How Families Influence Our
Career Choices And How We
Can Use That Information
Robert C. Chope, Ph.D.
San Francisco State University
Good Morning Denver
Clients & Context
What I ask of every client
Critical Life Incidents
A Simple Family Tree (Genogram)
Five Most Important Personal Assets
Five Areas For New Growth
Resume (for a narrative)
Digital divide and the internet
Changing face of the interview
Blending of home and workplace
Loss of balance
Radical Changes In Working
Workplace is globalized and
Jobs have shifted to telecommuting and
People want meaning in work
Lessons Learned from the
Be untouchable by being creative,
taking risks and being imaginative
Expressive writing helps to overcome
Purpose of Presentation
Provide an argument for exploring in depth
family issues in career development.
Create a means to organize information and
ask personal and family related questions as
an aid to the career development process.
Show how cultural expectations, class, and
ethnicity add to our understanding of family
Illustrate how the family can contribute to
Provide an argument for exploring in
depth family issues in career
Four examples illustrate the point
100 Years Later
The Data Are In
What do families want?
Al Franken, Joshua Bell, Vincent Van Gogh
Chuck Ross resubmitted Jerry Kosinski’s
Steps which one the 1969 Nat. Book Award
Don’t do what I did!!
Families influence career
choices – why not …
Accentuate the positive
Understand the negative
Let the career choice unfold like a story
And have the client create a narrative
Primary Rule: Don’t Work
Alone, Use the Family
Family of origin affects how people
choose a career path
Background, history, mobility, support,
conflicts, nurturing and exposure to new
Families and significant others can be
used in the career development process
Counselors are in the village, on the
Family Influence Versus
John Krumboltz and his career
Describe three events of happenstance
The use of mentors
Name three important mentors
In and out economy-Actor model
Organizational matrices reduce linearity
Never ending job search-Dental model
Buffet-Walk on Model
Project driven work-Portfolio career model
Imagination and Creativity are key
The purpose of Part II:
To create a means to organize information.
To ask personal and family related
questions as an aid to the career
Biography, Blogs and Tweets
A nation of biographers
Create chronicles and memory books
Create web sites reflecting interest like
a family history site
Create a blog to discuss anything from
food to politics
Keep the personal network tuned in
with face book, twitter, linked in, et al.
E-Portfolios and Journaling
Discover a focus
Look at the journey
Give the details (like James Boswell and
Let others comment with postings
New Focus on Context
Peers , teachers, coaches, community
officials, and others
Families and interaction patterns
The need to know yourself and your
context before you know your career
New Contextual Approaches
Creating narratives, contextualizing career
development and utilizing
constructivism give added meaning to
the counseling process
Creative writing about your best day at
age seven and your best day this year
What are five aspects of your life that
you are grateful for?
Family Dictates: Family Histories
Can Be Filled With Intrigue
Struggle may ensue
Two well-known examples
Rachel Naomi Remen
His Story ―Open‖
Hated tennis but played to please father
Anxiety/pressure/dropped from school
Turned pro to a life he hated
His drug use shows how counselors must
treat more than the career decision
He was able to make his career his own
Rachel Naomi Remen
The Jewish Doctor finds wiggle room
Savickas’ Career Styles
Models-Who do you admire? Why?
Books-Favorite book? Why?
Magazines? (Web sites?)
Movies-Which on a stranded island
Leisure-Free time activities
Career Styles (cont)
Mottos-Do you have a motto or favorite
What do your parents want?
(What do your friends want?)
What are your ambitions?
What do you day dream about?
Career Styles (cont)
Decisions- Describe an important
decision you have made and how you
were able to make it.
Counseling moves from ―fit‖ to
belonging, from similarity to
uniqueness, from interests to career
path, discovering the ―hidden reasons‖
that guide the story.
Systematic Methods for
Genealogy is HOT
Encouraged by popular television shows
Picture the origin of family career
expectations and congruence
Family success and failure
Patterns of career choice
Contextual influences and genetics
Some Questions With the
Who do you identify with?
Whose aspirations are similar to yours?
What are the dominant values?
Are there myths, ghosts, legends?
Are there secrets?
What are the interactions like?
What are the pressures?
Amundson’s Significant Other
Taylor’s Family Work History
Chope’s Family Protocol
What is this person good at?
What are the major interest areas?
Describe any personal characteristics
What are some positive changes?
How could this person improve?
What are some ideal jobs?
Taylor’s Family Work History
First work experience
Current work status
What are four tips that you could offer?
What kind of career related information
does the family provide?
What kind of tangible assistance is
What kind of emotional support is
Chope Protocol (cont)
Is your client concerned about the
impact of the career choice on the
What disruptive events affected your
client or other members of the family?
What are the actions of the family
members who are asked to help and
the actions of those not asked to help?
What Were the
How Does the Family Help?
Career information possibilities,
The purpose of Part III:
Show how cultural expectations,
environment, class, and ethnicity add to
understanding family influence.
The Korean one year old
The Thai Monk
Multiethnic and diversified groups remain
worse off than white peers
Diminished employment opportunities are
a significant source of stress
Younger family members access global
Loss of filial piety
Desire for autonomy, self expression, and
individually oriented achievement
Many witnessed family career
Ten Issues for Understanding
1 Cultural Identity
Cultural identity in a multicolored world is
What is the impact of assimilation?
Look at the questions asked about
2 Acculturation Modes
Acculturation vs. enculturation
Pride vs. shame
Inclusion vs. separation
Adopting new values vs. holding on to
3 Demographic Environment
What is the nature of the population in
the area where the client resides and
how representative is it of the client's
4 Diversity within Cultural
Counselors need to be sensitive to variations within a
A broad categorization like "Latino/a" or "Hispanic"
can be South American, Central American, Iberian,
Cuban, Caribbean, Mexican and other cultures.
Middle Eastern ethnic groups share many similarities
in culture and traditions but have many differences
including language (e.g. Arabic, Persian, Farsi, Iraqi,
and Armenian) as well as differences in religion.
5 Legal Status
This is likely to be a sensitive topic for
many immigrants. The documentation
status of a person and the family has
important implications on career
decision making. Legal services
referrals may be appropriate in certain
Language is an important source of
identity for people.
Dialect may represent identity.
Language your client uses at home may
not be used at work or in school.
Religious values may play an important
role in career choices.
People who follow a non mainstream
religion may feel uncomfortable on the
8 Attitudes About Work
The worldview of the family and culture
should be addressed.
Some families want their children to
earn money and be independent.
Others want them to achieve.
Others want them to refrain from
drawing attention to themselves.
9 Rules in the Family System
Families may have different rules about
the power and the influence of the
Grandparents, aunts, cousins, and
uncles may have a role regarding career
selection and education different from
Confronting or disagreeing with parents
can be seen as a sign of disrespect.
10 Gender Stereotypes
Most cultures have gender stereotypes regarding the
roles that men and women play relative to work,
educational experiences, and family responsibilities.
Career counselors should be aware of the differential
expectations regarding appropriateness of jobs for
A most interesting question is how a woman’s
success affects the family relationship.
How the family can contribute to career
Alan & Louis
Why is this important?
Group Decision Making
Linked in, Facebook, My Space, Twitter
Family knows you
Reflect on past—photos, letters, report
cards, vacations, events, who you were
People need to feel that they matter-it
is why we visit loved ones at holidays
and in hospitals
Lowers depression and anxiety and
Fantasy has power—Cold Mountain
Practical advice is given, ideas are
But families can hurt
Demand that you know what you are
doing before getting started
Demand that you not offend
Demand that everything is run through
Criticize every step of the way
How families can help
Listen more, judge less
Support risk taking
Forge new connections
Prevent career indecision
Promote positive career beliefs
Grandparents as Models
Integrating families, teachers
Work with English teachers to craft
assignments about family experiences
Have the stories become a part of the
students’ career planning files.
Use technology like Youtube to find
varieties of career experience
Exploring family influence allows for a deeper
appreciation of the uniqueness of all clients
and the cultures they came from and are now
Being aware of differential pressures on people
and their responses to them makes a
counselor culturally sensitive and effective.