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Why Career Planning Is Meant To Be A Shared Journey, Not A Solo Expedition

Written by: Judit Végh, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


As we navigate the twists and turns of life, we instinctively seek the guidance of those closest to us. However, when it comes to mapping out our professional paths, we may embark on a solitary quest, treating our careers as separate entities from our personal lives. Recent research suggests that involving our family and loved ones in our career planning can significantly impact our overall success and satisfaction. By breaking the pattern of the solitary quest and embracing the power of collaboration in all aspects of our lives, we can achieve greater success, fulfillment and happiness in our careers.

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Adapting a system perspective and viewing career planning as a dynamic process, it is essential to create a comprehensive plan that takes into account both short-term and long-term goals. This plan must also remain flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances. By considering our careers in the context of our family system, we can make the best career decisions that benefit the entire family. It can increase our chances of success and help us achieve the career of our dreams.

If you're ready to take the first steps towards a fulfilling career, the following steps can guide you:

Step 1: Define what career really means to you

While the business world often associates a career with corporate ladders, corner offices, and high salaries, it's important to remember that a career is much more than that. It's an opportunity for growth, learning, and making a meaningful impact on the world around us. Whether your vision of a fulfilling career involves climbing the corporate ladder, starting your own business, or pursuing a creative passion, defining what a career means to you personally is vital. By clarifying your priorities, motivations, values, and goals, you can ensure that your professional path aligns with your deepest desires and aspirations.

Self-Reflection on defining your career:

  • What does "career" mean to you?

  • How does your career align with your values?

  • What are the essential elements of your career?

Step 2: Start with traditional career planning methods

As you begin your career planning journey, it's essential to understand the traditional framework that has guided this process for many years. This framework includes two important factors: subjective and objective.

Subjective factors are deeply personal to each individual and include interests, abilities, professional knowledge, motivation, and values. When choosing a career path, we often consider our skills, abilities, priorities, and passions.

On the other hand, objective factors are external to us and include market demand and geographic location. By researching the job market and identifying in-demand professions, we can better understand our options and make informed decisions.

It's worth noting that these traditional factors only scratch the surface of the many complex elements that influence our career choices.

Self-Reflection on traditional career planning:

  • How have the traditional subjective and objective factors influenced your career choices?

  • What are your primary motivators for your career?

  • What skills do you possess that are best suited for your work?

Step 3: Explore cultural patterns that influence your career planning

As you navigate the complex landscape of career planning, it's essential to recognise that your cultural background can significantly impact your choices. From traditional family structures to societal expectations, there are many cultural patterns that can influence your perceptions of success, your career aspirations, and your overall sense of fulfilment.

Examining the cultural values and beliefs underpinning your career goals is essential. By understanding the unique cultural patterns that shape your worldview, you can begin to identify the career paths that align with your deepest values and aspirations. For some, success may be defined in terms of financial stability, while for others, it may involve making a positive impact on their community or pursuing creative passions.

However, it's also important to recognise that cultural patterns can sometimes limit your options and narrow your perspectives. For example, traditional gender roles may discourage women from pursuing careers in male-dominated fields, while cultural norms around hierarchy and authority may deter individuals from speaking up or taking risks in the workplace. By challenging these limiting beliefs and expanding your cultural horizons, you can open up new possibilities and opportunities for growth.

From macro-level cultural patterns to the micro-influences that shape your daily life, there are countless factors that can shape your worldview and inform your career choices. And if you're considering a career change that involves a move to a new country or culture, you must also consider the transnational effects that come into play.

Self-Reflection on cultural patterns:

  • What are your personal cultural values and beliefs, and how has your upbringing and life experience shaped them?

  • What cultural stereotypes or biases do you hold, and how do they impact your interactions?

  • What are some cultural norms or practices that you find challenging or difficult to understand or accept, and how can you work to broaden your perspective?

Step 4: Incorporate transgenerational effects into career planning

As you progress through your individual path in life, it's important to take a moment to consider the experiences of those who came before you. What knowledge and insights have been passed down through your family? What family patterns and behaviours have you inherited ‒ both consciously and unconsciously?

These questions can be uncomfortable to explore, but they are essential to better understanding yourself and your place in the world. By examining your ancestors' stories, family anecdotes, and beliefs, you can uncover valuable lessons and gain a broader perspective on your own experiences. While these stories may not always be easily accessible, taking the time to seek them out and learn from them can profoundly impact your personal and professional growth.

Self-Reflection on transgenerational effects:

  • What stories or beliefs have been passed down in your family?

  • Have you ever uncovered valuable lessons or insights from exploring your family history?

  • How did this impact your personal or professional growth?

Step 5: Understand how family dynamics shape your career choices and trajectories

As you navigate the complex interplay between your professional ambitions and family responsibilities, it's essential to ask yourself: how can you integrate your career vision into your current family model? One key strategy is to work together with your partner to identify ways you can support each other's professional growth and development. This might involve jointly planning your individual career paths, sharing responsibilities at home, and collaboratively adapting to changing circumstances as needed. But how can you ensure that these ideas remain flexible and adaptable over time? By maintaining open communication and prioritising dialogue, you can create a supportive and dynamic environment that allows your career and your family to thrive. Whether you're working towards a specific goal or simply exploring new possibilities, the key is to remain committed to your shared vision of success while remaining flexible enough to adapt to whatever the future may bring.

Recognising how family dynamics can influence your career choices and trajectories is essential. For instance, if you come from a culture that places a high value on familial responsibilities, you may feel pressure to pursue a career that aligns with your family's expectations, even if it doesn't necessarily align with your goals and aspirations. Or, if you have children, you may prioritise careers that offer more flexibility or work-life balance, even if they don't necessarily align with your ultimate career aspirations.

By understanding how family dynamics can impact your career choices, you can make more informed decisions that align with your personal and familial goals.

Self-Reflection on family dynamics:

  • What responsibilities can you share at home to create a more balanced and supportive environment?

  • What are your expectations of your family members and how do you react when those expectations are not met?

  • What role do you play within your family, and how does that role impact the dynamic as a whole?

Step 6: Build your support system

Career planning can feel overwhelming, but remember, you don't have to do it alone. By building a support system, you can get the guidance, feedback, and encouragement you need to stay motivated and on track. Your support system can include family members, friends, mentors, and professional networks.

When building your support system, seek out individuals who will challenge you, provide constructive feedback, and hold you accountable. Look for people who share your values and goals, as they can provide valuable insights and guidance based on their own experiences.

Self-Reflection on your support system:

  • Who is currently in your support system, and how have they helped you in the past?

  • Are there individuals you could add to your support system to provide additional guidance and perspective?

  • What qualities do you value in a mentor or support system member, and how can you find individuals who possess those qualities?

Step 7: Take actions ‒ mastering the career planning game

Now that you have defined what a fulfilling career means to you, considered traditional, cultural and transgenerational factors that may influence your career decisions, integrated it into your family dynamic and built a support system, it's time for you to take action towards your short-term and long-term career goals.

As you discuss career planning with your family, considering all these complex factors, it's essential to take a system approach. At the heart of this system approach is the belief that the success of one member can positively impact the entire system, and vice versa. By working together to identify your individual career goals and creating a plan in balance with each other to achieve them, you and your family can create a supportive environment where everyone thrives.

Whether you find this system approach idea daunting or not, external support from a professional consultant can always help you make this process more manageable. So, what does a guided system approach to career planning look like in practice? It starts with an initial couple session, where both partners discuss their career trajectories and what they want to achieve in the long term. From there, you go through individual sessions to identify your specific needs and challenges.

But that's not all ‒ the system approach also considers cultural and transgenerational effects that may influence career planning. By acknowledging these factors, you and your family can create a plan that considers not only your individual goals but also the broader system in which you operate.

Finally, you and your partner come back together for a final session, formulating a joint action plan that balances both partners' career goals and supports everyone in achieving them. It's about more than just ensuring everyone has a seat at the table ‒ it's about creating a plan that optimises the entire system for success.

In the end, the system approach to career planning is about recognising that you don't operate in a vacuum. By bringing your loved ones into the conversation and working together to create a plan that supports everyone, you can achieve your career goals and build stronger, more supportive relationships in the process.

Conclusion: Achieving career success through a system approach

Let's face it, the traditional approach to career planning needs to be updated. In our fast-paced, ever-changing world, you need a new approach that considers all aspects of your life. That's where the system approach comes in. By viewing career planning as a system, you can achieve a more stable, joint, and mutual career plan beyond individual career planning.

But it's not just about career success; it's also about maintaining equilibrium in the long term. By working together with your partner, you can prevent a permanent state of disequilibrium from developing and ensure a well-functioning career plan that works efficiently within your own family system.

This method is especially important in global family settings. Through a flexible system that handles shifts and changes well, you can share and adapt your family responsibilities as well as possible.

So let's plan our careers together, communicate openly, and mutually support each other. The result? A much better and mutually supportive long-term joint plan that considers dynamic functional processes. And remember, it works best for the whole family if both partners feel as good as possible on their own career paths.

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Judit Végh, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Intercultural Psychologist & Global Family Consultant Judit Végh, Founder of Intercultural Life, is a recognized expert in Intercultural Psychology. With a focus on global family life, acculturation, relationship dynamics, change management, and career planning in global family settings, Judit brings over a decade of knowledge and expertise to her work. Her personal experiences have driven her passion for supporting transnational families and providing exceptional support to her clients.

Judit's experience also includes a decade in HR and ongoing work as a career education consultant for an edtech startup. This diverse background has given her a unique perspective on global family life and a deep understanding of the challenges faced by transnational families.

She is also a PhD candidate in Psychology, having conducted extensive research on global family life published in high-ranking journals such as Thunder Business Review and Journal of Global Mobility. Judit is co-founder and board member of SIETAR Southeast Asia, a society for intercultural education, training, and research, and a member of several international professional organisations, including the Asian Association of Social Psychology, International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, Hungarian Psychological Association, Mobile Professionals and Families, Families in Global Transition, and World Council on Intercultural and Global Competence. Her expertise and dedication to her work have made her a regular presenter at scientific conferences.



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