The Chaos Theory of Careers
A New Perspective on Working in the Twenty-First Century
Routledge – 2010 – 246 pages
The Chaos Theory of Careers outlines the application of chaos theory to the field of career development. It draws together and extends the work that the authors have been doing over the last 8 to 10 years.
This text represents a new perspective on the nature of career development. It emphasizes the dimensions of careers frequently neglected by contemporary accounts of careers such as the challenges and opportunities of uncertainty, the interconnectedness of current life and the potential for information overload, career wisdom as a response to unplanned change, new approaches to vocational assessment based on emergent thinking, the place of spirituality and the search for meaning and purpose in, with and through work, the integration of being and becoming as dimensions of career development.
It will be vital reading for all those working in and studying career development, either at advanced undergraduate or postgraduate level and provides a new and refreshing approach to this fast changing subject.
Key themes include:
Factors such as complexity, change, and contribution
People's aspirations in relation to work and personal fulfilment
Contemporary realities of career choice, career development and the working world
"In their customary style, Robert Pryor and Jim Bright engage their readers in an insightful consideration of how we live and how we make sense out of living. In this, the most recent and arguably the most comprehensive and practical explication of career chaos theory, Bright and Pryor provide a rich description of what career chaos theory is and, more importantly, how it can be used to foster positive career development in others. The writing style is interesting, thought provoking, and evocative (not comments often attributed to career development texts!). Covering topics spanning from Frank Parsons to fractal geometry and from Donald Super to symmetry patterns, this book brings important energy to a field in need of invigoration and new perspectives. I recommend it as required reading for anyone who is serious about career development theory and practice."
—Spencer G. Niles, Editor, Journal of Counseling & Development and Professor and Department Head, Counselor Education, Counseling Psychology and Rehabilitation Services, Penn State University
"The 21st century world of work is turning the career development field upside down. As a result of these radical changes, our field needs new theories to provide the knowledge base for effective, humane, and ethical counseling for the full range of working people. In adopting chaos theory, we now have a lens to understand and intervene in the work lives of people who are facing an uncertain world, at best. This book is a must-read for counselors and researchers who are trying to understand the postmodern nature of working. I strongly recommend this book; Pryor and Bright have transformed the discourse of our field, embracing the changes that we face. With this publication, Pryor and Bright are leading our field into the 21st century with creativity, passion, and vision."
—David L. Blustein, Ph.D., Professor of Counseling, Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology, Boston College
"In The Chaos Theory of Careers, Pryor and Bright present an innovative model that comprehends the uncertainties and complexities of the work role in contemporary organizations. Using this model, they describe creative counseling methods that enable clients to capitalize on change and chance in designing careers that enact personal meaning and social contribution."
—Mark Savickas, Professor of Behavioral Sciences at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Counselor Education at Kent State University
"This is the book we have all been waiting for. The authors present a readable and detailed account of chaos theory applied to career development. Certainly this represents one of the new faces of career development theory and practice."
—Norman E. Amundson, Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of British Columbia
1. Complexity, Uncertainty and Careers 2. Complexity, Uncertainty and Career Development Theory 3. The Chaos Theory of Careers: Background and Development 4. Chaos Theory of Careers: Attractors 5. Chaos Theory of Careers: Patterns and Fractals 6. Chaos Theory of Career: Research Support 7. Strategies for Chaos Theory Career Counselling and Assessment 8. Practical Applications: For Chaos Theory Counselling and Assessment 9. Practical Applications: Meaning, Purpose & Spirituality 10. Practical Applications: Organizational Development 11. Future Directions
Robert Pryor has worked continuously in the career development field since 1974. For 17 years he was employed with the New South Wales government as a careers counsellor, researcher, trainer, policy analyst and team manager. He has lectured at the University of Sydney, Macquarie University and the University of New South Wales. He has been a Visiting Senior Research Fellow (University of NSW) and is currently Adjunct Professor, School of Education, Australian Catholic University. He is the longest ever serving member of the APS Ethics Committee and has published widely in the field of career development and psychological assessment. He is Elected Fellow of both the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and the Australian Association of Career Counsellors (2007), and a member of the Editorial Board, Australian Journal of Career Development.
Jim Bright enjoys a portfolio career that combines academic research and teaching with management consultancy and journalism. He is a partner in Bright and Associates, a career management consultancy, and Professorial Fellow in Career Education and Development, Australian Catholic University. He is a registered psychologist and has held full-time academic appointments in the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales, Australia and the University of Hertfordshire, UK. He is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and a past Chairman of the National Executive Committee of the Australian Psychological Society College of Organisational Psychologists. He is a Fellow of the Career Development Association of Australia, a member of the National Career Development Association, and an Honorary International Director of the British Columbia Career Development Association. He can be found on his blog about chaos and careers at www.brightandassociates.com.au.