The 2009 annual review of literature indicates that 100 years after its founding in the United States, career counseling and development remains a vital, vibrant, valid, and viable profession in service of people across a diverse human landscape. Collaborative efforts of international partners on virtually every continent signify the growth and importance of the field on world-wide scale. Consideration in 2009 of the field’s pioneers reminds us all about the counseling profession’s roots in the vocational guidance movement and in the subspecialty of career counseling. Returning to those roots seems imperative for all counselors who, regardless of specialty, in today’s turbulent world must realize and help buffer the affects of work stress, strain, and job loss on the mental health of individuals, couples, and families.
A robust 2009 literature addressed a host of professional issues ranging from work and well-being to contextual factors of race, class, and gender as they affect vocational exploration, choice, entry, adjustment, and transition. This literature also innovated core theoretical models and concepts to better comprehend career development. Life designing as a new paradigm for theory and practice, adaptability as the desired career decision-making outcome replacing decidedness, emotionality as central to career development and work adjustment, and international collaboration as the model for 21st-century success of the profession represent just a few of the many substantial advancements promulgated by the 2009 literature.
Recognizing assessment and intervention as fundamental to career service delivery, scholars developed and tested new and existing instruments, considered better ways of using assessment measures, and advanced counseling, program, and relationship-centered coaching efficacy. Considering work and its exigencies across the human life span from childhood through late adulthood, research in 2009 added to our knowledge about core developmental constructs with particular note to career transitions, patterns, retirement, and adaptability as an element central to all of these processes.
From the voluminous and excellent 2009 literature, some favorite works emerged as outstanding “must reads.” Herein, I leave you with, in ascending order, a “top ten” list of annotated personal favorites. All works cited are 2009 and referenced fully in the review article that appears in the December 2010 issue of the Career Development Quarterly (CDQ).
10. Practice and research in career counseling and development – 2008 (Patton & McIlveen). Catch up on all the literature published in 2008 by reading this comprehensive annual review in the December 2009 CDQ.
9. The relation of cultural context and social relationships to career development in middle school (Howard et al.). Among the most pervasive variables in career development and counseling, self-efficacy may be better conceptualized and used within the broader construct of agency to comprehend career outcomes.
8. Fitting measurement models to vocational interest data: Are dominance models ideal? (Tay et al.). For anyone who conducts and finds interest in vocational interest assessment, this article offers intriguing insights into test construction, affects of item-response format on data obtained, and need for computer adaptive methods to abbreviate the assessment process. The authors make a very complex measurement issue comprehensible and engaging.
7. CDQ June (Trusty & VanEsbroeck) and International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance July (VanEsbroeck & Trusty) Joint Special Issues. Harnessing the collective resources, energies, and ideas of three of the world’s foremost professional organizations concerned with career development and vocational guidance (the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance, NCDA, and the Society for Vocational Psychology), these two special issues highlight the international advancement, reach, and impact of the field today.
6. Journal of Vocational Behavior December Special Issue. A range of articles consider the effects of and offer integrated multidisciplinary responses to sweeping changes brought by globalization, information technology, and economic failure that are revolutionizing the world of work.
5. The relations of vocational interests and mathematical literacy: On the predictive power of interest profiles (Warwas et al.) and Development and criterion validity of differentiated and elevated vocational interests in adolescence (Hirschi). Interests still reign supreme in career assessment and intervention practices. Combined, these two papers remind and further encourage counselors to use, and researchers to examine, secondary constructs such as profile differentiation and elevation in vocational interest assessment contexts.
4. CDQ March Special Section – Pioneers of the vocational guidance movement: A centennial celebration (Savickas, guest ed.). To know where we are and where we are going, it helps to know where we have been. Reading the entire section will increase past knowledge to better contemplate and advance the future of the field.
3. Unemployment impairs mental health: Meta-analyses (Paul & Moser). Every counselor regardless of specialty must be aware of and ready to assist people to deal with the debilitating affects of unemployment on mental health. This article squarely brings the point home.
2. Career decision making: The limits of rationality and the abundance of non-conscious processes (Krieshok et al.). Decision making remains center stage in career theory and practice. This article revolutionizes the field’s long-standing tripartite matching model of self-knowledge, occupational knowledge, and true reasoning by offering a trilateral model that emphasizes conscious, non-conscious, and occupational engagement processes involved in adaptive decision making.
1. Life designing: A paradigm for career construction in the 21st century (Savickas et al.). This article sets the stage for transforming career development and counseling. It ushers in the next episode in the field’s evolution from vocational guidance to career counseling to counseling for life design. It will fundamentally change the way we think about, study, and assist people to develop their lives through work and career.
Paul J. Hartung, Ph.D., is professor of behavioral and community health sciences at Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy. He is a Fellow of the National Career Development Association and co-editor of the recently published volume Developing Self in Work and Career: Concepts, Cases, and Contexts published by APA Books. He serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Vocational Behavior, Journal of Career Assessment, and Journal of Counseling and Development. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org .
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