Career Aspirations of Undergraduate Students in University of Ibadan: an Implication on Their Emotional Health

Topics: Career, Decision making, Secondary education Pages: 26 (7918 words) Published: April 24, 2013






Career choice or aspiration is one of the most important decisions that individuals irrespective of race or socio demographic background will have to make at a fairly early stage in their lives. Since society defines individuals in terms of their occupations, one’s career becomes a very important source of a personal identity. Deciding on one’s life course is a process that must happen early in life if one is to make any useful impact to himself, family, and to society at large. Career can be considered as the way the individual expresses himself and relates to society through life. Popoola (2004) sees it as a job, or profession for which one undergoes regulated education and training over a period of time and which one intends to follow for the whole of one’s life. It is a chosen pursuit, life work and success in one’s profession. Career is the sequence of major positions occupied by a person throughout his or her lifetime. It is the totality of work one does in one’s lifetime and it is person centered. Career also is a meaningful progression on a person’s working life or a course pursued over a period of time.

The choice of an occupation may determine one’s employment status (Hoppock, 1967). In some instances, based on occupational choices, one can either be in irregular employment or in one that is both stable and secure. Whereas some careers choices may be less secure during economic downturns, others may even be secure during such times (Hoppock, 1967). Different occupations have different demands and success is determined by the ability to deliver results. Therefore if individuals choose careers for which one is not suited, and he is not able to deliver, they are considered failures.

Work is not just a matter of earning a living. Since it may be a life-long commitment, it is essential that people enjoy their work. If an individual is in a job he does not enjoy and is forced to just go through the motions for the sake of earning a living, life will certainly be miserable (Hoppock, 1967). Therefore it is essential for one to measure their emotional and psychological fitness and disposition for a particular job. Other aspects of a person’s life may also be determined by ones occupation since it gives structure to a person’s life. It may for example influence where one will live, the kind of company one will keep, place where the children will attend school and the frequency with which the family may move from place to place (Hoppock, 1967).

Choosing a career path or course of action essentially boils down to a career decision-making process. The usefulness of an individual’s career decision-making relies heavily on the available information at the decision making point. Information is power and the more it is at one’s disposal, the easier it is to make well-informed decisions. Often times, inability to choose a career path over another tend to indicate that one is lacking in sufficient information. Although work has different meanings to human beings, essentially, it is the ‘backbone of an individual’s life” (Paulter, 1995). The presence or absence of work is perhaps the most important pivotal point in a human’s life.

In Nigeria, many youths choose unsuitable careers due to ignorance, inexperience, peer pressure, advice from parents, friends, or even as a result of the “importance” attached to a particular profession (Salami, 1999). This leads to most of them being unsuited for their careers because they tend to find themselves in jobs where they can’t satisfy their value needs. This breeds dissatisfaction among them as well and their employers. They are usually unable to...
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