An exploration with older women about their career decision-making Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zk51vk709

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  • When older women return to the workplace after an absence they can find the decision-making process difficult. Either their skills are not current or their knowledge of the workplace is out of date. As a community college administrator, my interest was in understanding the process older women went through in finding employment opportunities and making their career decisions. The women in this study had participated in a structured program that was offered by a community college. They attempted to identify occupations appropriate for them with the assistance of a computer program. I met with seven women who had finished the program at least six months before our interview. They ranged in age from 36 to 57. One participant had previously earned a bachelor's degree, and all had some general work experience. Most of the women had performed temporary work for relatively short periods of time, but one woman had worked steadily since her graduation from high school. The participants seemed to make decisions using the tools learned from the class. Several of the women in this study were still struggling with their career decisions months after the end of the structured program. They also tended to choose stereotypical "women's work" as their occupations. The program they attended was structured for a five-week period. A more flexible schedule may have allowed six of the seven participants to benefit from more extended engagement in their career decision making and planning. The second issue that emerged was that their career patterns did not appear to be congruent with those proposed by Donald Super. Previously proposed patterns did not provide a true picture for the women who were forced into the workplace when their status changed from homemaker to worker because of economic necessity. In order to provide equal occupational opportunities for women we need a better understanding of older women who are forced back into the work place for economic or social reasons.
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