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Why Career Development Matters: Round 1

This topic contains 17 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Marilyn Van Norman 4 years, 8 months ago.

  • Author
  • #23638

    Norman Valdez

    Welcome to our Career Development Matters discussion. Here you are encouraged to share your thoughts on the value of career development and how career development professionals are making a difference to Canadians.

    From youth to newcomers and from special needs populations to older adults, career development impacts the economic and social well-being of the country and its citizens. It shapes individuals, families and communities. It drives education, work and life. It enhances Canada’s productivity and innovation. What’s your perspective?

    You can also support CERIC in advancing this conversation by purchasing one of our Career Development Matters t-shirts or toques! Purchase them here:

    Contribute to and follow the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #cdmatters.

    Round 1 discussion is closed, to continue on with this discussion follow reply and contribute on round 2:

  • #31601

    Lucie Morillon

    Career Development integrates and intertwines with every aspect of our lives. From the moment we are born, our parents and family begin to predict what we will be? and what we will do with our lives? By the time we are in school, we are already looking towards the workforce. What subjects should we take in school? What type of jobs will we have? What kind of money will we make? Once we complete our first round of formal education, the hunt for employment begins. Employment is obtain and lost, additional education is taken and career paths may change. It is though the practice of Career development that we learn what employment skills we require to meet our career goal. Career Development provides the support needed to move though various career paths, no matter what obstacles are encountered. The practice of Career Development allows us to explore what is available in regards to employment opportunities, how we can use our talents to obtain these opportunities and how we can contribute to the world around us. It is one of the essential compasses in our employment journey

  • #31603

    Jeanette Hung

    Career development matters because career means so much more than the salary, security, and benefits we get from a job. A career affects what we can become and contribute, and who we impact in the pursuit of our work. To speak about career development is to speak about what your career means over your lifetime. Your career is a process that continues indefinitely; purpose, meaning, gratification, and passion are found not only in the result but are present in the pursuit of work itself.

  • #31605

    Marc Verhoeve

    Career Development Matters!
    I have career-counselled clients since 1975 in the various stages of their careers: adolescents, adult career-changers and golden-handshakers [retirees]. In all these cases, I have initiated these interactions with a career-history [career-paths of parents, siblings as well as their own]. A number of patterns are evident:
    >Familial career-paths have impact on one’s own career [either because of modeling, job-exposure or overt negative reaction to familial input].
    >The Serendipity Effect. Some external event impacts on one’s decision.
    A classic example was a chiropractor client. When asked how we became a chiropractor, he said that he and his buddy were walking down the hall in the Science building at university, and saw a sign stating “Chiropractic College Entrance Exams”. We bet each other ten dollars that we could pass without any prep. “I barely passed the test [won the bet], went to Chiropractic College and I have been a chiropractor for the past ten years…..BUT I am now not feeling fulfilled with this career.”
    Another example was a woman who was a hair stylist. She said that, when she was in her last year of high school [with straight A’s], her parents told her that they could not afford to send her to university because of finances [Ironically, her father was an educator, elementary school principal]. Her fallback was hairstyling school. Now…twenty years later [with her own children in secondary school], she wanted to move on, and access her shortchanged career path.
    >Adolescents make decisions about their career paths with insufficient data. The average adolescent has a faint knowledge of 50 occupations [usually from the media], good knowledge of a dozen occupations [based on relatives, neighbours, parents’ friends], and an excellent knowledge of about 5-6 occupations. Depending on the data-source, there are over 10,000 occupational titles out there!
    >There is no magic pill [“Careerinol”] that one can take that will ensure the “perfect career path” that will take one through to a fulfilled retirement. As we move through our life stages, our needs and demands evolve, and our career path will follow this circuitous route.

    After over 38 years as a career practitioner, it is evident to me that there is a real need for:
    • A more structured career-educational protocol for adolescents provided by trained career professionals.
    • Access by adults to career practitioners who can effectively provide “career-checkups” and “career-tune-ups” to service the career-detours in one’s life…..and to proactively provide career-planning tools and support.
    • More open discussion in the media about the evolutionary nature of one’s career path throughout one’s life.
    • There is more to one’s identity that one’s job.

    Proactive Career Development doesn’t just matter…It is essential!

    Marc Verhoeve
    Careerpathing Consultant

  • #31608

    Jennifer Browne

    Some time ago I participated in a great exercise where participants were given the stem of a sentence and for 5 minutes you had to just write everything that came to your mind. When you got stuck you returned to the stem and just kept writing. I thought I would try that with the statement Why Career Development Matters and see what my brain spit out here goes…..
    Career development matters because it is such a core component of our lives, it helps us become the person we are meant to become, continually changing and evolving as we mature and learn. It is part of the foundation of who we are, positively impacting families, communities, provinces and our country. It helps you know who you are and contribute back to society on many levels, economically, emotionally, spiritually. Career development makes me happy. It makes others happy. It gives me hope and helps me dream. Career Development matters because it gives people a sense of who they are, a sense of pride, a role to play and contribute. It helps us figure out our gifts, our talents and then how to apply them in our work and lives. It empowers people. It encourages reflection on who you are, what you want to become and how to do that. It helps create plans and pathways to achieve goals. Career development alleviates confusion and uncertainty. It provides focus yet remains open to the opportunities life presents sometimes. Career Development is my passion! I am blessed work in it every day and introduce it to other people’s lives.

  • #31610

    Phil Jarvis

    Opportunity for informed career seekers is greater than ever, but so is danger for the unprepared. Despite high unemployment and underemployment employers can’t find the qualified talent they need for “mission-critical” positions. Career seekers can’t find employers willing to take a chance on them. With an aging population and increasing dependency ratios, society needs its citizens, especially our young, in viable careers and fully engaged as citizens. Too many post-secondary graduates, not to mention those less qualified, are deep in student loan debt with no idea what careers might suit them, let alone what employers might want them and how to locate them.

    The economic consequences of the Perfect Storm ( in today’s workforce are staggering. Lost productivity and reduced competitiveness impact employers and their communities. Lost tax revenues, social assistance, corrections, stress-induced health costs alone run into $billions annually for all levels of government. The human consequences are even higher. Helping citizens connect with fulfilling, family-sustaining 21st century careers has become an economic imperative. The most effective way for governments to reduce deficits and debt, and for companies to increase productivity and grow, is by getting the right people in the right jobs, fully engaged in creating economic prosperity for their companies, their families, and their communities. This is the work of career practitioners, the most import career of all.

    Career Cruising ( is committed to providing the best career resources to help career practitioners help their clients. We salute CERIC for creating this meeting place so career practitioners can support each other like never before.

  • #31612

    David Lindskoog

    Some great thoughts in this thread already!

    I’m going to take a slightly different perspective, and use a metaphor to illustrate my answer to the question “Why does career development matter?”

    Careers are dynamic – we know this, that’s why we use the word ‘development’ when we talk about careers. They are something that is always growing, just like the hair on our heads. We don’t need to seek the help of a professional for our careers to grow – they will do so on our own. Nonetheless, we often find ourselves in situations where we’d benefit from the help of a professional in order to shape or influence the direction of that growth.

    One of my favourite “faux-titles” for the work I do is therefore “Career Stylist.” Like an actual stylist, who can expertly help you to create a desired look or style, or to simply make appropriate decisions about your look and style, a career development professional can work with you towards the same ends from a career perspective.

    I’ve written lots more about this metaphor (, but for brevity’s sake here I’ll leave it at this: career development matters because it helps us deal with a construct as universally human as the very hair on our heads.

  • #31614

    Emil Boychuk

    As I join the group and read the other posts I find myself in full agreement and marvel how much we are of similar minds. So here are a few of my thoughts: Our career is constantly in development—it is a moment by moment life journey. Every decision we make and implement drives our career life. I have heard the saying, “Every decision is a career decision”. There is a lot of truth to that. If I choose to get up at 6 a.m. instead of 8 a.m., that makes a difference. And we are constantly thinking about choices as we interact with our environment. And as I look back on my life and career, I can discern the choices and actions that got me here. What also stands out is how much my career development has benefited from the help of others both in direct conversations, workshops, books and example. I am both humble and proud of where I am at. Career development matters for me and clearly for all of us in this group.

  • #31616


    Similar to David, I approached this by looking at “development” – so, before considering “why career development matters” I thought perhaps we could back up a step and focus on why “development” (of any sort) matters. We consider development the norm in so many life arenas other than career, using terms like “developmentally delayed” to describe an individual not progressing as expected or hoped for. “Arrested development” (i.e., when children stop developing as expected, after what seemed to be a normal beginning) is considered a psychological disorder. Why, then, would we expect a career to be static? People develop – it makes sense that their careers would similarly develop to keep up with individuals’ developmental changes.

    In our Career Engagement model, we illustrate how an individual can outgrow a specific job when his or her increased capacity begins to outweigh the challenge of the position. Similarly, Csikszentmihalyi, in his work on Flow, spoke to the importance of matching skills to challenge. Career development is inherently important to achieving and maintaining Career Engagement and/or Flow. Without career development, work can become boring and meaningless. With career development, adjustments can be made to continue to achieve an optimal fit between workplace expectations and individual /organizational capacity to get the work done.

  • #31618

    Paul D. Smith

    Henry David Thoreau wrote that “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” This malleable observation offers a poignant perspective on the struggles people experience after choosing their vocation and being made to live within that choice. It is the truly blessed who get it right, and they are few. How those lucky few came to find their career “sweet spot” is art more than science, and like art, difficult to reproduce. Inevitably they learned from someone who showed them the way, or at least helped them see the next step. And if these few needed a guide, then how much must the ”mass of men” need one? This is where career development matters.

  • #31620


    What great comments! Roberta’s reference to Flow makes me think of all the research related to positive psychology and how it can help people in their work and career paths. Career development matters because it creates a positive, proactive approach to the real life concerns of work and lifelong education. Career development, and the professionals that help people embrace it, has a big influence on social relationships, financial security, and an individual’s ability to weather life’s ups and downs – especially in the work world. When you are prepared and self-aware, with a good support system, you are likely to succeed in lifelong career change and adaptation.

  • #31622

    Mark Franklin

    Jobs and employment are among the most important current issues facing governments and societies around the world, but the question of how to align individuals and their strengths with opportunities in the world of work remains without a widely accepted, evidence-based approach.

    Most career centres and government-funded employment agencies measure program results with job placement rates and program attendance figures, but these measures fail to indicate sustainable changes in individuals’ careers. Tracking whether someone ‘got the job’ says nothing about the alignment between the job and the individual’s strengths, interests and life situation, nor does it say anything about that individual’s ability to manage their career for the future when and if he or she leaves that first job.

    Career development matters because it, and we as Career Professionals, can have a positive impact on individuals’ personal attributes including hope, confidence, resilience, optimism, personal growth, and curiosity and exploration — when we listen to clients’ stories in new ways. Using our narrative framework, we’ve found significant increases in these key personal attributes, which correlate with important career measures including career clarity, job satisfaction, job fit, and alignment between job and career expectations.

    Career development — or perhaps a better term, ‘Career Management Skill,’ — matters because it helps people manage their careers for the future leading to sustainable and positive employment and career outcomes that benefit the individual and society.

  • #31624

    John Horn

    Did you know that human beings are the only species on earth without full employment? It’s true. Just ask Paul Hawken.

    Humanity – which includes Canada – has never been able to make accurate and sustainable connections between the skills and expertise that people develop and how the application of such skills and expertise meet labour market demands. We’ve tried numerous economic and political systems to bridge this gap, but have never really gotten the formula right.

    Whatever the case, the idea of “career” is one of the biggest, most complex problems on Earth today.

    As if this wasn’t complicated enough, check out what Wade Davis has to say about how to find or develop a career: “A career is not something that you put on like a coat. It is something that grows organically around you, step-by-step, choice-by-choice, and experience-by-experience. Everything adds up. No work is beneath you. Nothing is a waste of time unless you make it so.”

    Wow. Compelling, thoughtful and nuanced stuff! Everything that a person does has meaning when s/he approaches it with intention. And, while accurate, this explanation is still very theoretical, and certainly won’t lead to your next job (which is another conversation for another time).

    So, where a “career” fits within the complex and disconnected world of work and global labour market demand is a very complex challenge. And the ideas about how to find or build or develop or grow or evolve a “career” are also very complex.

    Needless to say, the professional field of career development matters because it finds itself at the intersection of one of the world’s most complex problems (matching peoples’ work with global needs) and one of the most elusive and difficult things to develop (a meaningful career).

    So, here we are. Doing important work that matters a whole lot.

    On behalf of all the folks in the field of career development who are working hard to address these challenges I say this: you’re welcome.

  • #31626

    Deirdre Pickerell

    It is fascinating to see how everyone is approaching this topic. I’d agree with all the comments so far; the energy and passion around this topic is clear . . . as is some of the frustration that we likely all feel as we struggle to communicate why career development matters to those outside of the field. As a profession, we “get it” but many, too many, don’t. Recent studies are demonstrating that career development has a positive impact on employee engagement; as such organizations are beginning to recognize the importance of supporting employees’ career development goals. Unfortunately many of those supporting career development initiatives, within organizations, aren’t attached to the career development field, don’t know about our rich history, and don’t have specific training in career. Those of us attending CANNEXUS know that career development matters, and why it matters; perhaps the question should actually be if we are, as John says, “Doing important work that matters a whole lot” . . . why do we seem unable to have the career development matters messages “stick”?

  • #31628

    Sareena Hopkins

    Great question and great discussion…but it begs a few other questions. I (and I imagine pretty much everyone in our field) can readily agree with everything that has been said so far. But, like Deirdre, I think our real question has to be how we ensure those OUTSIDE of our field also agree. How do we move from being seen as a budget drain by policy makers and funders to being seen as a strategic investment? How do we build a profession that is widely recognized as leading edge and vital to our nation’s socio-economic health? How do we move from being largely off the public’s radar to being seen as an essential service for all. How do we help EVERY Canadian to see that they have a career, that they can manage that career and the massive life benefits of doing so? As Deirdre suggests, how do we ensure that career development really matters to people outside our field?

  • #31630

    Emil Boychuk

    I think most people, me included, see career development as a “do it yourself” project. I gather information, make choices and decisions, sometimes share some thoughts with my wife and friends, and have sought professional help only when I was undergoing major transitions. Seeking career help is an individual and very personal choice. We want to guard our freedom, fear being confronted with judgments we might not want to hear, and feel we should be able to manage our life and career without professional help. To do it myself, I have first turned to self-help books. I remember doing Richard Boles’ What Colour is your Parachute? from cover to cover at one point. And it helped, along with the support of a number of friends and family. So definitely career development matters, but just like putting off an annual medical check-up, which is “free”, I have usually gone along on my own without seeking professional help. Might that be one factor why it may seem professional career counselling is not being appreciated for what it is worth?

  • #31632

    Alastair MacFadden

    I think we’d probably all agree that career development matters because it supports the development, growth and resilience of individuals. It also matters because providing information and options facilitates more deliberate decisions among individuals, schools and businesses. Like Sareena, I think our greatest challenge is communicating the impact of career development services in a way that is meaningful. Most Canadians have not experienced career development services, and they don’t know what it is or what it could be. Canada has a great opportunity to demonstrate the impact of career development by focusing on our young people, particularly among youth populations that have historically had limited success in the labour market.

  • #31634

    Marilyn Van Norman

    We are not born with career development skills. They are learned and best learned from career development professionals. Regardless whether one is exploring career directions, looking for work, or assessing skills, career and employment counsellors are invaluable – to the little boy in Newfoundland who dreams of being a firefighter, to the teenager in Quebec who is having trouble deciding whether to go into a career or pre-university program in CEGEP, to the university student who is graduating in New Brunswick and wants help determining which career direction to follow, to the visually impaired unemployed man in Ontario wanting to get back into the labour market, to the recent immigrant in Manitoba who is looking for help adjusting to Canada and looking for work, to the pipe fitter in Alberta who would like to know where else in the world his skills are needed, to the recently retired woman in British Columbia who wants to work part-time but isn”t sure how to go about finding a job – career professionals are there to help. Career Development Matters!

    Marilyn Van Norman, National Co-ordinator, Outreach and Innovation, CERIC

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