Friday, 29 October 2021

Savickas's mini cycles

Considering the Super approach to career stage, most of us become more concrete as we grow the 'normal' life stages of "growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance and disengagement” (Inkson et al., 2015, p. 91; Super, 1957). Super started to also explore the idea that careers can be seen as a series of mini-cycles, resulting from the many transitions that are now normal throughout our life-span (1990). This late-life Super work was expanded by Savickas (2012), who proposes that, as our self-concept evolves as we age, instead of just the big, grand gestures, we must also consider 'mini cycles'. 

Mini-cycles may appear as natural disruptors, each time our career meets an unexpected - or destabilising - event. These events may be either positive or negative. They may include job loss, injury, illnesses, divorce, marriage, relocation, professionalisation, family growth, or reduction (Inkson et al., 2015). There are the small cycles (Savickas, 1997) within the Super cycles (1957).

This adaptability as enabling continuous change so we better fit our work to our AND our organisation's changed circumstances (Savickas, 1997). Mini cycles force us to focus on the ongoing need to respond to novel situations (Savickas, 1997). Career adaptability is the readiness to cope with both predictable and unpredictable tasks connected with preparing for and participating in a work role, and to adjust to changes in work and working conditions (Savickas, 1997). 

By focusing on our mini cycles, we can reduce the size of our canvas so we are better able to tackle a particular event and to develop a targeted strategy. By reducing our scope we improve our ability to digest the work before us, avoiding overwhelming ourselves  (Savickas et al., 2009)

To be successful in today's work environment, and to prepare for the mini cycles, we all need to be "lifelong learners who can use sophisticated technologies, embrace flexibility rather than stability, maintain employability, and create their own opportunities" (Savickas et al., 2009, p. 242). By taking a mini-cycle approach, we can expect our work lives to "unfold" as "explorative and developmental activities that may or may not build on earlier work experiences" (Savickas et al., 2009, p. 242). 

Then the world becomes our mini cycle.



  • Inkson, K., Dries, N., & Arnold, J. (2015). Understanding Careers (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • Savickas, M. L. (1997). Career adaptability: An integrative construct for life‐span, life‐space theory. The Career Development Quarterly, 45(3), 247-259.
  • Savickas, M. L. (2012). Life design: A paradigm for career intervention in the 21st century. Journal of Counseling and Development, 90(1), 13-19.
  • Savickas, M. L. (2021). Chapter 6: Career Construction Theory and Counseling Model. In S. D., Brown, & R. W. Lent, (Eds) Career Development and Counseling: Putting theory and research to work (3rd ed., p. 165-199). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 
  • Savickas, M. L., Nota, L., Rossier, J., Dauwalder, J. P., Duarte, M. E., Guichard, J., ... & Van Vianen, A. E. (2009). Life designing: A paradigm for career construction in the 21st century. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 75(3), 239-250.
  • Super, D. E. (1990). A life-span, life-space approach to career development. In D. Brown, L. Brooks & Associates (Eds.) Career choice and development: Applying contemporary theory to practice (2nd ed., pp. 197–261).  Jossey-Bass. 
  • Super, D. E. (1957). The Psychology of Careers: An introduction to vocational development. Harper & Bros.

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