life, then every day you will be different and that is your reward!” (Loxley, 2013). We can see elements of the artistic type here, and we can identify some congruence between this type and the working life of an actor, writer, comedian choosing his own projects with flexibility and artistic expression. Finally, I identified with Law’s (1981) community theory, particularly in relation to Fry’s apparent need for support and feedback from various communities – his peers, his audiences, the public: “And through all of it he tells us, with exemplary and often excruciating honesty, of his crippling self-doubts, his needinesses, the greed of his addictions, his drive, shallow though he knew it was, for fame.” (Ferguson, 2010). This might also convey something of the expectations that a famous comedian/actor and proclaimed ‘national treasure’ may receive from his various communities. Ferguson, E. (2010) The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry [online] Available at: (Accessed: 22 February 2014) Hodkinson, P. (2009) Understanding career decision-making and progression: careership revisited,Career research and development: the NICEC journal, 21: 4-17. Holland, J.L. (1997) Making vocational choices: a theory of vocational personalities and work environments (3rd edition), Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources. Law, B. (1981) Community interaction: a ‘mid-range’ focus for theories of career development in young adults, British journal of guidance and counselling, 9 (2): 142-158. Loxley, T. (2013) Stephen Fry on QI, religion, knowledge and why Sherlock Holmes was wrong [online] Available at: (Accessed: 22 February 2014)
  14. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Thanks for this post Isabel – illustrates that horizons for action operate across the social spectrum I wonder where the strong drive for fame comes from, perhaps Savickas’ ideas on occupations, life themes and preoccupations help here? I do like the Oscar Wilde quotation – must track it down! Best wishes Phil
  15. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    I would like to reflect on the career of Sir Alex Ferguson focussing on Super’s theory. He grew up in Govan which was then one of the poorest parts of Glasgow and began his working life as shipyard trainee. He described the shipyards as an apprenticeship for life where he learned from older people there and took the attitudes he learned there into his amateur football career before going on to play for Rangers. It was believed that the fact his partner and later wife was a Catholic had an impact on how he was treated by the club and eventually left to go and manage Falkirk. This was where he established himself as a player coach. He was offered the opportunity to move to England to manage Nottingham Forest but turned down the chance because he now had a young family. The following phases could be viewed as exploration as he moved to East Stirling and then St Mirren even though St Mirren was a less successful club but had greater potential. He then went on to establish himself at Aberdeen where they won the European Cup Winners' Cup and he was recognized as one of the best younger managers. At this stage he still saw himself as a socialist and as active in his local community and a financial supporter of the Labour Party. He moved to Manchester where he had to reestablish himself as a leading member of his profession. His family was still central with one son, Darren, playing in his team and another, Jason, who became his agent and caused difficulties for Ferguson when Jason’s activities led to accusations of corruption being levelled, by association, at Alex. He then planned for retirement and believed he had laid out a smooth plan for the club with David Moyes taking over. However this has not yet worked out and Ferguson is still involved with the club and the suggestion is that he is not yet prepared for decline. He has always said that his uncompromising psychological approach was dictated by his upbringing and his experiences in the ship yard. Keavney, L , My first day in the shipyards and how it shaped my life, by Sir Alex Ferguson accessed 10/03/14 Sale, S, Fergie lands £100k-a-day deal as United ambassador... with help from son who champions once vowed never to work with accessed 09/03/14 Ferguson A, Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 2013
  16. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    JFK’s early childhood was beset by illness however in terms of family background ‘the Kennedy’s had everything they needed and more.’ JFK’s father, Joseph Senior was a very successful businessman and encouraged competition between his eight children particularly among the boys. Jack (JFK) was the second child and second son, and competition between him and his older brother Joe was particularly fierce. Jack attended a boarding school in Connecticut called Choate and then entered Harvard University in 1936. His brother Joe was already in Harvard and attendance at an ‘Ivy League’ university made me think of Krumboltz and his influencing factors, one of which is Environmental Experiences which includes family experiences and resources. In terms of ambition Joe was seen as the high flier claiming as a young boy that he wanted to be the first catholic president of the United States of America. Jack did not initially seem to have the same degree of direction however when his father became United States Ambassador to England he ‘developed an interest in European politics and world affairs.’ This made me think of Hodkinson and his idea of ‘Careership’ and how ‘career decision making and progression take place in the interactions between the person and the fields they inhabit.’ Having a father who is an ambassador would have greatly broadened Jack’s ‘horizons for action’. The development of this area of interest also calls to mind Savickas and his notion that interests provide a line of movement between a problem and its solution. While still at Harvard Jack wrote a thesis on why Britain was unprepared for war with Germany, it was eventually published as a book called ‘Why England Slept’. During the Second World War both Joe and Jack joined the navy. Sadly in 1944 Joe died in active service in Europe when his plane was blown up. Up to that point ’Jack had considered becoming a teacher or a writer, but with Joe’s tragic death suddenly everything changed.’ Jack’s father then convinced him to run for congress for Massachusetts which he won in 1946. This made me think of Super’s Mini-cycles/transitions which can lead to new growth, re-exploration and re-establishment. It also shows an individual’s tolerances for a number of different careers and occupations in line with Super. The rest, as they say, is history and we all know how that ended. John F. Kennedy, Presidential Library and Museum Krumboltz, Hodkinson, Savickas, Super
  17. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    *A brief career history for Susie Orbach:* It is reported that Susie Orbach was born just after the end of WWII in North London in 1946 to Jewish parents, a British father and an American mother. Her father was a local MP for the Labour party and her mother a teacher (The Guardian 2009). Although quite private about her childhood, in an interview in 2011, she revealed that her mother wanted to become a lawyer. “She was so naïve . . . She didn't understand that you had to come from the right class.” (The Guardian, 2011). Interestingly, here Susie Orbach articulated a ‘deterministic view’ of her mother’s career in relation to social class and this awareness may have influenced Susie’s view of possible career options as a child. However, Susie, as a post-war baby boomer, was less likely to be affected by social class restrictions in her career choice than her mother. In alignment with Law’s theory, her community, including her two highly educated, working parents, is likely to have transmitted the expectation that extensive education is needed for a successful working career. Susie Orbach acknowledges that her childhood social and familial experiences helped shape her career choice. She had early weight problems and battled with bulimia as a young adult. She once described her childhood as "the classic cliché for the shrink … so miserable I didn't even know how miserable I was" (The Guardian, 2011). These experiences likely influenced her journey through the exploration stage as defined by Super. During an apparent crystalisation phase, she trialed a number of career options; she aborted a degree from the School of Slavonic Studies in London and held jobs in city planning and the law. Susie Orbach later transitioned into women’s studies and finally psychotherapy. When implementing her career choice, she combined these two career fields and became a psychotherapist specializing in women’s issues including treating eating disorders. She established the Women's Therapy Centre with her friend Luise Eichenbaum and over the past four decades has continued as a psychotherapist, but she has also used her career experiences to guest lecture and to write books on the psychology of a woman’s ‘self-image’. The Guardian (2009). Decca Aitkenhead. The G2 interview: Susie Orbach. 11 May 2009. The Guardian (2011) Aida Edemariam. The Saturday interview: Susie Orbach. 26 February.
  18. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Thanks for writing about Caitlin Moran - I adore her so it was great to see her feature here. Her 'How to be a Woman' book is fascinating as well as very funny - we need more feminist career theory (maybe that's my job!) :)I love that her career choice was so simple: prostitute, supermarket worker or writer so she chose the nicest sounding one (thank goodness that this was on the list).
  19. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    Thanks for both these postings Carrie & Hilary. You have stimulated me to post too. I agree with Carrie's point about community interaction and Susie Orbach. MP and teacher parents are likely to have influenced her thinking in many ways. Her comment about coming from the 'right class' is clearly a world-view generalisation in Krumboltz's terms. That line about not knowing 'how miserable I was' is very poignant and eloquent. Both Savickas and Coachran can offer here ways of interpreting movements from incompletion to completion and preoccuaption to occupation. I support the call for more feminist-informed readings of career. Susie Orbach is a heroine of mine and I've recently enjoyed her paper 'Work is where we live'. It's quite relevant to our work as we are also interested in identity, work, self-fulfilment, career problems and so on.
  20. Re: Formative assessment: 'Reading' the career of a public figure
    I am reading Susie Orbach's paper now Phil :) She mentions Desert Island discs interviews - I think this will be a good resource for me to find someone inspiring on whom to do my career reading!