A year ago today, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Many of us packed up our desks that week and haven’t returned since. As career professionals rapidly pivoted to develop new ways to serve clients and students, CERIC worked to find new ways to support you. On CareerWise, we checked in on how career professionals were doing, shared advice on dealing with career uncertainty and picked up tips on how to work from home effectively. In lieu of a planned spring conferences roundup, we published an extensive list of COVID-19 resources for career professionals that quickly became our top-read article of all time.
We are still facing immense challenges one year later. But on the horizon, the prospect of “life after COVID” is gradually coming into focus. There is hope for the future – a vital ingredient in career development and general well-being. In that spirit, this article presents eight articles from CERIC’s CareerWise, Careering magazine and Canadian Journal of Career Development that explore the connections between hope and career development.
“Young people are particularly vulnerable to social pressures, believing that their peers are leaving them in the dust and that they are running out of time. This can generate feelings of regret and guilt at having missed the opportunity to make the “right” choice and lead to a fatalistic view that connects their current uncertainty with a belief that they will not be able to have a satisfying career … Helping move clients out of these unhelpful beliefs can be challenging, as clients lacking hope for their career future can understandably question the value of taking action. Two books I draw from regularly to serve as lanterns in the darkness are Range (and the associated TED Talk) by David Epstein and Commanding Hope by Thomas Homer-Dixon.” – Trevor Lehmann, University of Manitoba
“Pathways design may now be understood as obvious ine nsuring comprehensive support. None of the four supports (academic, social, financial, and advocacy) is unique. What is perhaps innovative is the particular form, combination and integrated delivery of these supports, coupled with a commitment to ongoing research and program improvement. At the time, however, the idea of operationalizing supports which directly responded to the lived experience of young people and their parents was – and perhaps still is – impressively innovative.” – Carolyn Acker & Norman Rowen, The Pathways to Education Program
“Hope may be defined as an emotion, a feeling. It’s a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. It’s a feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. While it can be described as a feeling, it can also be characterized as a ‘thought process’ and when seen this way, it becomes something that can be learned. As teachers and counsellors, we can encourage and model hopeful thinking. Hopeful people are optimistic and determined. They learn that they are not passive recipients of what happens, but active players in their future.” – Lynn Sadlowski, Xello
“There is considerable literature describing the negative impact of unemployment. The research highlights how being unemployed impacts relationships, one’s sense of identity, life purpose and physical well-being. There are often feelings of isolation, depression, anger, low self-esteem and hopelessness. One of the challenges for unemployed clients is to maintain a sense of hopefulness and agency during a time when it is very easy to succumb to negative emotions and thoughts. There are many competencies and actions associated with successful job search; these activities will be easier to accomplish when the starting point of engagement is building action-oriented hope.” – Norman Amundson, Tannis Goddard, Spencer Niles and Hyung Joon Yoon
Bonus: Learn more about this CERIC-supported research into Hope-Centred Career Interventions by reading the research report and watching the free webinar.
“Canada geese walked freely in this women’s prison grounds; inmates and volunteers did not. It looked foreboding at first. Large circles of barbed wire ringed the facility. An escort took us through security, guards carried lots of keys. The women were dressed in identical, khaki prison clothes. There was a 10-minute window each hour to move locations – from work or a housing unit to our classroom in the chapel complex. Hard to keep hope alive in this setting, you might think. And yet, that is what the prison staff tried to do, and that is what the career class series I taught in a California prison was all about. What keeps hope alive if you are involved in the criminal justice system? In this article, we explore how those of us in the career field can address this question.” – Ron Elsdon, author, business founder
“For most of us in Canada, there has been no other time like this. The popular expression ‘who knew?’ takes on a deeper significance when we consider how an unforeseen event like this could have such a sweeping impact on our lives and the lives of people around the globe. We have seen unprecedented job loss … Like so many industries, career development service delivery has had to pivot from ‘high touch’ to physically distanced in a very short time. What does this mean in terms of our collective commitment to serve our clients? May the following strategies serve as guidance or simply reminders of the very actions many of you are already taking.” – Karen Begemann, Work Matters Consulting
“Since immigrants’ hope for a better future may be diminished by barriers encountered in the new country, career counselling with this population involves restoration of hope. With a sense of hope, an immigrant client will be able to envision meaningful goals and believe that positive outcomes are likely to occur if specific actions are taken (Niles, Amundson & Neault,2011). The counselling process can increase the level of hopeful-ness through several mechanisms. A trusting counselling relationship characterized by a true understanding of circumstances surrounding the immigrant client’s career transition is crucial.” – Tatjana Elez, University of British Columbia
“Even while traversing the long shadows cast by a corporate downsize, unexpected move or life change, we continue to look for concrete steps to help clients to move toward a brighter future. Hope is a constant presence in our careers and our lives and it is flexible, requiring reshaping from time to time depending on the situation. However, we are sometimes confronted with circumstances that challenge or even defy hope for a better future. Eight months ago, I had the privilege of completing a practicum with spiritual health practitioners in a hospital setting. As I met with patients nearing the end of their life, I wondered, how do we maintain the light of hope as the sun is setting?” – Trevor Lehmann, University of Manitoba