Why is Career Guidance Important?

by danny_ellison | April 28, 2014 | Blogs 0 Comments

As we approach the transition from adolescence to our young adult years, we all must answer the question, “What will I do with my life?” For some of us the answer is rather clear. Our choice looks like some sort of extension of what we already know we excel at, feel passionate about or have the opportunity to pursue. For others the answer seems as vague and mysterious as a mirage on the horizon, always moving, shifting, changing and never focused well enough to make out the details.

great-ships-the-titanicRecently, I watched a documentary outlining a possible alternative theory to explain the tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic. According to the producer, the theories that have existed over the years simply do not add up, and there had to be a better explanation. With the best, most highly experienced crew and the latest technology available at the time, theories such as the captain being too intoxicated to make good judgment calls, the look-out crew falling asleep and losing focus or the ship being built much too weak just did not suffice. The producer’s research indicated that a probable cause for the failure to notice the fatal iceberg stemmed from atmospheric conditions. The same kind of warm air/cool air effect that causes a mirage in the desert can cause a mirage at sea. According to other ships’ logs from the same time-frame and location as the Titanic on that historic night, a drastic change in sea temperature, combined with the crystal-clear atmospheric conditions of that particular night, all led to an ambiguous horizon and what looked like an apparent mirage to the look-out crewmen. The look-out crew should have been able to see an iceberg from 12 miles away, but they only noticed the fateful iceberg just 30 seconds before the time of impact due to a “mirage at sea.”

Although comparing one’s failure to discover a fitting career pathway to the Titanic disaster may seem to be a bit audacious, you can imagine the frustrations involved in feeling like your future looks like nothing more than a mirage in the distance that can never be attained. Both dangers and opportunities lurk on the horizon, but you simply can’t see clearly enough to make out which is which! It’s just like walking around in the dark in the middle of the night, hoping you don’t run into a wall.

Researchers have published a plethora of literature dedicated to the idea that going through life without clear career direction can lead to a life filled with much anxiety. What a person does for a living typically delineates their identity, and an identity crisis can easily occur when a person cannot gain clarity about their own future, figuratively leading to the sinking of the ship, so to speak. According to psychoanalyst, teacher, clinician and theorist Erik Erikson, an identity crisis will have one of three outcomes: a positive identity that contributes to society, a negative identity that rebels against society and psychosocial moratorium which delays the decision toward either kind of identity, usually prolonging periods of self-exploration and experimentation among various lifestyles.

When a person has vision for their life they have more opportunity for achieving that vision than if they do not begin with a vision. Continuous, proactive and intentional career guidance can offer clear and effective vision for young people so that they may set goals and make progress toward attaining those goals. Behind the ELI 360 Guidance Program stands the idea that a student would not have to walk through life without a vision for their future and they would not have to make these decisions alone. Instead, that decision would be made in tandem with the support and agreement of that student’s family, mentor(s) and support network.

So, why is career guidance important? Allow me to pose a question following this new theory explaining the sinking of the Titanic. Would you rather navigate life with a clearer view of what lies ahead of you, both the dangers and the opportunities clearly in focus, fully able to make decisions based on your goals for life? Or, would you rather react to every mirage that presents itself along life’s way, never knowing which mirage will actually turn out to be the iceberg that wrecks your ship?

Sources on the mirage theory:

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-03/today-good-reads-did-optical-illusion-doom-titanic

http://phillipsphiles.blogspot.com/2013_06_23_archive.html

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