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My Career Development Journey

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This essay aims to illustrate my career development journey within a theoretical framework which I will reflect on, using two career theories discussed in the duration of career psychology module. This theoretical re-telling will incorporate ways in with my career choices were made and how they developed and continue evolve through different stages of my life, the role played by my family, environmental conditions I was exposed to and the influence of others around me.

Throughout this essay I will first focus on Super’s theory where I will reflect on factors that influenced my past, current and future career development. Second, on John Holland theory which explores my interests, personality and environment that I believe fueled the direction of my current choice of career path.

Super’s Career Development Theory

I was born in the dusty streets on Philippi Cape Town were the aren’t as many strong and good models one can look up to. Growing up I was quite a joyful child who loved interacting with people and but I was uncertain of who I wanted to become or what I wanted to do with my life. I struggled to find models and inspiration to what part I wanted to contribute to the world due to the kind of unpleasant environment I grew up in which was filled with violence, crime and poor living condition therefore. This is why I choose Super’s theory to illustrate my career path as Super focus on the individual’s whole life in a holistic view that people are on an ongoing career process which is influenced by their personality and environment factors.

One of Donald Supers famous quotes is: “Until you know who you are, you will not know who you can become” (Super). Here Super speaks of the importance of knowing yourself which is something I struggle to make sense of at that time. From an early age I was uncertain about what I wanted to become in the future, I didn’t have a clear picture of who wanted to be mostly because I never saw someone that I wanted to be like. My mother was a domestic worker and my older two sisters dropped out of school and had babies so I would say that I was not exposed to people who portrayed what I wanted to be. My brother, however, was the first one in the family to complete matric and that created a goal that I wanted to reach. After my mother’s passing in 2010 I had to relocate to the Eastern Cape to live with my father and his family. The whole transition for me was very different if we were to compare the environment and people I was suddenly living with, they were highly educated and some working fancy jobs. I also started to attending at a private school for the first time in my life. I think this is where I started to develop most of my interest and I was introduced to a whole new world of models to choose from, career choices and pressure to maintain the family status.

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In grade 4 I found my love for writing, reading and everything that had to do with literature at that point in my life I was not people orientated as I used to be as a child since I was still going through grief. I found solace, peace and sanity in writing and reading books which was all I was interested in. However, my self-concept as stated by Super throughout his theory is forever changing depending on what influences your life at a point in time. Super also mentioned in an interview with Suzanne C. Freeman that vocational choices are not a once of decision but rather that they are embedded and emerge within an individual’s past experiences (Freeman, 1993). This is associated with the fact that I never dreamed of becoming a psychologist, but what I always knew that I wanted to help people, also that I loved writing, and as I grew up, I even grew fond of listening and trying to help people as best as I could. I also released that from my background all that I went through and having to experience living in poverty and seeing the pain and difficulties people around me went through made me the person or drove me to the nurturing, warm individual I am today which corresponds with my career choice in having to study psychology. I also strongly believe that career choice is not so linear you don’t just wake up and decide on what career you want to pursue but rather career choice evolves to meet your position at a point in time through that you collect pieces of your capabilities, interests and skills what eventually become stable and clear to what career you choose. I would also like to highlight on Savickas construction theory of how careers don’t just unfold but are constructed by situations we meet that need us to adapt to unpredictable adjustments.

John Holland’s Career Development Theory

In Holland’s theory he emphasis on the importance of the ‘the perfect match’ which is the agreeableness of an individual’s personality and environment. Since I was living with a family that always had high expectations, I reached a point in my life where I had to shift away from what I actually wanted because of wanting to ‘fit’ in the family. I remember when I was in grade 9 and I had to choose subjects I would do in high school, I was posed with a question from my family of what I wanted to become. I said social worker, and they laughed and told me that it wasn’t a high-profile job, that I needed to pick subjects that would qualify me to become a biologist or a career in the medical field, a career that would bring in real money. While under the pressure I choose physical science and pure mathematics as my majors which I was definitely not interested in but at that stage in my life I felt like I needed to uphold the values of my family, and that’s where my personality and the environment I was in clashed because the was no agreeableness between the two.

John Holland stated in his theory that people normally gravitate more towards environments that are similar to that of their own and that having a match between an individual and their environment creates satisfaction, longevity and contribution (Harrington & Harrigan, 2011). When I graduated from matric and I had to go to varsity I was still undecided of what I wanted to do, high school for me was hell, excuse me for saying such, but I didn’t want to spend three to four years in my life studying something that my parents wanted, I had to make a decision that best suited me and that caused tension between me and my parents. On the day I decided to go apply most of the courses I wanted to apply for which was social worker and education was already full and the was this BA course that caught my attention. As I looked through the curriculum, I found all the things I loved and was genuinely interested in which ware languages and psychology, I decided to apply and I was accepted. My parents weren’t impressed by my choice of career simply because it wasn’t even the mainstream of psychology.

In between of my first year I started to grow an intense interest in psychology. I would attend psychology workshops, watch videos on YouTube about psychology and I would always be searching for people who were in the psychology field. This is where I developed group association and all I was about was psychology. I also released as I mentioned above that all I ever wanted was to be part of a system that helped people, that brought light, hope in hopeless situations throughout my career journey I was just not exposed to the relevant information and environment. I also released that I would have never made it as a biologist which is the ideal career what my parents wanted for me because of my personality which is being naturally welcoming, kind, nurturing and the need for a face-to-face interaction. Surprisingly my parents started to support me when they saw how determined I was about my career choice when I finally came choose my two majors as psychology and sociology in my second year.


Super’s career development theory also states that interests and competencies will change as time proceeds to suit the effects of social learning (Watson & Mahon, 2005). These two theories have helped me recognize how my career was made, how it developed and how it is still going to evolve as I go through different spheres in my life. I am also excited in exploring and learning in dept about myself, my competencies and personality which will prepare me to be the best version of myself that can be because what I am is yet to become.


  1. Freeman, S. C. (1993). Donald Super: A perspective on Career Development. Journal of Career Development, p.255-264.
  2. Harrington, T. F., & Harrigan, T. A. (2011). Practice and Research in Career Counseling and Development. Wiley online library.
  3. Super, D. (n.d.).
  4. Watson, M., & Mahon, M. (2005). Children’s Career Development: A Research Review from a Learning Perspective.

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