Three Approaches to Identifying a Career Path

-*What’s the best way to find your professional path?

Mark Savickas

Mark Savickas

Career interventions have evolved over the past 70 years from individual differences assessment to occupational development to current emphasis on life planning.
Vocational guidance was supplanted by “career education,” focused on fulfilling developmental tasks and adapting to occupational requirements.
More recently, “career counseling” built on the preceding approaches by considering each individual as the designer and author of a career path.

Mark Savickas of Northeast Ohio Medical University traced this incremental change, and noted that “each time that society has changed the prevalent form of employment, psychology has changed its methods of career intervention to help people deal with new identity issues and lifestyle problems.”

John Holland

John Holland

Early attempts to help people find their occupational paths focused on matching six personality prototypes incorporating six related value types with six associated vocational categories, thanks to John Holland of Johns Hopkins, who developed the Self Directed Search assessment.

Holland's Six Career Themes

Holland’s Six Career Themes

Individual were seen as “actors” who needed to match individual differences with occupations that best fit these characteristics.

John Crites

John Crites

Next came an emphasis on careers as a developmental challenge that requires adaptation and training to develop new attitudes, beliefs, and competencies that foster their vocational adaptation.

Donald Super

Donald Super

People were seen as “agents” striving to develop into an occupational role, with insight from assessments including the Career Maturity Inventory by University of Maryland’s John Crites and Career Development, Assessment, and Counseling (C-DAC) conceived by Donald Super of University of Connecticut.

Careers are currently seen as a “narrative construction” or a “life design project” drawing on emotion valence, autobiographical career stories and life themes that suggest professional construction and reconstruction.

Individuals are seen as “authors” of their career narrative in context of a life story.
Savickas developed this constructivist perspective to serve “workers in societies that have de-standardized the life course and de-jobbed employment” after applying Holland’s individual differences approach and developmental views of Crites and Super.

Three Career Development Approaches

Three Career Development Approaches

Paul Hartung

Paul Hartung

To enable this career narrative, Savickas and Northeast Ohio Medical University colleague Paul Hartung developed a structured career interview.
This “Autobiographical Workbook” asks people to share stories about self, identity, and career, including inquiries about role models, favorite magazines, how they made important decisions, and what their parents wanted for their lives to uncover prevailing interests, values, concerns, and precipitants to action.Career Construction Interview

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein

This approach helps people “envision how to use work to actively master what they passively suffer” and “fit work into life rather than life into work” by collecting stories about “…how a person constructed a career, then deconstructs and reconstructs these stories into an identity narrative, and finally co-constructs intentions that lead to action in the real world.
Narrative Construction and Life Design perspectives echo Ludwig Wittgenstein’s observation that problems are solved not by giving information but by rearranging what we already know.

In this collection and rearrangement process, Savickas sees the individual as a career architect whereas a career consultant is like a carpenter who suggests recombinations in light of current needs and future goals while respecting interests, values, and strengths.

This process also enables new perspectives on more productive approaches to past challenges when encountered in future contexts, working around obstacles, and drawing on past examples of competence and self-efficacy.

  • Which perspective on career development most guided your selection of work paths?

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Plastic Surgery Changes Perceived Personality Traits

Michael J. Reilly

Michael J. Reilly

People often evaluate others using intentional or unintentional facial profiling making inferences of personality attributes and personal qualities by visual observation, according to Georgetown University Hospital’s Michael J. Reilly, Jaclyn A. Tomsic and Steven P. Davison, collaborating with Stephen J. Fernandez of MedStar Health Research Institute.
This cognitive short cut can lead to biased impressions and limited opportunities for those unfavorably judged.

Jaclyn A. Tomsic

Jaclyn A. Tomsic

They asked observers to rate women’s personality and character traits following plastic surgery procedures between 2009, and 2013 including:

  • Chin implant,
  • Eyebrow-lift,
  • Lower blepharoplasty (lower eye lift),
  • Upper blepharoplasty (upper eye lift),
  • Neck-lift,
  • Rhytidectomy (face-lift).

Judges assigned higher scores for likeability, social skills, attractiveness, and femininity following plastic surgery compared with their pre-surgery ratings.

Michael Reilly-Preoperative-Postoperative photosPreoperative and postoperative photographs of 30 women exhibiting “well-matched neutral facial expressions” were split into 6 groups, each with 5 preoperative and 5 postoperative photographs of different participants.

Steven Davison

Steven Davison

At least 24 raters, unaware that participants had plastic surgery procedures, evaluated each photograph on a 7-point scale for:

  • Aggressiveness,
  • Extroversion,
  • Likeability,
  • Risk-seeking,
  • Social skills,
  • Trustworthiness,
  • Attractiveness.

Reilly’s team noted that these surgical procedures provided cosmetic improvements to two regions crucial to expressing and interpreting emotions: eyes and mouth.

Michael Reilly - Pre-Post 2They concluded that:
“The eyes are highly diagnostic for attractiveness as well as for trustworthiness which may explain why, in our patient population, patients undergoing lower (eyelid surgery) were found to be significantly more attractive and feminine, and had a trend toward improved trustworthiness as well.”

“The corner of the mouth is the diagnostic region for both happy and surprised expressions and plays an important role in the perception of personality traits, such as extroversion.
“A subtle upturn of the mouth and fullness in the cheeks can make a person look more intelligent and socially skilled.
“This appearance may explain why patients undergoing a facelift procedure … are found to be significantly more likeable and socially skilled postoperatively.”

Paul Ekman

Paul Ekman

These results validate empirical findings that people make trait inferences based on facial appearance in part by structural resemblance to standard emotional expressions, described by University of San Francisco’s Paul Ekman.

Princeton’s Christopher P. Said and Alexander Todorov with Nicu Sebe of University of Trento used a Bayesian network classifier trained to detect emotional expressions in facial images, and found that people attributed personality traits to neutral faces when they detected a resemblance to standard emotional expressions.

Christopher P. Said

Christopher P. Said

Neutral faces perceived with a positive valence resemble happiness, whereas faces seen as having negative valence resemble disgust and fear.
Faces viewed as threatening resemble anger.

Trait inferences result in part from an overgeneralization of emotion recognition systems, which typically extract accurate information about a person’s emotional state.

Nicu Sebe

Nicu Sebe

However, faces that bear subtle resemblance to emotional expressions can be misattributed personality traits and biased impression formation.
These judgments can change for the better when a person’s appearance changes after plastic surgery.

-*To what extent do people’s personality traits seems different following plastic surgery?

-*How often are people treated differently following plastic surgery?

*What are ways to avoid confusing emotional expressions with personality traits?

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Higher “Purpose in Life” Reduces Adverse Health Outcomes

Lei Yu

Lei Yu

Purpose in Life – the sense that life has meaning and goal direction – is associated with reduced risks of adverse health outcomes including stroke, according to Rush University Medical Center’s Lei Yu, Patricia A. Boyle, Robert S. Wilson, Julie A. Schneider, and David A. Bennett collaborating with Steven R. Levine of SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Patricia A. Boyle

Patricia A. Boyle

Older people with a greater sense of purpose are less likely to develop other undesirable health conditions including:

Robert S. Wilson

Robert S. Wilson

Yu’s team analyzed autopsy results on 453 older adults enrolled in the Rush Memory and Aging Project.

All participants underwent annual physical and psychological evaluations, including a standard assessment of Purpose in Life, and were followed until they died, at an average age of 90.
None of the participants had dementia when they entered the study, but 114 people had suffered a stroke.

Eric S. Kim

Eric S. Kim

Yu’s team extended earlier work by University of Michigan’s Eric S. Kim, Jennifer K. Sun, Nansook Park, and Christopher Peterson, demonstrating that Purpose in Life is associated with a reduced risk of clinical strokes in a group of participants aged 53 to 105 years.

This difference suggests that purpose in life is protective for silent infarcts, as well as clinical stroke.

Jennifer Sun

Jennifer Sun

At autopsy, Yu’s group observed macroscopic infarctions, areas of stroke damage visible to the naked eye, among 154 participants and microinfarcts, areas of damage visible with a microscope, among another 128.

Purpose in Life was judged annually using a modified 10-item measure derived from University of Wisconsin’s Carol D. Ryff and Corey Lee Keyes’ scales of Psychological Well-being.

Carol D. Ryff

Carol D. Ryff

Higher scores indicating a greater purpose, and every one-point increase, the likelihood of having one or more macroscopic infarctions decreased by about 50 percent.
In contrast, there was no link between purpose and microinfarcts.

These results persisted after adjusting for potentially confounding factors including vascular risk factors:

  • Body mass index,
  • History of smoking,
  • Diabetes mellitus,
  • Blood pressures.
    Corey Lee Keyes

    Corey Lee Keyes

    Other controlled factors include:

  • Optimism,
  • Childhood adverse experiences,
  • Loneliness,
  • Negative affect,
  • Physical activity,
  • Clinical stroke.Purpose in Life can predict later health status and outcomes, and is amenable to improvement by social participation with friends, community services, physical activity and health behavior modification.
    These positive lifestyle changes contribute to improved physical and mental health and enhanced quality of life throughout the lifespan.

-*How do you define you Purpose in Life?
-*What factors contribute to Purpose in your Life?
-*How do you intentionally increase your sense of Purpose in Life?

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Reinventing Performance Management to Reduce Bias: Strengths, Future Focus, Frequent Feedback

Steven Scullen

Steven Scullen

Most performance management systems set goals at the beginning of the year and determine variable compensation by rating accomplishment of those objectives.

These evaluations typically are considered in lengthy “consensus meetings” in which managers discuss the performance of hundreds of people in relation to their peers – sometimes called “stack ranking,” or more cynically “rank-and-yank.”

Michael Mount

Michael Mount

These year-end ratings don’t provide “in-the-moment” and “real-time” feedback about actual performance as it happens, so may be less useful in improving performance.

Assessing skills produces inconsistent data based on raters’ own skills in that competency and the value they attach to each performance objective, leading to unconscious bias.

Maynard Goff

Maynard Goff

This risk to performance rating validity was demonstrated by Drake University’s Steven Scullen, Michael Mount of University of Iowa, and Korn Ferry’s Maynard Goff, who considered 360 degree performance evaluations by two bosses, two peers, and two subordinates for nearly 4500 managers.

They found that three times as much rating variance was explained by individual raters’ idiosyncratic evaluation choices, rather than actual performance.

Manual London

Manual London

Sources of bias include halo error, leniency error, and organizational perspective based on current role, suggested by SUNY’s Manuel London and James Smither of LaSalle University, and validated by Scullen’s team.

These findings led the researchers to conclude “Most of what is being measured by the ratings is the unique rating tendencies of the rater. Thus ratings reveal more about the rater than they do about the ratee,” replicating similar findings by University of Georgia’s Charles Lance, Julie LaPointe and Amy Stewart.

Ashley Goodall

Ashley Goodall

To mitigate these biases in Deloitte’s performance management system, Ashley Goodall of Deloitte Services LP engaged Marcus Buckingham, formerly of The Gallup Organization, to analyze existing practices and develop an empirically-validated approach.

Goodall and Buckingham calculated the total annual hours required to conduct performance ratings using the existing process and found that managers invested 2 million hours a year.
This finding confirmed that one goal in revising the process was to increase speed and efficiency.

Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham

In addition, Goodall and Buckingham sought to increase the meaningfulness of performance management by focusing on discussions about future performance and careers rather than on the appraisal process.

They concluded a performance management system should be characterized by:

  • Reliable performance data, controlling for idiosyncratic rater effects,
  • Speed to administer,
  • Ability to recognize performance,
  • Personalization: “One-size-fits-one”,
  • Considering actions to take in response to data,
  • Continuous learning and improvement.

Deloitte logoDeloitte conducted a separate controlled study of 60 high-performing teams including almost 1300 employees representing all parts of the organization compared with an equal number of employees from an equivalent sample to determine questionnaire items that differentiate high- and lower-performing teams.

They found that performance and related compensation allocations could be more accurately based on managers’ statements about their intended future actions toward each employee rather than asking about team members’ skills.

Several items accounted for the vast majority of response variation between top performing groups and others, particularly At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.”

Now Discover Your StrengthsBusiness units whose employees said they “strongly agree” with this item were substantially more likely to be more productive, earn high customer satisfaction scores, and experience low employee turnover.

Other powerful predictors of performance were:

  • I have the chance to use my strengths every day,
  • My coworkers are committed to doing quality work,
  • The mission of our company inspires me.

Deloitte’s revised performance management system asks team leaders to rate four items on a 5-point scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” or yes-no at the end of every project or once a quarter:

  • Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus [measures overall performance and unique value],
  • Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team [measures ability to work well with others],
  • This person is at risk for low performance [identifies problems that might harm the customer or the team],
  • This person is ready for promotion today [measures potential].

These responses provide a performance snapshot that informs but doesn’t completely determine compensation.
Other factors include project assignment difficulty and contributions other than formal projects, evaluated by a leader who knows each individual personally or by a group considering data across several groups.

In addition, every team leader prioritizes once-weekly “check-ins” with each employee to ensure that priorities are clear and progress toward them is consistent.

Strengthfinder 2.0

Strengthfinder 2.0

Goodall and Buckingham opined that “radically frequent check-ins are a team leader’s killer app to recognize, see, and fuel performance,” in addition to using a self-assessment tool that identifies each team members’ strengths and enables sharing with teammates, team leader, and the organization.

These three “interlocking rituals” of the weekly check-in, quarterly or project-end performance snapshot, and annual compensation decision enable a shift from retrospective view of performance to more “real-time” coaching to support performance planning and enhancement.

Deloitte’s approach seeks a “big data“ view of each person’s organizational performance and contribution rather than the “simplicity” of a small data view summarized in a single stack-rank number.

-*How do you develop a “Big Data” view of people’s performance?

-*How do you enable continuous, “in-the-moment” performance feedback instead of once-a-year retrospective view?

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Women, Men, and Time: Differences in “Managing” a Limited Resource

Francis Wade

Francis Wade

Special thanks to Francis Wade of 2TimeLabs for his sharing his expertise.

Though women and men have the same amount of time, women seem to manage more time demands and have developed more skillful time practices to grapple with perceived “time scarcity,” according to detailed time-use studies by New South Wales’s Lyn Craig and Janeen Baxter of University of Queensland.

Lyn Craig

Lyn Craig

They found that working mothers invest more hours taking care of children and doing housework than their working husbands.

Arlie Hochschild

Arlie Hochschild

This finding validates the idea that women do a “Second Shift” of work – at home and at the office, described by University of California Berkeley’s Arlie Hochschild.

Brigid Schulte

Brigid Schulte

Personal anecdotes from of women stretched between “two shifts” validate these research findings, distilled in journalist Brigid Schulte’s popular Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.

Therese Macan

Therese Macan

To grapple with time demands that may seem to outweigh available time resources, women typically engage in significantly more mechanical time management behaviors like planning, listing, and scheduling, found University of Missouri’s Therese Macan, Comila Shahani of Hofstra University and Robert Dipboye of University of South Florida, who developed the Time Management Behaviors (TMB) inventory

Abdülkadir Pehlivan

Abdülkadir Pehlivan

Many, but not all, gender differences appear to hold across countries and cultures:  Like Macan’s team, Karadeniz Technical University’s Abdülkadir Pehlivan noted that women use more listing, planning and programming than men.

In contrast, male volunteers said they feel more in charge of their time management behaviors, even when they don’t employ the same systematic time procedures as women.

Ranjita Misra

Ranjita Misra

However in a U.S. investigation, females reported better perceived “control” of time, based on using “mechanical” techniques like setting and prioritizing goals as well as planning, reported West Virginia University’s Ranjita Misra and Michelle McKean.
In addition, women said they organize tasks and workspaces more frequently than men.

Despite this efficiency, women paid a price with higher anxiety and lower leisure satisfaction, which may explain the need to develop improved practices.
Males, in contrast, reported more leisure activities and less anxiety.

Tanya Meade

Tanya Meade

In addition, Australian Time Organisation and Management Scale (ATOMS), developed by University of Western Sydney’s Tanya Covic Meade, B.J. Adamson, M. Lincoln and P.L. Kench revealed that 71% of women volunteers recognize this gender difference in time practices:  Women respondents and Meade’s team concluded that “females may be better at carrying out behavioral activities associated with time management, such as making lists and keeping a diary.”

Mark Trueman

Mark Trueman

Another study found that female student volunteers reported considerably greater use of time “management” skills than male students in a five-year investigation by Keele University’s Mark Trueman and James Hartley and in similar research by Al Ain University of Science and Technology Ahmad Saleh Al Khatib.

Nurten Kaya

Nurten Kaya

These gender differences also persisted in specific working environments such as nursing in University of Istanbul’s study by Hatice Kaya with Nurten Kaya, Aylin Öztürk Palloş, Leyla Küçük, which found that female students were able to manage their time better than male students.

Jale Eldeleklioglu

Jale Eldeleklioglu

Because time is a limited and valuable resource, Uludag University’s Jale Eldeleklioglu suggested the life skill of time “management” should begin at a young age in school: ” male students’ time management skills are not as developed as female students’ (so we need) more programs to reduce anxiety and improve students’ time management skills.

-*What differences have you observed in the ways that women and men interact with available time?

-*What practices have you found beneficial in managing time demands?

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Rx to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk: Listen to Music

Charalambos Vlachopoulos

Charalambos Vlachopoulos

Listening to music, both classical and rock, decreases aortic stiffness and wave reflection to reduce cardiovascular risk of death and disability, according to Athens Medical School’s Charalambos Vlachopoulos with Angelos Aggelakas, Nikolaos Ioakeimidis, Panagiotis Xaplanteris, Dimitrios Terentes-Printzios, Mahmoud Abdelrasoul, George Lazaros, and Dimitris Tousoulis.

Panagiotis Xaplanteris

Panagiotis Xaplanteris

Even “a brief period of mental stress can have an enduring effect on arterial stiffness,” Vlachopoulos and colleagues noted, suggesting the value of music listening as a health intervention to decrease stress and cardiovascular risk.

Dimitris Tousoulis

Dimitris Tousoulis

The team compared aortic stiffness and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) reflections for 20 healthy volunteers after a half-hour rest period.
Then, participants were divided into three groups that listened to a half-hour of:

  • Classical music including excerpts from J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suites OR
  • Rock featuring selections by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Green Day OR
  • Silence.

Cardiovascular measurements were recorded immediately after the different auditory conditions, and then again after 30 minutes.

Liisa Ukkola-Vuoti

Liisa Ukkola-Vuoti

Participants who listened to either musical genre had lower aortic stiffness immediately after the music, and wave reflection was reduced for at least 30 minutes after the music.
This effect was even greater for those who preferred classical music, whether they listened to rock or classical selections.

Chakravarthi Kanduri

Chakravarthi Kanduri

Music’s “whole body experience” begins with genes:  Musical receptivity, perception, and creativity were linked to gene clusters and duplicate DNA associated with the brain’s serotonin systems in research by University of Helsinki’s Liisa Ukkola-Vuoti, Chakravarthi Kanduri, Jaana Oikkonen, Gemma Buck, Pirre Raijas, Kai Karma, and Irma Järvelä, collaborating with Christine Blancher of Oxford Genomics Centre and Aalto University’s Harri Lähdesmäki.

Jaana Oikkonen

Jaana Oikkonen

They found that neurotransmitter systems enable brain plasticity and connectivity in the brain’s posterior cingulate cortex.

Yi Ting Tan

Yi Ting Tan

Several chromosomes contain specific areas associated with musical perception, found University of Melbourne’s Yi Ting Tan, Gary McPherson, Samuel Berkovic, and Sarah Wilson, collaborating with Isabelle Peretz from University of Montreal.

Isabelle Peretz

Isabelle Peretz

They detected several locations on chromosome 4 tied to music perception and singing, and a specific area on chromosome 8q is implicated in music perception and absolute pitch.
In addition chromosome 12q’s gene AVPR1A was linked to music perception, music memory, and music listening, whereas SLC6A4 on chromosome 17q was associated with music memory.

These findings suggest music listening can be an easy, enjoyable way to enhance arterial function and cardiovascular health.

-*What physical effects do you notice when listening to your preferred musical genre?

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Reputation Affects Women’s Promotion, Earnings

Lily Fang

Lily Fang

Men gain greater reputation and job performance benefits from their professional connections than women with equivalent education and job skills, according to INSEAD’s Lily Fang and Sterling Huang of Singapore Management University, who studied U.S. Wall Street analysts.

Sterling Huang

Sterling Huang

In fact, many women had superior educational qualifications: Thirty-five percent these women had educational qualifications from Ivy League universities, in contrast to 25 percent of men from the same prestigious universities.

Lauren Cohen

Lauren Cohen

Fang and Huang examined analysts’ alumni connections with senior officers or board members of the seven to eight companies they covered, using an approach pioneered by Harvard’s Lauren Cohen, and Christopher Malloy with Andrea Frazzini, of AQR Capital Management.

Christopher Malloy

Christopher Malloy

Analysts’ year-end earnings per share (EPS) forecasts and buy/sell stock recommendations from 1993 to 2009 were considered, along with the price impact of their recommendations, and whether they were named “All America Research Team” (AA) by Institutional Investor magazine during the same period.

Andrea Frazzini

Andrea Frazzini

This coveted recognition as part of the AA is based on the institutional investors’ subjective evaluation of each analyst’s industry knowledge, communication, responsiveness, written reports, and related skills.

Surprisingly, forecast accuracy is one of the least important selection criteria, so skillful analysts may not be recognized as an “All America” member if they are not visible and well-regarded by decision-makers.

Connections also directly contributed to male analysts’ odds of being elected an AA but not for female analysts, suggesting that investors subjectively value connections among male analysts but not among female analysts.
Further, these reputational decisions have financial consequences for analysts because those awarded the AA title earn around three times more than those without it.

About 25% of women and men analysts shared a school tie with a senior officer or board member in the firms they cover, but these connections significantly improved men’s forecast accuracy more than women’s.
These connections also improved the impact of male analysts’ stock recommendations, measured by market reaction to their buy and sell calls.

Female analysts with a connection to a female executive at firms they covered had a highly significant improvement in accuracy ranking, yet male analysts with male connection experienced almost twice as much accuracy improvement.

Herminia Ibarra

Herminia Ibarra

This profoundly different impact of equal connections early in women’s and men’s careers could explain gender gaps that exist throughout long-term career trajectories, supporting Herminia Ibarra’s similar results for men and women in an advertising firm, where men capitalized on network ties to improve their positions with employers.

Women capable of executive roles at these Wall Street firms may remain in analytical roles because promotion to General Manager roles depend on subjective evaluations by others, generally men.

The “old boys club” remains a powerful advantage for men even though female analysts are equally represented in the AA analyst pool.
Fang and Huang concluded that despite mandated protections against gender discrimination in the U.S, men and women may be evaluated using different subjective criteria, even with the benefit of social capital.
This leads to differential career advancement for women and men.

Ronald Burt

Ronald Burt

Social capital is affected by legitimacy, reputation, and network structures, argued University of Chicago’s Ronald Burt.
He noted that “holes” in a social network are entrepreneurial opportunities to add value, and women should have many of these chances to fill network holes, and increase possibility of advancement.

However, Burt noted that “entrepreneurial networks linked to early promotion for senior men do not work for women” because women are not accepted as legitimate members of the population of highly promotable candidates.

He explained that women and minorities who succeed despite this disadvantage gain access to social capital by leveraging the network of a legitimate strategic partners.
This economic analysis may explain the powerful advantage of sponsors for women and minorities in the workplace.

-How do you identify and fill “structural holes in social capital networks”?

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