Disentangling professional careers: an auto/biographic investigation into the occupational histories and aspirations of professional business workers in the third-age of their employment

PhD Thesis


King, I. 2012. Disentangling professional careers: an auto/biographic investigation into the occupational histories and aspirations of professional business workers in the third-age of their employment. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University
AuthorsKing, I.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD
Abstract

In an evolving professional services market, the structure of career is changing; this research asks older professional practitioners in business consulting about their occupational histories and career aspirations for the period leading towards their occupational disengagement. In their ‘third-age’ of employment – the life transition between career maturity and withdrawal (ages 50 to 65) – professional workers often consider their employment options as they move toward occupational withdrawal. With demographics showing an ageing population, employers can expect to find that ‘third-age’ workers represent a greater proportion of their workforce. As they reflect on their circumstances, these older professional workers often decide to adjust working practice to complement their lifestyle choices, taking account of family responsibilities, financial obligations, occupational values and possibly personal health. Through the lens of narrative inquiry, I reflexively review my occupational experiences and those of 12 research collaborators over a working trajectory of up to 45 years, as each person progresses through the concluding episode/s of their occupational transition. This auto/biographic bricolage represents occupational lives spent working within financial, legal and management consulting roles in professional firms within the United Kingdom.

By embracing their occupational histories, this research investigates whether older professional practitioners can better determine their occupational futurity and benefit from the opportunity to accommodate other considerations – career preferences, life obligations, family relationships – as they conclude their occupational trajectory. In ‘Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career’, Herminia Ibarra (2004) presents a model for career change and argues that people determine their occupational directions by experimenting with different possibilities rather than deciding on a clearly defined career identity. This research investigation extends the inquiry into a later stage of the life course, the ‘third-age’, and helps older
professional workers develop a coherent understanding of their occupational history as they approach workplace departure, contemporarily known as ‘retirement’.

Year2012
File
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Apr 2013
Accepted2012
Output statusUnpublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/86x1q/disentangling-professional-careers-an-auto-biographic-investigation-into-the-occupational-histories-and-aspirations-of-professional-business-workers-in-the-third-age-of-their-employment

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