Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Special Section Introduction: Time and Timing in Career Development

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Special Section Introduction: Time and Timing in Career Development

Article excerpt

Career development theory, first formulated at midcentury, drew on the then current models of adolescent development provided by developmental psychology. Applying the developmental psychology models of the day, career theorists such as Donald Super identified maturation as the central process in career development. Following the lead of Super and his colleagues, theorists and researchers constructed career maturity theories of vocational development that have held sway during the second half of the twentieth century. Now, as we approach a new millennium, it seems appropriate to re-examine career maturity models tied to the perspective on development that was prominent at midcentury. Three articles in this special section do just that.

Although the construct of maturation, a proxy for time, has served the field well, it's central role in career development theory seems outdated. Vondracek and Reitzle carefully address how well current career maturity theories correspond to contemporary models in developmental psychology. They conclude that time, as portrayed in age-graded, sequence models of career maturity, should be replaced by timing. Developmental-contextual models of human development portray timing as a critical variable because it captures the interplay between organism and environment. In contrast, using time as a proxy for development maintains the traditional view that career development is primarily a process that unfolds potentialities from within the organism. …

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