I present in the remainder of this document, my recollections of how I ventured in to my vocation as a Guidance Counselor, comparing my specific case with theories of career development (Career Development, 2003). I conclude with inferences which I use for graduate students who seek my professional help.
Informality has marked my progress towards the career. Theories which state that the value of work should be taught in the pre-school years (Career Development, 2003,) and that a relationship has to be made so early in life between education and a career, seem to escape my memory, if at all my parents subscribed to such concepts. This pattern continues as I reflect on my years in school, all the way from kindergarten to when I was ready for college.
The post secondary education phase (Career Development, 2003) was an inflexion point for my career. Many of my peers sought vocational training at this time, and only a minority sought college education. We all tried our hands at odd jobs and assignments during this time, but I cannot recall even considering regular employment. This could have been because my family had more than adequate means to provide for my higher education. I do not recall much formal counseling even at this time, though teachers did speak well of my intellectual abilities and potential, and my parents let me know that they would support anything that I wished to do. My choice of college and course was determined largely by peer pressure, though it was all friendly and non-invasive.
Adulthood as defined in career development theory (Career Development, 2003) was a defining phase for my career choice. My abilities and weaknesses came in to sharp focus at this time, and I developed a sense of urgency to earn enough to start a family of my own. An older sibling advised me strongly against directions suggested by counselors at college, and I recall being uncertain of which direction to take. I am not yet sure whether I made the right choice for my graduate education, though I am now happily reconciled to my professional situation as a Guidance Counselor.
I understand career development theory to advocate a much earlier initiation in to formal planning, and a structured approach to counseling, almost from the inception of cognition (Career Development, 2003). I seem to have escaped with a more carefree child hood, and transited from home to kindergarten and from there to various Grades of school, in almost casual manner! I am not aware that I am much worse off for it, though the career development theory does make a lot of sense when I interact with many graduate students today.
Why might I have escaped rather lightly, even though my parents and school teachers did not implement the career development theories of today, during my student days, in structured and formal ways The reasons, on my reflection, seem to lie in strong influences under which I grew up. It may be that my memory is weak and I recall these influences without being able to relate them to formal counseling. Nevertheless, I find my recollections to be useful in understanding how I evolved in to becoming a Guidance Counselor.
There were 3 strong influences, which I feel shaped my career choice, though they