Career-Impacted Life Stages

Each person’s career goes through stages that influence an individual’s knowledge of, and preference for, various occupations. People change constantly and, thus, view their careers differently at various stages of their lives. Some of these changes result from the aging process and others from opportunities for growth and status. The main stages of the career cycle include the growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance, and decline.

a. Growth Stage: The growth stage is roughly from birth to age 14 and is a period during which an individual develops a self-concept by identifying and interacting with other people. Basically, during this stage an individual establishes his or her identity.

b. Exploration Stage: The exploration stage is the period roughly from ages 15 to 24, during which an individual seriously explores various occupational alternatives. The person attempts to match these occupational alternatives with his or her own interests and abilities resulting from education, leisure activities, and work.

c. Establishment Stage: The establishment stage is roughly from ages 25 to 44 and is the primary part of most people’s work lives. Hopefully, during this period, a suitable occupation is found and the person engages in those activities that help earn a permanent career. During this period, the individual is continually testing personal capabilities and ambitions against those of the initial occupational choice.

d. Maintenance Stage: Between the ages of 45 to 65, many people move from the stabilization sub stage into the maintenance stage. During maintenance, the individual has usually created a place in the work world, and most efforts are directed at maintaining the career gains earned.

e. Decline Stage: As retirement becomes an inevitable reality, in the decline stage, there is frequently a period of adjustment, where many begin to accept reduced levels of power and responsibility.

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