Over the past decade I have lived in four different cities and two different countries. I have had seven different jobs with one company, each assignment lasting approximately one and a half years. Most recently, I experienced a break in my career and a new dimension in life, as I began the MSc program. This paper will reflect on the place the MSc has in my life-career development. It will outline how the MSc acts as a new dimension through the exploration of career definition, self-determination theory, self-efficacy, and adaptability.
In examining the ways, I have viewed career throughout my life-career development I realize how the multidimensional aspects are conceptualized (Super, 1980). Until recently, I viewed my career in the more traditional linear perspective (Arthur & Rousseau, 1996), climbing the hierarchical ladder through promotions (Wilensky, 1961). Within the past month, as I embarked on the MSc, I recognize that major life changes have led me to redefine what career means to me. In my career, gone are the days of bureaucracy and self-imposed mental constraints as I adapt my thinking to align with my personal choices, rather than that of any one organization (Hall, 1976). Instead, this new phase is an evolving sequence of my life experiences (Arthur, Hall & Lawrence, 1989: Gunz & Peiperl, 2007). In sum, the place of the MSc is already at work in my future life-career development. It has led me to redefine what career means to me and adapt to a new way of thinking as seen through a new dimension.
Deci and Ryan (1985) use self-determination theory to correlate human motivation in identifying three basic needs: autonomy, competence and relatedness. In reflecting on my career to date, I deduced that I use these needs for motivation in my success. In order for me to feel that I have succeeded in any one role I need to achieve three functions: to gain autonomy through challenge and learning new skills, to have competence in using these skills to meet goals, and to have a sense of relatedness in preparing for the next job. I intend to apply self-determination theory throughout the course, and in doing so enhancing my motivation and developing my life-career, leading to greater perceived self-efficacy.
In understanding my motivation for success as identified by Deci and Ryan (2005) I am able to implement these needs through perceived self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997), through goal setting, and committing to the challenge of learning new skills I prepare myself for accomplishing what I plan to achieve (Bandura, 2006). Self-efficacy has been informed through my individual career success. In demonstrating the qualities of individual career success through a proactive approach, maintaining authenticity to be a trusted employee, continually learning by taking on work beyond my role and completing education courses to assist in making me a subject matter expert in my industry (Ng, Eby, Sorensen, & Feldman, 2005), I gained a deeper sense of self-efficacy. The MSc plays a role in my perceived self-efficacy and through completion of this course will increase my individual success and allow me to remain adaptable.
Career adaptability, as defined by Savickas is 'a psychosocial construct that denotes an individual's resources for coping with current and anticipated tasks, transitions, traumas in their occupational roles that, to some degree large or small, alter their social integration' (1997). In pursuing this degree, I am expanding my experiences and working to shift my career (Hall, 1976). Amidst the ever-changing landscape, with advances in technology and globalization, the MSc is my way of closing the gap and maintaining a competitive edge whilst on my career break in an effort to re-enter the workforce (Gwal, 2016) when time permits. The knowledge gained from the course will challenge my thinking and therefore my approach.
In further support of adaptability, I examine employability. Rottinghaus and Hauser reflect on the ability to critically re-evaluate current standing in order to best inform future decisions and remain adaptable to changing circumstances (2013). I am working to position myself through proactively adapting to change and redefining myself in preparation for the return to work after obtaining my degree (Savickas et al, 2012), bringing my career break to a close. Additionally, it is worth noting a point of reflection that was not explored whilst deciding the role of the MSc in my life-career development, the idea of failure. One could argue that even through a failure or difficulty in a career pivot I would still carry on to the next phase in seeking a new dimension of career as explored by Super (1980). In summary, the role of the MSc will allow me to adapt to changing circumstances and maintain a level of employability.
The role of the MSc is at work, in my life-career development and will continue to add new dimensions throughout the process and thereafter. Firstly, this is evidenced in new challenges underway on a personal level to balance my family life with a new academic routine, as well as the academic rigor and cerebral output required on the course. Secondly, each module is prescribed to teach new skills and increase awareness, accordingly meeting my needs to learn and gain competency. Thirdly, through completion of this degree I will have met my goal to do a post-graduate program and maintain and enhance my adaptability. Lastly, this process will position me for a career shift and prepare me for the next job as my evolving sequence of life unfolds when I re-enter the workforce.
In closing, through application of career definition, self-determination theory, self-efficacy, and adaptability, as reflected in this paper it has started to reshape my perspective. Through completion of this course, I will gain autonomy through challenge to learn new skills, to have competence in using these skills to meet goals, and to have a sense of relatedness in preparing for the next phase. In summary, in viewing the role of the MSc in my life-career development I will enter a new phase, one of adaptable human motivation.