ERIC Identifier: ED414526
Publication Date: 1995-00-00
Author: Riverin-Simard, Danielle
Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC., Canadian
Guidance and Counselling Foundation Ottawa (Ontario).
Career Transitions: ERIC Digest.
Career transitions are the lot of many in our constantly changing,
postindustrial societies. In these last years of the twentieth century, however,
the transitions which are most critical in scope and in their negative social
repercussions most frequently appear in transitions to work. They reflect young
people in search of employment and adults who, because of single or mass
layoffs, face the necessity of negotiating their reinsertion into the workforce.
Our preceding analyses (Riverin-Simard, 1988; 1991) showed us it would be
imperative to undertake the writing of a new concept of career transitions.
These analyses highlighted the different phases of professional life through
which adults pass over the years, described in terms of such classic variables
as intracultural (socioeconomic status) and intrapersonal (types of vocational
personality). These phases, with their accompanying periods of rethinking which
are often stressful and sometimes painful, are, in fact, career transitions
which have to be worked through. That is why we offered a new concept which
incorporates intervention procedures and which are likely to ease transition
through these different phases experienced by most adults (Riverin-Simard, in
press). The intervention procedures are intended to accelerate vocational
development by helping people complete each of their career transitions as
successfully as possible, including the transitions entry and re-entry into the
NEW CONCEPT OF CAREER TRANSITION
Our concept of career
transition is related mainly to a psycho-sociological approach. More exactly, it
is based on four principles, which are original and which result from our
research over the last 8 years.
The transitional process is cyclical and continuous. This statement is akin to
conceptions such as Nicholson and West (1989), in which the final stage of the
model is, in fact, the beginning of the next transitional cycle. This idea of
recursiveness, juxtaposed with the transitional phenomenon, appears in our
previous work (Riverin-Simard, 1988; 1991), where it was observed that the
events resulting in career transitions are not exceptional.These events even
appear to cause an uninterrupted sequence of transitions and reconsiderations.
This is an inter-transitional cycle which itself, as we will see later on, gives
rise to an intra-transitional cycle.
Individuals must renew their relationship with the world in order to control
their transitions adequately. This principle explains the concept of transition
in our present program. This obligation to redefine or rebuild a new form of
relationship with one's environment is also discussed by other authors (e.g.,
Schlossberg, 1991). Since the two poles (person and environment) are subject to
constant change, it is obvious that the modes of interaction between the two
also will have to be defined cyclically and continuously. Thus, career
transitions, whatever their nature may be, are always defined as re-examinations
of new modes of relationship to be maintained with the world of work. Therefore,
they implicitly necessitate a complete revision of the interaction between the
individual person P and the environment E. Consequently, as soon as an event is
seen to be a cause of disturbance, individuals, if they are to accomplish their
career transitions successfully.
Renewal of the relationship with the world of work, allowing for its complexity
and its crucial importance, requires that four distinct interactional P-E
dimensions be kept in mind. This principle is original, and results from our
work. Stokols and Altman (1987), after emphasizing that few authors have studied
in depth the philosophical and metatheoretical substrata on which the different
concepts of P-E interaction are founded, propose a terminology for describing
four types of interaction. To our knowledge, no author has yet applied these
different modes of P-E interaction to career transition. Our new program, based
on the work of Altman and Rogoff (1987), stresses the fact that, if individuals
are to succeed in each of their career transitions, they must renew their
interaction with the environment in terms of the four dimensions: analogical,
relational, organismic, and transactional.
(a) Analogical. Faced with a transition the person, P, must become acquainted
with new components of the self and the environment and with the possibilities
of pairing these recent redefinitions of the P and the E;
(b) Relational. People must be able to understand the reciprocal effects of
these two modified entities;
(c) Organismic. People must also reposition themselves while keeping in mind
the future reorientation of their vocational life and the renewal of the
trajectory of the labor market;
(d) Transactional. The person, P, must learn once more how to juggle all the
elements: the unknown, globality (multi-referential aspect), and situational, in
which all the main elements (the P, the E, and also the context C and the
precise moment of interaction T) combine to form, and continually recreate,
Redefinition of the person's relationship with the world of work is effected
through a cycle of revision comprising four stages which match the four modes of
P-E interaction: analogical, relational, organismic and transactional. This
original principle in the conception of transition, is at the foundation of our
present program of assistance. The four principles apply to the process of
analyzing the elements in the transition, seeing how they are related, preparing
to make the transition, achieving stability, and learning how to balance
(juggle) all the factors involved. This is the inter-transitional process of
making a transition from one situation to another. However, the same factors
apply to dealing with a single transition; thus the four dimensions also apply
in an intra-transitional fashion. The inter-transitional process was described
above. The intra- transitional process, and the interventions that are used in
making successful transitions, are outlined below.
New Concept Of Intervention.
In order to simplify this cycle of revision and thus increase the chances for
successful career transitions, the program of assistance in our world advances
the novel postulate that there must be four different educational strategies
corresponding, respectively, to each of the four distinct modes of P-E
Analogical is realized through informational objectives regarding the P-E
similarities or differences.
Relational focuses primarily on a double objective of raising awareness of the
reciprocal P-E actions, and developing interpersonal skills such as persuasion
Anticipation, linked with the organismic approach, is associated with the
development of the skills in projecting the P and the E into future perspectives
and in perceiving the complex interinfluences between these two series of
realities, given that they are each located within a particular future
Transactional focuses on globalization enables one to read a situation globally
and to detect the singular character of that situation. These objectives of the
globalization strategy include an education in tolerating the ambiguity created
by the unknown and unforeseeable character, which is inevitably linked with the
uniqueness of each situation in career transitions.
Some intervention programs have been created in response to the magnitude of
the difficulties that career transitions present for adults. From this
perspective, we have considered an innovative program which aims to improve the
career adaptability of adults seeking employment. In order to do this, we have
based our work on the process of person-environment interaction (P-E), a process
that has been recognized as central to the main theories of vocational choice
and development. We have subsequently refined this "P-E" interaction by
distinguishing four facets that we label analogic, relational, organismic, and
transactional. This latter contribution is one of the principal elements which
assures the innovation of our program.
Altman, I. & Rogoff, B. (1987). World views
in psychology. In D. Stokols & I. Altman (Eds.), Handbook of environmental
psychology (pp. 7-15). New York: John Wiley.
Nicholson, N. & West, M.A. (1989). Transitions, work histories. In M.B.
Arthur, D.T. Hall & B.S. Lawrence (Eds.), Handbook of career theory
(pp.181-202). New York: Cambridge.
Riverin-Simard, D. (1988). Phases of working life. Montreal: Meruduab Press.
Riverin-Simard, D. (1991). Career and social classes. Montreal, PQ: Meridian
Riverin-Simard, D. (In press). Career transitions: Choices and strategies.
Schlossberg, N. K. (1991). A model for analyzing human adaptation to
transition., The Counseling Psychologist, 9(2), 2-18.