What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? A Discursive Analysis of Career Socialization and Decision-Making
Career decision-making is an increasingly important concern in contemporary society, where the individual-organizational relationship has changed dramatically, sometimes appearing as a series of brief engagements rather than a long-term commitment. Current socialization research has not examined career socialization and decision-making as a dynamic and comprehensive process. This study explores how various communication interactions and experiences impact individuals' views of career and career decision-making. Specifically, this study analyzes young professionals' career socialization experiences. Participant accounts revealed that they are less influenced by socialization experiences within organizational structures. Instead, participants' definitions of career are a reflection of socializing interactions and experiences with parents, educators, and peers. Participants continually use these socially constructed definitions to make career decisions and enact work and family life. In particular, these young professionals base their career decisions on work-life balance issues and suggest that they have jobs rather than careers. This study proposes a new model for career decision socialization as a multilayered, multidirectional process that cannot be confined to sequential and organized phases of development. In addition, this new model adds to previous models by placing more emphasis on social interactions in addition to social structures.