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Cases of job loss are widespread but should not be overlooked because changes in income or the shifts in the overall environment can negatively affect the emotional wellbeing of people, thus making it more complicated to transition to a new job and a new stage in life. The assignment aimed to explore the case study of three people of different ages losing a job and identifying the most appropriate strategies to manage the challenges that they encountered. Key components of the assignment the introduction, the discussion on the subjects’ stages of career development, the identification of job loss consequences, recommendations for appropriate assessment and counseling strategies, and considerations of client advocacy. It was found that job loss was a stressful event that had to be addressed in various ways to account for individual client characteristics.
Job loss is a complex stage in anyone’s life as it requires an individual to be prepared for changes and implement new strategies to facilitate his or her job transition as smoothly as possible. This topic has gained massive attention due to the inevitability of career-based transitions; many people in the workforce will have to go through it at some point in their lives. Reasons for job loss and the subsequent need for a career transition may include outsourcing, job exportation, the introduction of automated solutions, or the increased competition in the global market.
This assignment will focus on exploring the case of three employees at different career stages who are faced with job loss. The key purpose is to identify the most appropriate career assessments needed to enhance the transition to another job while also considering the psychological implications of losing a job. Joe (aged 60), Angela (aged 40), and Peter (aged 20) are the three case study subjects in the assignment, each of whom is likely to experience different issues associated with the transition to a new job.
Career Development Stages
Five career development stages have been identified to characterize experiences that workers may go through at particular times in their career. The first stage is exploration, implies the choices that people make when choosing a direction for a career. It usually ends in mid-twenties when people transition from studies to work. Because Peter is only twenty but has already had his first job, he is in-between the stages of exploration and establishment. Angela is at the mid-career stage, approaching the late career. This stage is usually associated with some changes that lead to getting a solid career status. At this point, job loss can be either a positive or a negative event because for many people the mid-career can also be the time for reassessment, changes in career directions or priorities, as well as the discovery of new opportunities. Joe, Angela’s father, is at the decline stage of his career. However, this does not mean that he has exhausted all work opportunities, there are still some alternative options and arrangements that he can pursue before retiring completely (Ellingson & Noe, 2017). Still, not many employers may see Peter as a viable candidate for a new job.
Impact of Job Loss
For Peter, job loss can be an important life experience that he has gone through during early adulthood. It may teach him about the volatility of the labor market, which means that he is now better prepared for any similar situations that can take place in the future. It should be noted that Peter will be distressed by the experience because it may be the first case of a business shutting down and influencing his career. Nevertheless, because he is young and is only exploring his work opportunities, the impact of job loss will not be as severe compared to other members of the family. However, there could be an increased financial dependence on the family due to the loss of income.
For Angela, job loss may bring more adverse outcomes than her son Peter. An adult that lost a job is highly likely to experience multiple mental implications along with the stress associated with the search for a new occupation (Zunker, 2016). Apart from the immediate concerns linked to the changes in career, an adult at the intermediate stage can experience significant challenges associated with the maintenance of self-worth (Zunker, 2016). Emotional well-being can be threatened by the loss of career identity and a regular paycheck. It should be mentioned that women who lose their job experience a decline in their overall health compared to men (Kulik, 2001). This means that in contrast to her son, Angela is more likely to go through emotional and physical distress associated with the loss of the job. It is also important to mention that since Angela is one of the providers for her family (given that her husband has a job), the responsibility of maintaining the financial security of her son and other relatives will be challenging.
For Joe, the loss of his job may not bring many challenges. As found by Feldman (2002), workers in their 50’s and older do not experience much stress due to the considerations of retiring early, exploring new careers, or assuming the role of consultants. Therefore, having more than thirty years of work experience may give Joe an advantage of being more mentally prepared for the loss of the job (Feldman, 2002). However, if there is a direct dependence on him as a provider for his wife and other relatives, the pressure of financial security may be a problem for Joe.
When choosing appropriate career assessments for each family member, their career development levels, as well as concerns linked to job loss, should be evaluated. The Strong Interest Inventory (SII) is the recommended career assessment for Peter because it will help him to identify his interests and decide on a career that he can pursue after losing the job. The rationale for SII selection is associated with the fact that the assessment took not only serves as a counseling method but also as a method for educational guidance. Also, the SII is quick to complete (between 30 and 40 minutes) and will be efficient for a young man looking for new career opportunities. From a cultural perspective, the SII tool does not have any limitations.
The career assessment interview will be the most appropriate tool for Angela. The choice of the interview is explained by the fact that she will need more comprehensive help with her career. Interviews consider personality, social, cultural, and goal-based components of an individual to find the most appropriate solutions to career problems. Cultural considerations, such as Angela being a typical white female in her forties, will be specifically discussed during interviews. When it comes to Joe, the same career assessment method applies because of the history of depression as well as the need to explore opportunities based on his desires and capabilities.
Career Counseling Strategies
An appropriate career counseling strategy for Peter is a mentoring program, which will help him to transition to a new position and acquire new skills and knowledge. Because the assessment showed that Peter lacked direction in his career endeavors, a mentor will be helpful to give advice, seek new opportunities and projects, and get some information about the job market works. Career counseling sessions with a trained specialist are the strategy to apply in Angela’s case because her assessment showed significant distress and the loss of control. Getting a career coach, especially if it is a woman, will be beneficial to Angela regarding making important decisions. The combination of career counseling and group counseling is the chosen strategy for Joe. While individual counseling is necessary to account for his history of depression, group sessions will allow him to share his experiences and get inspiration from others.
Counseling professionals should advocate for fair social change through pushing the agenda of inclusivity, fairness, and accessibility. This means serving clients of all ages, backgrounds, genders, cultures, or races and focusing on addressing their needs. As a counseling professional, educating the community is the most effective thing that can be done concerning client advocacy (Ratts & Pedersen, 2014). This means spreading the message of social justice in discussions, conferences, social media, and when communicating with employers. When companies understand the importance of inclusivity and social justice, the mission of advocacy for career counseling clients will be considered complete.
The case of Peter, Angela, and Joe showed that people at different stages in their life would have various experiences when placed in the same situation. For a young man who is only starting a career, job loss was an important experience that will help think more about choosing a direction for future accomplishments. For a middle-aged woman, job loss was linked to extreme stress and uncertainty, as well as the overall health decline. For a man in his sixties who struggled with depression, job loss had both positive and negative implications – while being stressful and triggering to mental health, it could also facilitate new ideas.
Ellingson, J. E., & Noe, R. A. (Eds.). (2017). Autonomous learning in the workplace. New York, NY: Routledge.
Feldman, D. (Eds.) (2002). Work careers: A developmental perspective. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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Kulik, L. (2001). Impact of length of unemployment and age on jobless men and women: A comparative analysis. Journal of Employment Counseling, 38(1), 15-27.
Ratts, M. J., & Pedersen, P. B. (2014). Counseling for multiculturalism and social justice: Integration, theory, and application (4th ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
Zunker, V. G. (2016). Career counseling: A holistic approach (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.