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Assumptions Concerning Occupations

The first basic assumption made here about occupations is that work is not a cur
se; rather, work under proper conditions and in the proper amount is a blessing.
Writing on this subject, G. B. Childs says:
Work is good. Non-work is bad. He who works is good. He is industrious, providen
t, a contributor to society, a wage earner. He who does not work is improvident,
shiftless, indolent, and a hindrance rather than an asset to society. While in
our benevolence we cannot let him starve, neither should he receive more than a
bare subsistence lest we encourage him in his slothful ways [7, pp. 4].
Work not only enables one to support himself, his dependents, and his government
, but also is fundamentally worthwhile in itself. Through responsible and social
ly desirable work one attains self-realization and fulfillment, contributes to s
ociety, and attains personal dignity and social acceptance. Through responsible
work youth gain admission to the adult world, a goal eagerly sought by youth for
generations untold.
While all honest work that serves the welfare of mankind is honorable, occupatio
ns nevertheless do vary in the prestige accorded them by society. This must be d
ealt with in vocational guidance. From the standpoint of public health, the garb
age collector may be just as important, if not more so, than the physician, but
he is not so acknowledged on the "totem pole of job prestige." Because of this f
actor of prestige the school counselor will frequently have to struggle with stu
dents and their parents who have aspira tions which are obviously unrealistic. H
e will have the task of looking objectively at the assets and liabilities of ind
ividuals on the one hand and the opportunities and requirements of occupations o
n the other. This will be discussed further in Chapter 8.
Different occupations make different demands. For example, some occupations requ
ire the worker to deal predominantly with ideas, others with things, still other
s with people. Certain occupations require work indoors, often sedentary in natu
re, others, outdoors. Occupations can demand varying training periods . Large, s
trong physiques are necessary for some jobs. In some occupations physical handic
aps would prevent employment, while in others these would not matter. High degre
es of psychomotor skills are sometimes demanded. Occupations such as farming' re
quire thousands of dollars in capital to establish on a profitable basis, while
others require practically no capital.
In nearly every occupation there are skills, procedures, and insights which are
peculiar to that occupation and which the worker mustmaster to perform the dutie
s of his job. It is the purpose of vocational education of whatever level to dev
elop these skills, job procedures and insights for the different occupations. Bu
t there are also certain "common success factors" which apply to most, if not al
l, occupations. Among these are a mastery of the fundamental tool subjects-readi
ng, writing, oral communication, and arithmetic a willingness to work, cooperati
on, dependability, honesty, constructive attitudes, promptness, responsibility,
and loyalty. Youth are not born with these. It is the responsibility of the home
, the church, the school, the Boy and Girl Scouts, and all other youth serving a
gencies to develop these "common success factors." Many times these factors have
been the most neglected aspect in preparing youth for entering the world of wor
Occupations also differ significantly in the opportunities they offer to the wor
ker. Some occupations provide an opportunity to be self-employed, in some one mu
st work as an employee and take directions from others. Wages vary. Travel, prom
otions, creativity, monotony, and safety are other factors which differ from job
to job. Labor market demands also vary.
Most, if not all, occupations undergo constant change. These changes are due to
technological developments, such as automation, and to regulations and pressures

It is sometimes made as much by accident as by design. OCCUPATIONAL CHOICE A PROCESS. it frequently goes through progressi ve stages. and possibilities for success. clearly has the responsibility of helping him to think and plan in terms of something more appropriate. These developments cause some occupations to disappear. the wor ker will have to run at full speed to stay where he is. new on es to arise. and probably her parents. From th e standpoint of society. If he is not concerned with realistic choices. not as an independent event. For exam ple. WHEN TO MAKE OCCUPATIONAL CHOICES Some individuals may be wise to make occupational choices early in high school. he will have the responsibility of helping the girl. and since vocational counselors must work constantly with vocat ional education. among others. and consumer groups. Because of his training. ke yed to job families. From the standpoint of the in dividual. he has his work cut out for him. governmental agencies. the ideal choice contributes to a balance between labor supply and demand.imposed by professional organizations. and others to change. later. Sound v . leaving more specialized training to be done at the post-hi gh-school level or on a part-time basis in connection with early employment. he may ignore this situation. However. and useful life to the fullest extent of his ability. it is desirable to discuss a few fundamental assumptions about vocational education that may be helpful to the counselor. to make realistic choices. In some occupations. when the counselor is d ealing with an extremely bright girl. knowing that the boy can never gain admission to medical school or engineering college. and results in optimum use of human resources. it is wise in most cases to provide pre-employment vocational education of a generic character. and position the vo cational counselor has a moral obligation to assist individuals in gaining the n ecessary insights. This will enable them to take advantage of some pre-employment training for an entry-level job. so that the individual can work and live a happy. In all events" however. Occupational choice is an evolving process. NOT AN EVENT Occupational choice is regarded here as a process. who is satisfied to think and plan in term s of an occupation far below her ability level. labor unions. and in terms of the labor market situation and the opportunities and requirements of occupations. but otherwi se he will try to change it. Assumptions Concerning Occupational Choice FREEDOM OF OCCUPATIONAL CHOICE Freedom to choose one's occupation is a fundamental right ina free society. th e counselor. occu pations seek people while people seek occupations. aptitudes. computer programing for example. It is quite normal for youth to change their ideas about what o ccupation they want to follow. others. when a boy with an IQ of 80 says he is going to be a doctor or engineer. youth should make at least a tentative ch oice of a job family prior to severing their relation with the full-time school. OCCUPATIONAL CHOICES SHOULD BE REALISTIC Occupational choices should be realistic in terms of the individual's abilities. Conversely. VOCATIONAL EDUCATION IS PAY-CHECK EDUCATION Vocational education is in no sense a substitute for academic education. to elevate her goals. Moreover. And when th e counselor discovers that from 40 to 55 per cent of the high school student bod y indicate that they plan to work in the professions where less than 17 per cent can hope to find employment by 1980. the ideal choice is one which results in an optimum alignment of indiv idual assets with job opportunities. Assumptions Concerning Vocational Education Since vocational guidance is regarded as an essential ancillary service to vocat ional education. In the years ahead workers in nearly all occu pations will be confronted with the necessity of keeping up on their jobs or bec oming out-of-date. successful. For this reason.. experience. and this freedom must be respected. interests. freedom of occupational choice can be l ittle more than a myth unless the individual is aware of his own assets and liab ilities and of the occupational opportunities available to him and the demands t hey make of the worker.

but the final measure is the product. More specifically (l) what percen tage of the trainees are placed in the occupations for which they are trained or a closely related one where the training received will be applicable. an occupational choice sho uld be a prerequisite to enrollment. oral communications. As a matter of fact. that is. it would logically precede bona fide vocational educa tion which is given in the upper grades in high school and at the post-secondary level. current developments in career education indicate that thi s type of school activity may be made a requirement in public schools. Pre-employment vocational educatio n is generally keyed to job families. and the manner of life they are able to live by reason of their training? . In either case. writing. usually given in grades 7 through 10. bona fide vocational educat ion presupposes that the enrollee intends to work at the thing he is being prepa red to do. pre-vocational education should be open to all comers. Unlike bona fide vocation al (pay-check) education.ocational education must be based on a knowledge of the fundamental tool subject s-s-reading. the structu re and organization can be examined to ascertain its suitability for the task at hand. and (3) how well satisfied as in dividuals are these trainees with the training they received. while in-service vocational education usua lly deals with a specific occupation. As such. The former is usually provided during the day as a full-time program and. or in a related occupation where the skills and technical knowledge d eveloped will be applicable. after employment has begun. extending in some places to the elementary grades. THE MEASURE OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION In appraising the effectiveness of any vocational education program. (2) how s uccessful are these trainees in the performance of their jobs in comparison to o thers of comparable age who lack such training. Vocational educa tion is not a school subject intended just to provide something more palatable f or non-academic boys and girls or to retain them in school on a custodial basis until they mature. PRE-VOCATIONAL EDUCATION Pre-vocational education is an occupationally-oriented program. the progress they are making on their jobs. Bona fide vocational education is "pay-check education. by definition. The latter may be either a day or evening program and is given supplementary to emp loyment. PRE-EMPLOYMENT VS INSERVICE VOCATIONAL EDUCATION There are two types of vocational education: pre-employment vocational education and in-service vocational education. which is designed to provide exploratory (career developin g) experiences to enable the individual to try himself in certain activities and to learn about occupations." It i s provided for the purpose of preparing people for remunerative employment in go ods and service producing occupations and for increasing the efficiency of those already so employed. so that he may gain an understanding and appreciati on of the importance of productive work and ultimately make a more realistic occ upational choice. is given prior to employment. and number concepts. The processes involved in performing its function can be appraised and ev aluated. In other words.