Careers are a big part of a person’s life not only for financial reasons but mental health as well. However, the global recession has brought increased layoffs and a rise in unemployment rate (Martin, 2009). Thus, it is common to find people suffering from mental health issues as a result unemployment. It becomes worse when a person who was previously employed is laid off. The effects of such a situation on people is different depending on their age. The Longevin family, for example, has currently been dealing with the issue of unemployment and the effects it has had on their mental health. Joe of age 60, Angela of age 40 and Peter of age 20 recently lost their jobs, and this news has affected the family members differently. According to Osborn and Zunker (2016), career attitudes differ according to age. While young people may be unsure of which career paths to follow, older people are more grounded in their career paths. Hence, loss of a job they love for the latter may affect them more psychologically.
After losing their jobs, Joe, Angela and Peter undergo different career developmental stages. The three career stages that may relate to the individuals respectively include disengagement, transition, and exploration. For Joe who is in his sixties, losing his job is the beginning of his retirement from formal work. Thus, it may be a stage for him to re-invent himself as he tries to find new interests or renew old ones. Angela, on the other hand, will undergo the transition stage which involves venturing into new career paths. Transition may be a natural step Angela in her 40s as she has more experience in the job market and may have acquired education credentials in her former employment that allow her to transition to another job smoothly. Finally, Peter who is in his exploration stage will embark on trying different careers.
Older people tend to react more negatively to loss of a job associated with a regular paycheck and their identity. Thus, Joe is likely to experience mores stress as a result of the loss of his job. Angela, on the other hand, is likely to experience less stress because Zunker (2016) affirms, many people in their 50s tend to consider losing their jobs early retirement and they are more open to changing to a different job such as assuming a consultant role. Joe, on the other hand, is likely to experience more stress as he is unsure of what career path to take and what career decision to make after the layoff. Job loss will also affect the relationship the individuals have with other people. For Joe, loss of a job means loss of contact with work colleagues and a shrinking social network. Thus, this may further impact negatively on his mental well-being. Angela, on the other hand, may view the loss of her job as a drop-in status among her friends and thus this may affect her mental well-being. Job loss for Joe may have the least impact on his relationship with others. Despite losing direct contacts with work colleagues, he may choose to keep in touch with those closest to him. However, his social network may shrink as well. Job loss may also lead to a shift of roles in the family. Older adults such as Joe and Angela may feel like they have lost control of their own lives and may lack the ability to provide for their families. Peter, on the other hand, may feel it is his responsibility to help out his family. Thus, he may feel pressurized to explore a career path that will enable him to provide for his family in future fully.
Regardless of the different career developmental stages Joe, Angela, and Peter are in, it is clear that career counseling may help them handle the situation and guide them towards making the right career decision. An appropriate counseling strategy of dealing with job loss across people of different ages includes examining the effects of job loss to the three individuals and identify the stressful event each member must cope with after losing their jobs. Developmentally appropriate career assessments will be helpful in guiding a counselor’s work with each client in this case study. Developmentally appropriate career assessments consider some factors such the age, ability, occupational awareness interests of the individual that help determine the best career counseling strategy to use for each. Thus, the assessment strategies may differ depending on the career development stage of the individual. For Peter, the interest test is the most appropriate as it will help him identify interests he wishes to explore after retirement. For Angela, an achievement test will assist identify her acquired skills that allow her to transition to another job. Finally, an ability test will be helpful to peter in figuring out which career paths go in line with his skills and abilities.
In developing career assessment strategies, it is important to ensure that the methods of assessment chosen are culturally appropriate. For each assessment method provided for individuals in the case study must the counselor must check with all the following statements.
1) Is aware of the client’s cultural identification
2) Understands and respects client’s culture
3) Are comfortable confronting racial minority clients
4) Is aware of general stereotypes held about client’s ethnic group
Based on assessment results and the effects of the job loss identified for each client, a counselor will be able to develop the right career counseling strategies. For Joe, the right strategy is one that deals with his likelihood to easily give up through finding interests or narrow down on an interest that he can explore after his retirement. The right career strategy for Angela is one that will ensure that uses the information she has about different careers to make the right decision while concentrating on the right things such as her passions as opposed to making more money. Finally, for Peter, the career counseling strategy chosen is one that helps him what career he wants, why he wants it and how the college degree he is studying relates to the career choice he has made.
- Martin, P. (2009). The recession and migration: alternative scenarios.
- Osborn, D. S., & Zunker, V. G. (2016). Using assessment results for career development (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
- Zunker, V. G. (2016). Career counseling: A holistic approach (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.