Career Chaos: Finding Order through Identity

By Joanne D. Leck and Catherine Mossop.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Career Chaos is defined as the seemingly disorderly process followed when employees shift careers and life directions. Career Chaos occurs when an individual can no longer sustain a particular pattern of behaviour (e.g., employment with an organisation) in the face of change and when that individual sets about re-organising him/herself to accommodate these changes. It is during this time the employee engages in conscious and unconscious self-discovery to evolve to a place where order or comfort is re-established. This is the time chaos theorists describe as the ‘mess’. The period of Career Chaos is not an easy time for people; employees may be less productive and more stressed, absent, or withdrawn. The purpose of this paper is to explore and describe Career Chaos by examining how values guide the individual through his/her reordering process. A sample of 143 managers attending a career management talk completed questionnaires that explored their value systems and other variables, such as job satisfaction, organisational commitment and stress. Results indicate that a common thread runs through what seems to be the turbulent, messy, and disorderly process of career transitions; a search for identity. In other words, a search for an organisation or job with which the individual can identify. Helping individuals become aware of their values can assist them in finding a productive and healthy role in society, as well as reduce many unwanted costs.

Keywords: Careers, Values, Chaos Theory

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.127-136. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 576.522KB).

Dr. Joanne D. Leck

Associate Professor, School of Management, University of Ottawa, Canada

Catherine Mossop

President, Sage Mentors, Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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