Explain career stages / career cycle.

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Ans.    Donald E. Super has suggested five stages (also called career development cycle or career cycle) through which individuals go. These stages are :

(1)     Exploration Stage.                  (2)       Establishment Stage.

(3)     Mid-Career Stage.                  (4)       Late Career Stage.

(5)     Decline Stage.

Brief details of these stages are given below :

1.      Exploration Stage : Almost all candidates who start working after college education start around mid-twenties. Many a time they are not sure about future prospects but take up a job in anticipation of rising higher up in the career graph later. From the point of view of oganisation, this stage is of no relevance because it happens prior to the employment. Some candidates who come from better economic background can wait and select a career of their choice under expert guidance from parents and well-wishers.

2.      Establishment Stage : This career stage begins with the candidate getting the first job. Getting hold of the right job is not an easy task. Candidates are likely to commit mistakes and learn from their mistakes. Slowly and gradually they become responsible towards the job. Ambitious candidates will keep looking for more lucrative and challenging jobs elsewhere. this may either result in migration to another job or he will remain with the same job because of lack of opportunity.

3.      Mid-Career Stage : This career stage represents fastest and gainful leap for competent employees who are commonly called “climbers”. There is continuous improvement in performance. On the other hand, employees who are unhappy and frustrated with the job, there is marked deterioration in their performance. in order to show their utility to the organization, employees must remain productive at this stage. “Climbers” must go on improving their own performance. Authority, responsibility, rewards and incentives are highest at this stage. Employees tend to settle down in their jobs and “job hopping” is not common.

4.      Late Career Stage : This career stage is pleasant for the senior employees who like to survive on the past glory. There is no desire to improve performance and improve past records. Such employees enjoy playing the role of elder statesperson. They are expected to train younger employees and earn respect from them.

5.      Decline Stage : This career stage represents the completion of one’s career usually culminating into retirement. After decades of hard work, such employees have to retire. Employees who were climbers and achievers will find it hard to compromise with the reality. Others may think of “life after retirement”.

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