Erik Presley (USA)

Approaching the Career Decision-Making Process

by Erik Presley | March 8, 2012 | Erik Presley (USA) 2 Comments

The Approach

Written by a colleague, Danny Ellison MEd LPC-i, who leads our education and career coaching services.

The style of approach to career choice is a paramount contemporary issue. Oftentimes students will aimlessly drift throughout the world of academic and practical experiences until they happen upon an occupation that they eventually choose to pursue, never realizing the objective reasons behind the attraction to the occupation or the areas of challenge they may face along the way. This is what is called a reactive approach to the career decision-making process.see you

Thankfully, there is an opposite to this reactive approach called the proactive approach to career choice. People who take a proactive approach to the career decision-making process do so with a marked sense of  intentionality and a good understanding of the tools available to them along the way.

In the 21st century, according to the U.S. Department of labor, the average individual will likely experience 3-5 career changes during their lifetime. On top of the 3-5 career changes one may experience, an individual may also transition between 7-9 jobs within those careers. Although career discovery is a lifelong process that may include several job changes and career adaptations, this phenomenon is partially due to the fact that people, specifically adolescents, initially approach career selection with a minimal amount of progressive structure, purposeful career research, congruency analysis and patience.

Progressive Structure

Even with the vast amount of assessment resources available on the market today, large numbers of students still cannot differentiate between their childhood fantasy career (a natural component in eventual career selection) and a realistic and congruent career path based on observable and measurable qualities within themselves. This is, in part, due to a sense of uncertainty about where to begin and what pathway of self-discovery one should take.

A progressive structure is crucial to an effective career discovery process. It ensures methodology within a framework of meaningfully chosen tools and offers guidance throughout the entire process. Career guidance without a progressive structure is like attempting to drive a vehicle without gasoline, the tools may be there, but the momentum-creating force is missing.

Purposeful Research

In order to practically understand assessment results, an individual must engage in purposeful research in the general direction of the congruent pathways that assessment results reveal. Today’s generation is surrounded by information, resources and opportunity to gain experience, but too many young people remain perplexed as to how to approach these areas. An effective career guidance system must offer a variety of research material in an easy to navigate manner that specifically communicates to adolescents and challenges them to actively participate in the discovery process .

Congruency Analysis

Goculture mentorTaking assessments is one thing, but once a student has the assessment results in hand, what is the next step? The most crucial piece to any assessment battery is the ability to interpret the results and discover the unique characteristics of the person within. The goal of career assessment is to determine if the occupational pathway that an individual is on is in fact a pathway that is congruent with the personality of the individual.

Consider the way a magnet operates. If the appropriate poles match up then it is difficult to separate one magnet from another. They are naturally attracted to one another. But, if the poles do not have the appropriate attraction to one another they will work against each other. They will never truly connect. The magnet may be temporarily forced together using external force, but in the end the naturally opposing forces will take over and the magnets will prove to repel one another.

The same is true with respect to congruency. If an individual discovers a congruent career path, there will be a mutual attraction between that person and the career path that will serve to constantly motivate the individual to achieve and grow within a career. But the opposite rings true when there is no congruency between the individual and the career pathway. It will be a constant struggle to find motivation, and almost impossible to experience growth and achievement. The majority of motivating factors will come from extrinsic factors such as the necessity of earning a paycheck and other basic provisional needs. These needs are commonly referred to as deficiency needs, and can be further researched through a study of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.


In order to accurately and effectively discover these intrinsic career preferences, one must allow patience to have its place in the process. It is counter-productive to approach the career decision-making process with the mindset that it should only take a few hours or a few days. The human psyche is extremely complex, and it is also unique to each individual. It takes a great amount of patience to accurately evaluate one’s preferences at work, and luckily with adolescents, there is usually time to allow for patience to do its work.

Work preferences result as the culmination of positive personality achievement and life experiences that define an individual’s perception of a particular career path. Assessments given at the appropriate times during development and maturation are useful tools in discovering and pursuing a congruent career pathway.

To be absolutely clear about the appropriate use of assessment tools within the context of career discovery, it must be said that, assessments are not meant to reveal an individual’s career-related future as one may picture a crystal ball specifically revealing all of the answers to life’s problems and issues. Quite the opposite, assessments are intended to narrow vast fields of career-related societal involvement down to a manageable few areas where an individual may begin the process of research and experience.

In the end, it is highly important to have a framework by which an adolescent can progress through the process of whole person self-discovery. ELI 360 Guidance presents such a framework; a framework that creatively encapsulates the four areas mentioned above in a progressively structured package. This robust curriculum utilizes 40 video-based learning sessions that range in topic from contemporary market evaluation and career-related research to study habits, character development and even financial decision making skills that will prove to be invaluable as an adolescent works toward college or career.

The video-based curriculum is reinforced by 6 carefully chosen cutting-edge assessment tools that serve to identify many of the most important intrinsic components of an individual. The cumulative result of the ELI 360 Guidance program is the development of an all-inclusive Blueprint report. This Blueprint report is the collective assembly of all assessment results and other variables from within the program, and the Blueprint serves to merge this information together into an understandable and transferable format for use in university planning and/or career selection.

ELI 360 Guidance is an excellent program that offers solutions to one of the most involved and complicated processes that today’s adolescents encounter; the process of career choice.


  1. yoh98f
    April 4, 2012

    This is very helpful information. I believe young students should be aware of this material. So often I see people who are working in careers that do not fit with their personality or strengths and abilities.

    I want to know if ELI 360 Guidance is coming to Japan. It will be a helpful tool. Thanks

  2. Erik Presley
    April 4, 2012


    If students can communicate in English by reading and writing well then we can offer a one year program with ELI 360 Guidance in Japan or anywhere else in the world. Currently we have a project to translate the program but it is currently all in English.

    We would be happy to have you connect with either Danny Ellison or Heidi is a certified career coach and can offer a personal coaching program with the MBTI assessment which includes a 3 hour session.

    We are ready to serve as we’re passionate about helping young people discover their most congruent education and career path. – Best Regards

Add a Comment