Career Defined

In order to understand the term career development, it is useful to consider the term career. Jobs and occupations are part of one's career but are not synonymous with this concept. Jobs and occupations describe groups of tasks or work performances that occur within a workplace and that constitute paid positions that can be identified, applied for, and achieved. But the term career means more than work performance. Among the classic definitions of career is that of Super (1976):

The course of events which constitutes a life; the sequence of occupations and other life roles which combine to express one's commitment to work in his or her total pattern of self-development. . . . Careers exist only as people pursue them. (p. 4)

In a more abstract sense, the term career "can refer to the individual's movement through time and space . . . [and] the intersection of individual biography and social structures" (Collin & Young, 2000, p. 3).

These definitions affirm that careers are unique to each person and created by what one chooses or does not choose. They are dynamic and unfold throughout life. They include not only jobs and occupations but prevocational concerns (school courses, job training) and postvocational concerns (retirement) as well as integration of other roles: family, community, and leisure.

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