Friday, 1 July 2022

Parson's three considerations

When we set out to make decisions about our own careers, one writer, Frank Parsons, the American 'founding father' of the career development field, suggested three considerations that we should use to facilitate our decision-making process (1909).

The three considerations are (Parsons, 1909, p. 5):

  1. Who Am I? We need “a clear understanding of [ourselves]"
  2. What does success look like in the work I am considering? We need to have "a knowledge of the requirements and conditions of success [...] in different lines of work"
  3. What gaps are there between (a) and (b)? Be critical, and consider the "true reasoning on the relations of these two groups of facts”.

Our lived experiences through childhood, education and into the world of work are a deep seam we can mine for Parson's (a) and (b) questions. The hardest part to really explore is how to really, accurately consider the comparison, or gap analysis, between the two, for (c).

There are some helpful resources and activities we can use today which make this easier, though, despite the much more complex nature of the world of work. We can draw on the following:

  • O*Net/Careers New Zealand. Both these websites have job descriptions, key industry skills, qualifications, and an analysis of the work detailed for many, many roles. This takes some of the mystique out of a job that may have sounded interesting, but actually leaves us cold
  • Informational Interview. We can use our networks - and our parent's networks - to find someone who works in an industry we are interested in, then arrange to interview them on their role, and how they got there.
  • Job shadow. We can use our networks to find someone who works in an industry we are interested in, then arrange to follow them for a day or two. We could also virtually job shadow by watching YouTube videos on "A day in the life of..." as there is a wealth of content online, such as Employable Me (UK, and Australia), or Career Day (USA). 

I hope this helps!



Careers New Zealand. (2022). Search for a job you'll love.

O*Net. (2022). Find Occupations.

Parsons, F. (1909). Choosing a Vocation. Gay & Hancock Ltd.

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