Interviews And Their Career Planning And Development

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Surin, currently a Senior Accountant started out as an accounts clerk at the Singapore Airlines after graduated with a certificate from London Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI). She then moved to Western Atlas Inc where she was in charge of account receivable after working at the Singapore Airlines for 5 years. Her reason for the resignation from the Singapore Airlines was that she saw no prospects in the company. She also mentioned that she was not given the opportunity to apply what she has learnt from LCCI as most of the work scope was not related to accounting. Therefore, she went over to Western Atlas Inc where she could value add and explore other opportunities. However, after 2.5 years at Western Atlas Inc, Surin quit her job even before the retrenchment as the company was relocated to Malaysia.

Surin later joined Compaq where she worked for 10 years. She shared that the company made her realized the importance of qualifications where she eventually got her Diploma in Commerce through sponsorship from the company. She emphasized that good company management and work environment is the key to job satisfactory. She shared that she has great interest in analyzing data and number and Compaq has given lots of opportunities to fuel her passion where she picked up numerous skills and knowledge. She specifically mentioned that flexibility, communication skills and time management are especially important to keep up in the fast pace and challenging work environment. Her willingness to learn and share and hard work has eventually paid off when she was promoted to Associate Accountant.

Not long after Hewlett-Packard (HP) merged with Compaq, Surin accepted a job offer at Symantec from her ex-manager from Compaq whom she thinks Surin deserve a better prospect and it will be a waste of talent if she remained in HP. She shared that Compaq staffs were not well treated and was doing work which did not justify her salary. Surin saw the job offer as an opportunity to manage people as she was given a Senior Accountant position. Being a proactive and sociable individual she was also made the manager of the company's global payroll where she is involved in lots of projects. She shared that it can be very stressful with all the projects deadlines but by planning ahead in a systematic order, such stress can be greatly reduced. As a manager, stress management is important; she mentioned that is especially so when the management of the company always looks at cost effectiveness by employing temp staffs and still demand for quality work. This can be a problem when temporary stuffs could not produce quality work. When such problems arise, she preferred solving the problem quickly on her own and does not like to wait for someone to solve it as it will take quite some time. She also emphasized that good work-life balance is crucial to reduce one's stress.

Surin added that in her early part of her career she was motivated by her great passion in analyzing numbers and figures as well as the hunger for skills and knowledge. However, over the years, she realizes that gaining recognition is also one of her motivator. As a mother of two, her greatest source motivation is her family, she also shared that her drive in work was when her husband got retrenched and she had to provide for the family.

Career Theories 1

Several career theories can be identified and use to explain Surin's career development. The first theory that proposed by Holland, categorized personalities and environments into six model types. The model types include Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional and based on Surin's interview, it is evident that she belongs to the CRI type Surin believes that when problems arise, it is best to settle it as soon as possible and not procrastinate. This shows her interest in solving problems by doing. In addition, Surin enjoy working with computer which explained her realistic personality. Next, her investigative personality is shown by her great interest in analyzing data and numbers where she ensures that there are no mistakes in payroll processes. Lastly, the ability to plan ahead in an orderly and organized manner to meet deadlines brings out the conventional personality in her.

From this, we can see that Holland's theory have shown Surin's personality profile clearly suits the work environment's personality profile, which resulted in satisfaction and success in her career. On the other hand, if companies with organization structure consist of project teams they would have a group of people with different personalities. Since, Surin is a manager who manage a global team therefore she often work with people are of different personalities as her, hence Holland's theory may some limitations in this case.

Next we look at Parsons' Theory (1908). Surin had a clear understanding of her individual interests and abilities, where she mentioned that she has a great interest in numbers. She also has the ability to see and know what she want in order achieve the thing. However, Parsons' Theory fails to explain other factors such as individual aptitudes and the work environment that influence an individual's career choice.

Interviewee 2

Esther was the head prefect during her secondary school days and this has her given many chances to lead her peers and she enjoyed the speaking in front of a class as well as helped her friends in their homework. Esther shared that she has great interest in teaching and was inspired by her teacher to teach. Upon graduation from secondary school she decided to purse Early Childhood Education which she felt that this course will help her make her way to become a good teacher. She also added that her mother had been encouraging her to go into teaching career as it is a safe and secure job.

After graduating with a diploma in Early Childhood, Esther took up a role as a toddler teacher in a childcare centre for 3 years. This job requires her to plan the curriculum activities and also perform routine care to the toddlers. During these 3 years, Esther felt challenged as she felt that she could not connect and control the toddler well.

After which, Esther realised that her passion for teaching was not for the toddlers, so she moved on to work in TOUCH Centre for Independent Living as a teacher for near 3 years. In this job, she teaches basic functional knowledge and skills to her client. Her clients are people from different age group ranging from 18 to 50 who are intellectually disabled. Due to Esther's passion towards special needs people, she enjoyed her teaching them. In spite of her great passion, she decided to leave as she felt that this job did not give her a good job prospect and she would like to further her studies.

Esther continued to pursue her passion for teaching and she went on to take up Diploma in Education which was eventually her current career as primary school teacher for the past 4 years. Other than teaching her core subjects, she would need to have close contact with parents regarding their child as well as churning out report card. Also, Esther was also given opportunities to plan certain event for the school.

Esther shared that her career gives her a sense of achievement when she see her student soar in their results and character. Furthermore, she would like to be given more leadership opportunities where she can place some policies into actions to benefit the students. Her goal in this career is to see her student excel in both school work and character. The thought of being able to see her student everyday and the different challenges they are going to keeps her motivated me to be in this career. She also claimed that it is her passion to teach and also the belief in religion keeps her going.

Esther shared that classroom management, crisis management for unforeseen circumstances are important for her current career. Instead of shouting at her students, she will find different ways to manage them. Being a cheerful and bubbly person, Esther finds difficulties in teaching self discipline to her students and she will usually seek advices from the senior teachers.

When there is an office politics, Esther will usually turn a deaf ear towards it and not let it affect her. Esther shared that she is open to listen to constructive feedback and try to improve on it. Some challenges she faced are the demands of the school syllabus to be met and the demand of parents who are sometimes overly concerned about their children. To overcome these, she will plan her lesson at least one week before to achieve her objectives. Esther will also drop short notes to her student parents so that they will be notified on what has happened in school.

Career Theories 2

Through Esther's career history, she has been a teacher for the past 10 years from a childcare to special needs and finally primary school teacher. Therefore, using Parson's Theory, it could be used to explain that Esther had a clear understanding of her skills and talent in her career and understood the knowledge and requirement in this industry.

In Krumboltz's Theory, there are four factors that interact and affect the processes in career decision making. These factors are genetic endowment, environmental conditions, learning experience and task approach skills. Esther was known to be a bubbly and cheerful youth among her peers, also her ability to lead and influence the people around her was recognized by her teacher. These factors are considered as genetic endowment which helped her in career decision making.

In addition, Esther grew up in an environment where her mother encourages her to be a teacher which sparks her interest in teaching. Her interest grew into passion was when she heard stories and advices from her teachers. This explains how Esther developed her passion in teaching through environmental condition.

However, Krumboltz Theory did not mention about job satisfaction being part of career decision making process. Nowadays, individuals increasingly perceive job satisfaction as a factor when considering the choice of job.

Interviewee 3

Mrs Yeo graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a minor in Business. She shared that when she was young, she always wanted to a business woman due to the fact that she is an outgoing and talkative person. She also mentioned that during her undergraduate years she was determined to reach her goal as a business woman even she did not get into Business course due to her grades. She started as a staff in the Human Resource department with Ministry of Home Affairs and was in charge of handling Recruitment and Retention Policies for Ministry of Home Affairs for near to 4 years. During the 4 years, there was no advancement in her career hence she decided to look into teaching career. Also, Mrs Yeo would like to help and change lives of youths and therefore decided to embark on the teaching career.

After 12 years in the teaching industry, Mrs Yeo is currently the Head of Department (HOD) of Science shared that the meaning of being a teacher has changed for her over the years. For the first 5 years in her teaching career, it was passion and job recognition that drive her to work hard, since then she mentioned she suffered a burnout and her passion for teaching has waned. She added that she is still in teaching because of the salary and also mentioned that without job satisfaction, it will be unsustainable.

When questioned about what kept her going for the past 6 years, Mrs Yeo shared that she believes in setting high expectations for herself and put in her best effort in everything she does. Once she started something, she will complete the task no matter what comes in her way. She added that this is part of her character and thus this is one of the reasons why she can make to be the HOD of science even when her passion has died down.

Mrs Yeo shared that teaching as a career is not just teaching, not only you have to monitor the behavior and academic of students, there are also other things such as, to be in charge of co-curricular activities as well as administrative matters for the students and school. She mentioned that the workload is quite heavy and in many occasion she will have to work during the weekends which resulted in eating into her family time. In addition, as the excess workload has killed her interests and hobbies as she has no time for them.

Her biggest challenge in her teaching career was to motivate the unmotivated and she overcame this problem through open communication channels. However, she added that it is the heavy administrative matters and CCAs and not teaching that cause the change in mindset.

Ms Yeo considered people skills, flexibility and multi-tasking are essential in any occupation not only teaching. Given her heavy workload she mentioned that she has yet learned to cope with stress, but she seek religion and family as a source of reducing her stresses.

Career Theories 3

Based on Mrs Yeo's interview we can spot some similarities that align with Super's theory, and we would specifically talk about the first 4 stages namely Growth, Exploration, Establishment and Maintenance. In the early part of Mrs Yeo's life she mentioned about being a business woman and eventually taking a minor in Business, this explains the Growth and Exploration stages of her life. Mrs Yeo integrates her self-concept into the career decision making process, in other words, she thinks her sociable and communication skills have what it takes to achieve her tentative vocational preference. As an undergraduate, Mrs Yeo could not make it into Business course, but she is still determined to make her way into Business sector by minoring in business (Crystallization). Upon graduation, Mrs Yeo self-concept had yet change however she did not have the required knowledge to be a business woman hence she turned to Human Resource management instead. This is when her tentative vocational preference became specific vocational preferences (Specification) and after which she was employed as HR at Ministry of Home Affairs (Implementation).

After 3.5 years, Mrs Yeo changed her self-concept and underwent a mid-career switch to become a teacher, where her abilities and personality traits matches the occupation. This might be the reason for her rapid progression in leadership roles and got promoted to become the HOD of science. Based on the following, we can identify that Mrs Yeo has reached career maturity as she is considered successful in her current career.

Super's Theory also addresses issues on the relationship between work satisfaction and life satisfaction. This is where we can see that Mrs Yeo work satisfaction has dropped significantly as her life satisfactions are compromised due to the heavy workload and long working hours.

Interviewee 4

Ms Wu Siew See is currently holding a degree of Bachelor of Science (Pharmacy) and Master of Business Administration. She started her first career as a pharmacist in both retail and hospital for 5 years. Being someone who loves to interact with people, she realised that the nature of the job was too routine and boring. Therefore, she moved on to become a lecturer.

Ms Wu has been working in Ngee Ann Polytechnic as a lecturer for the past 7 years. Her career requires her to provide an education atmosphere to students and also administrative roles. She was also appointed as counsellor in her third year of teaching. Having an outgoing character, she was given several opportunities to lead students for overseas service learning trip to third world countries.

After 7 years of teaching, Ms Wu believed the purpose of this career is to enrich the lives of her students. She believes in giving every student opportunities to grow academically and also build on their character development. Being a religious person, she shared that moving up the ladder of leadership was not her priority in her career, she believes that her goal is to influence the life her students.

Students are the source of her motivation that keeps her going. Ms Wu finds joy when she sees her student applying and translating what she has taught into their daily life. Also, was she very encouraged when she is able to provide counselling to her students who in a dilemma. Her students also expressed their gratitude towards Ms Wu, this keeps her going and she finds this career meaningful.

Ms Wu considered knowledge as the most important skills set needed in this career. However, she acknowledges that without communications, she would not be able to translate the information to the students. Good communication skills also allowed her to build into the lives of the students and also understand the students' mentality. She shared, "Teaching is about winning the hearts of the students. As long as they love you, they will be interested in the subject. I felt motivated seeing them succeed."

Being in the teaching industry, stress is inevitable and her main source of stress comes from the result of the students. She shared that being a lecturer is more than teaching, there are many administrative, open house, events that they would need to take charge. Ms Wu felt that politics also addition on to her stress level. However, to cope with stress, she would focus on the solution rather than the problem. In addition, she would also seek her religion and people for advices.

Career theories 4

As mentioned above, Ms Wu finds her first career very routine, therefore moved on to become a lecturer. Based on modified theory developed by Ginzberg, Ms Wu realised that work satisfaction was important in her decision of career choices. Some factors that contributed to work satisfactions are her beliefs in religion keep her motivated and a sense of purpose in her career. Also, she was given opportunities for occupational growth such as being a counsellor and bringing students for overseas learning. However, the most important factor was her attitude towards work which is to influence and impact the lives of her students beyond classroom knowledge.

Based on Holland's Theory, it is evident that Ms Wu belongs to Artistic (A), Enterprising (E) and Social (S) personality type. Therefore, she will probably search for a career that is AES classification. Ms Wu describes herself as someone is creative and flexible and does not like to follows a structure routine which contribute to her artistic personalities. These are just as her career requirements, she would need to be creative in her teaching methods to get her students attention during classes. Also, because of her creativity, she was tasked to organise and plan events for the school.

Having an entreprising personality, Ms Wu is someone sociable and energetic which is important to motivate her students during lecturers to optimise learning for her students. Due to her popularity, the school awarded her with teaching award in 2008 and was appointed as a school counsellor. She enjoys counselling and giving advices to students which made a difference in her students life, this contributes to her social personality type.

The above shows that Ms Wu personalitiy profile agrees with Holland's Theory.


Career theories are developed many years ago, and they do not actually foresee the changes in mindset of the modern workforce. As such in cases mentioned, no specific theory could fully describe the career development process. Career theories can therefore only serve as a reference since their relevance has declined with globalization.

It is interesting to note how the different career theories are applied in the interviewee's career and how it can be used to apply in my own career planning and development as well. We can see from the analysis that there are many factors that affect individual's decision on his or her career and the reason why many career theories are in place to cover different aspects. In conclusion, these career theories are there to help us to gain a better understanding of the rationales and basis behind every career development and how we can use it to decide the better or if not, the best decisions for our careers.

Career Planning and Development

Author 1

From the analysis and observation from the four cases mentioned previously, it is possible to learn from their experiences to derive and assess my own personal career path and vocation as well. In order to compare and contrast effectively, similar career theories with regards to my personal career development till this stage will be used as well.

The first factor I will like to take into account for my career planning and development is to choose a career that recognize of one's interest and abilities. I will use Ginzberg's Process Theory to discuss about my stages of career development which include fantasy, tentative and realistic period. When I was in primary school, my results for my Science and Mathematics subject since then were outstanding and I was often praised by my teachers and parents. These recognitions motivated me and made me dreamt of being a science professor which I perceive it would be a glamorous and well-respected job. At age 16, which was also my tentative period, was when I topped the school for Chemistry during my Junior College days for two consecutive years, which eventually embarked upon the Chemical Science degree course in my respective university. Compared to other sciences, Chemistry is where my interest is and I could excel it the most. However, after two years of studies I realized that although Chemistry is still my interest, I cannot see myself in the research field and teaching. In addition, I have taken a management course in my respective university which sparks my interest in business management, and I intend to minor in Business. The realistic period is where I realized I will want to become a regional manager at a pharmaceutical company (MNC) where it comprises of my interest in Chemistry as well as to manage people.

The second factor I will use Holland's Theory to prove that my work personality type would fit in the work environment of my job of interest. After performing the Holland's Theory I identify myself as REC personality, which This coherence will prove that I am on the right track for my current career choice and path, and I should be satisfied when I reach that goal eventually.

Cross referencing to Super's Theory, it reminds me of that in order to achieve success in coping with the demands of the environment at any given stages of my career life, I will need to be ready to cope with the demands especially in the 21st Century. Based on Super's Archway Model, it is also important that I take ownership of my own career and make appropriate decisions by understanding myself and the environment around me. Like Surin in Interviewee 1, I will definitely want to work in an environment that matches my personality. Only then will I be able to better attain job satisfaction and move on quickly.


Career theories are developed many years ago, and they do not actually foresee the changes in mindset of the modern workforce. As such in cases mentioned, no specific theory could fully describe the career development process. Career theories can therefore only serve as a reference since their relevance has declined with globalization.

It is interesting to note how the different career theories are applied in the interviewee's career and how it can be used to apply in my own career planning and development as well. We can see from the analysis that there are many factors that affect individual's decision on his or her career and the reason why many career theories are in place to cover different aspects. In conclusion, these career theories are there to help us to gain a better understanding of the rationales and basis behind every career development and how we can use it to decide the better or if not, the best decisions for our careers.