Career Exploration/self Discovery

Career Planning and Adult Development Journal, Fall 2011 | Go to article overview

Career Exploration/self Discovery


The intended authence for the following reviews ranges from college students to the non-traditionalists who are exploring career paths through self-discovery. Motivation, exploration and career planning are discussed in the following reviews to help the reader gain insight on career path and self-discovery strategies.

Career and Caregiving: Empowering the Shadow Workforce of Family Caregivers, (2009) Edited by Sally Gelardin. Reviewer: Virginia Byrd

Career Success without a Real Job: The Career Book for People Too Smart to Work in Corporations (2009) by Ernie J. Zelinski, Reviewer: Sally Dougan

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (2009) by Daniel H. Pink, Reviewer: Dale S. Brown

How to Get Any Job, Life Launch and Re-Launch for Everyone Under 30 (or how to avoid living in your parents' basement), (Second Edition, 2009) by Donald Asher, Reviewer: Anne-Marie Ippolito

What Color is your Parachute? For Teens: Discovering Yourself, Defining your Future (2010) by C. Cristen, RJi. Bolles, & J. Blomquist, Reviewer: Anne L. Bauer

Career and Caregiving: Empowering the Shadow Workforce of Family Caregivers, (2009) Edited by Sally Gelardin. Monograph Series, The National Career Development Association. 85 pages, Paper, $89.95.

Book's Purpose or Theme:

Career professionals tell their own stories, using skills learned in their field. They provide guidance and encouragement to those facing similar challenges with elder care, while they manage their own careers.

Brief Summary of Content:

The focus of this monograph is on baby boomers at the stage in their lives where they will have some kind of responsibility for family members, mainly their parents. Although many of the challenges involve traveling, finding housing, managing the economics of care, and the logistics of the search for information, the writers also express the emotional experiences that occur when there are role changes and special needs for spiritual support. They tell how they must rise to the occasion when an emergency arises, or they have unexpected long distance travel. Resilience, patience, and resourcefulness are required. Self care is an important consideration and many of articles in this book provide suggestions for dealing with both physical and mental stress. Support for the caregiver is critical, whether that comes from other family members, geriatric specialists, or as a welcome benefit from extensive research. The variety of information can supply the answer to most situations and is not difficult to access, given current technology.

Perhaps the most encouraging message of all the stories is the selflearning that happens when duty becomes rewarding to the caregiver and turns into affection and a new appreciation for the life experiences of the parent. The editor has organized the articles into seven sections that describe caregiving: preparing for it, being in the midst, recovering from it, moving forward, moving in and out, as a continual life process and with a look to the future. The writers contribute techniques to deal with elder care based on their professional experience in problem solving. They range from guided imagery to transactional analysis and include the questions familiar to career counselors:

(a) Who am I?

(b) Where am I going?

(c) How shall I get there?

Using these points simplifies a process that is complicated and messy, but can give structure to this real-life problem. Many of the writers have achieved work-life balance in their Uves and are certainly life role models as they tell of the sacrifices they have made, the creativity they have applied, and the achievements gained by continuing in demanding careers that they also value and enjoy.

Most Useful Things Learned from the Book:

My understanding of caregiving has expanded and grown from reading this book. It has added to my conviction that employees of all backgrounds are facing the challenge of elder care with virtually no support from employers or the government. …

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