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Running head: CAREER AUTOBIOGRAPHY

The Career Autobiography of Stella Oloyede Abiola Stella Oloyede Georgia Southern University COUN 7336-A: Career Counseling February 9, 2014

CAREER AUTOBIOGRAPHY Abstract

My career path is still in progress; I have not reached the apex of my careers mountain, but I am no longer in its valley either. As I have progressed through my collegiate and graduate education, I have seen how my various, individual pursuits weave so seamlessly together. If there is one career development theory that I see my personal experience reflected in, it is Supers Life-Span, Life-Space Theory. My career development into a counselor has been molded through the development of my self-characteristics and self-concepts. Niles and Harris-Bowlsbey (2013) explained career development as being a lifelong process (pg. 49). Through the breadth of this paper, it is my hope that it will be clear how my personal development connects my educational present with my intended careers future.

CAREER AUTOBIOGRAPHY The Career Autobiography of Stella Oloyede A Lifelong Process: From Career Maturity to Career Adaptability I can trace my career development back to my childhood. Growing up, I always knew I

wanted to be a doctor. My motherbeing a nurseinstilled in me the love of serving and taking care of people. Until I was in the fifth grade, I desperately wanted to be an obstetrician/gynecologist. I truly believed that I was going to serve people through giving birth to their children. I begged my mother to allow me to be a nanny for my aunts, and I saved my money to buy multiple baby dolls. Niles snd Harris-Bowlsbey (2013) asserted that early in life, much of a childs career development is homogenous and deals greatly with the childs age and educational expectations. In fifth grade, my class was instructed to research our career of choice. As I excitedly researched the educational requirements of being an OB/GYN, I quickly changed my mind; so much accelerated math and science courses were required. I knew the STEM areas were not my strongest academic areas. So I quickly abandoned that and abandoned focusing on my future career for a long while. Careers develop within the context of psychosocial development and societal expectations and against the backdrop of the occupational opportunity structure (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2013, pg. 49). In the seventh grade I began to notice a significant pattern within my friendships. Since about the first grade, I was always the person my friends confided in about what they were going through. I was always the friend that everyone felt would listen to them, and I took pride in being the person people trusted in such a way. Personally, I always chose the sensible path with my decisions because, just as Niles and Harris-Bowlsbey (2013) affirmed, childrenrealizethat their behavior in the present influences their future lives (pg. 51). I took my life and my choices very seriously, doing my best to not jeopardize whatever good

CAREER AUTOBIOGRAPHY my future had in store for me. Just listening to my friends issues, I knew that I could not allow myself to make the same decisions as them. That resolution evolved into my advising them on their situations, and I began to see that my advice made sense and usually worked if they followed what I suggested. Adult careers develop in response to the challenges presented byevolving patterns of life-role participation (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2013, pg. 50). As I was helping my friends, I had my own environmental influences that were shaping me into becoming a counselor. I was being bullied at school and by my best friend, and I was being verbally and emotionally abused at home by my father. I developed a subjective self-concept of myself from the lens of my emotional pain, and began writing poems about the brokenness of my heart and the insanity of my brain. This led me to research about the heart and brain and how emotional distress affects their functionality, and sparked so much interest in how they operate. This is how I became

interested in psychology, and I fell in love. So much so that it led to me pursuing (and receiving) a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Psychology. Eventually, I worked through my personal emotional distress through my writings, and I felt a different type of healing; it was more emotional than physical, but some mental wounds still managed to remain. The more my friends came to me with their problems, the more I helped my friends through grade school and college, the more my serving nature tied into mental health through clinical psychologyor so I thought. Niles and Harris-Bowlsbey (2013) defined the term career adaptability as being heterogeneous, and it is when adults cope with their changing work and working conditions and it makes an impact on their environments and their environments make an impact on them (pg. 50). As I worked on my psychology degree, the demand for research more than emotional wellness began to take a toll on me. I thought I wanted to pursue

CAREER AUTOBIOGRAPHY my graduate education in clinical psychology, but I did not feel fulfilled in my research classes and I changed my mind about becoming a clinical psychologist. Niles and Harris-Bowlsbey (2013) supported my feelings, stating that complacency becomes the enemy of effective career self-management (pg. 50). It seemed that I always gravitated toward my people-centered psychology classes. So in the second semester of my senior year in college, I applied for a

Masters of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Then, everything about my life, my emotional distress, and my desire to serve fused together. Based upon the four life-span development stages of Supers theory, I have thus far experienced growth and exploration within my careers development. When I chose to forego becoming an OB/GYN as well as further pursuing clinical psychology, I was exercising my ability to use what I had learned about myself and psychology thus far to decide which career I truly felt was purposed for me. This is detailed in the growth stage of the Life-Span, LifeSpace Theory. I am on the cusp of the exploration and establishment stages of my career. I am still in pursuit of my Masters degree, and am hopeful that I will continue my education through a PhD in Counselor Education this upcoming fall semester. Therefore, I am currently unable to fully establish my career by entering the work environment (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2013). However, I have crystallized my desire to serve others through mental health counseling. So, although I will not be a medical doctor like I initially desired in my childhood, I will still be a doctor. In My Life Space: Working to Live and Give I have an odd and sometimes unsettling truth about my working self-identityI abhor knowing that I am doing work while I am working. I try to steer away from the tedious tasks that drive others to dread waking up every morning. It, in turn, drives to pursue my passions and

CAREER AUTOBIOGRAPHY purpose instead of a particular profession. Yet even still, I always seem to wrestle with the administrative aspects of any job I do. I truly believe that it is not within my nature to be someone elses longtime employee, spending the majority of my adult days stressing to meet other people's standards in order to provide for myself and my family. It is quite possible that I inherited such a belief from my father. Both of my parents are from Nigeria, and grew up in their respective households with parents who were the bosses of their friends parents. Wanting to take after his father, my fathers lifelong desire has been to be an entrepreneur, and though he is, he is unsuccessful. My mother is the complete antithesis of my father; she loves the stability of working for someone else and receiving benefits and constant pay, and she found that in healthcareas a Registered Nurse. She does not like to stress about from where and when her next paycheck will come. Seeing my father stress and suffer with his failing businesses only solidified my mothers desire

for structured occupations for herself and her children. While I do not want to work for someone else, I do not want to struggle to be successfully my own boss. The longest job I have ever maintained has been for a year and a half, and I have wanted to quit it since I made it to my one-year mark. It is because I am working for someone else on their schedule, and it rips at me. I know that working under someone else is necessary for the development of my career skills, need for career mentorship, and as a time-filler until I can reach establishment and maintenance in Supers theory. Moreover, I know that I must work in order to live the life I love. Niles and Harris-Bowlsbey (2013) proclaimed that as people are working; they are also busy living their lives, fulfilling their multiple life roles. For me, it is necessary to work in order to provide and efficiently meet my current and future life roles as a student, daughter, sister, mother, and wife. These current and future roles affect my life-role saliency in a

CAREER AUTOBIOGRAPHY very personal and emotional way providing for the people affected by my roles brings

satisfaction to my soul. Seeing them satisfied and their needs met brings me peace. That is why I continue to work as I am still in my training in counseling. By focusing on my career development tasks such as my internships, I am taking the steps necessary to solidify my dream to be self-employed before I am thirty years of age. Supers theory equipped me with the knowledge to translate my defining life experiences into a timeline that has aptly foretold my career of choice. This movement toward career stability in order to maintain my life-role saliency ties into my career in a fluid way. Through counseling, I have found congruency between my personal nature and my occupational satisfaction. I can be autonomous within counseling, and do not have to battle with whether I am serving others in order to survive, or serving them in order to help them live. I know that I will have clients in emotional distress over their current place in their careers and lives. Through the exploration of the personal meaning they put on their life-roles, as well as the Adult Career Concerns Inventory that Super and his colleagues developed (Niles & Harris-Bowlesbey, 2013), I hope to empower my clients with the tools to help them through their career apprehensions. Understanding what they are experiencingthrough my own unique and personal experiences I can help them navigate the uncertain paths to finding career satisfaction.

CAREER AUTOBIOGRAPHY

References Niles, S.G., Harris-Bowlesbey, J. (2013). Career development interventions in the 21st century (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.