Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Friday, December 25, 2009

Searching Canadian Think Tank Sites has a big list of Canadian think tank web sites, as I learned this morning from Judy Margolis on LinkedIn in her answer to someone’s question about future trends. Guessing that there might be a lot of ideas of interest to career developers on these sites I quickly whipped up a Google custom search which you can make use of from the right hand column of this blog.

I’ve already noticed that there is advice there for employers considering hiring internationally trained personnel, and a way of defining how tight a job market is. Maybe you will enjoy this too.

Season’s Greetings!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Display Your Credentials

Who provides therapy in an office like this?”, BPS Research Digest Blog, 14 December 2009. For some reason, the more certificates and diplomas a therapist displays for clients the more highly she will be thought of. One would expect something similar to hold for career developers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

We're More Than Myers-Briggs

A couple of weeks ago a friend and colleague, Susan Buckingham of the Niagara West Employment and Learning Centres, offered to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Step II to me—and at the best possible price. Naturally I agreed. I wasn't in the least surprised to find that I came out as an ENFP; nor was I too surprised to learn that I am in the category labelled “Intimate, Reflective” (once I thought about what this means).

As it happens Susan is also an ENFP and I was graceless enough to return her favour to me by asking her to do the Holland-style interest assessment available at I wanted to see how her results might contrast with mine.

Before we get to those results let me say a word or two about livecareer. The basic results from it are free and include percentiles for various scales that can be useful. I am concentrating here on the septagon used to represent scores on the six Holland-style scales plus an additional scale* that, to my knowledge, is unique to this instrument. For easy reference here are some very abbreviated definitions.

Artistic (Creators) - original, creative, expressive
Attentive (Servers)* - enjoy helping and serving others; looking after the comfort and well-being of others
Social (Helpers) - interested in helping to keep others emotionally or physically healthy, or in teaching others
Investigative (Thinkers) - enjoy the challenge of problem solving in mathematics, technology, and sciences
Realistic (Doers) - like physical activity, working with their hands, and are mechanically-inclined
Conventional (Organisers) - enjoy supervising others in jobs where rules and tasks are well defined; detail-orientated, organized, follow instructions well, prefer routine
Enterprising (Persuaders) - like to talk to, influence and persuade others

Here then is the comparison of my livecareer results with Susan’s. My septagon is purple, hers green. At first glance our results may appear sharply and utterly different. However, if we ignore the relative magnitudes of our scores on the Artistic and Social scales, in appreciation of the fact that both of us are 'AS' Holland types, then we see that a clearer pattern emerges. We actually differ in that one of us is Enterprising and the other Investigative. (We still get along amazingly well.)

So what’s the point? I would say it is that there are a lot of ways of slicing and dicing “human nature” and that it’s worth considering a variety of ways of looking at how a client should interface with his life and career. No one instrument does it all.

inkscape is a free software product that made it easy and straightforward to create the image shown above. I am indebted to its makers.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jobs for Career Developers & Related

Started tweeting them today: @BillBell

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Psychological Therapy, II

A couple of months ago I mentioned information about empirically supported psychotherapeutic methods. For anyone interested here's a discussion I found interesting as a recording on the American NPR site.

Professor Diane Chambless made one point that I think is important for career developers as well as psychotherapists. It is that we should maintain records that make it possible for us to discern the varying levels of success achievable using various techniques that we practise, complemented with information obtained from our clients. I notice that some school teachers are already doing this.

Professor Richard McFall made a point in favour of empirical support, citing the importance of efficiency as one possible attribute of a superior treatment. A few years ago I met a psychological group facillitator who said that he had previously been in a form of talk therapy for fifteen years. He strongly suggested that we all follow his example. Even as he was making his suggestion I wondered how one was meant to cope with life’s frequent exigencies waiting for the blessing of a cure. We need therapies that work quickly, if possible.

And, I almost forgot, here is the page with the discussion: The Science of Clinical Psychology (broadcast Friday, December 4th, 2009).

I am again indebted to psydir for pointing this out.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What Good Is LinkedIn?

Although I spend quite a bit of my own time on LinkedIn I suspect that there is considerable truth to this video.

The only real use I make of LinkedIn is as a source of questions. I enjoy trying to work up worthwhile answers. My principal criticism of LinkedIn, conditioned on my own use of it, is that it holds the copyrights to questions and answers.

I saw this video at Grincheux, aux barricades!. See Harold Jarche at The Curmudgeon’s Manifesto for further comment about how we should own and share what we do on the ‘net.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Career Constructivism: Scaffolding

Reading a recent blog item, “You've been framed”, by Professor Steve Wheeler of the University of Plymouth has helped me to clarify some ideas about how constructivism works in career development.

Builders erect scaffolding to enable themselves to complete buildings. By analogy, constructivist educators say that they build scaffolding around ideas that are new to students to help those students to come to grips with them. The human race as a whole would make no progress, however, if we needed someone to build scaffolding for us in order to learn something new about the world. Obviously, therefore, we are all, one way or another, building scaffolding for ourselves.

As career developers we cannot know much about who our clients are or what they might become. We are not experts in that sense. Moreover, there are no plans for these “buildings” and it is no part of our responsibility to provide blueprints. However, we can try to follow what they are expressing closely enough to assist with useful scaffolding so that the client can create the edifice for him or herself.

Interesting enough I think.