UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The experience of making a career decision in young adulthood Breuer, Karin


This study was designed to examine how young adults frame the experience of making a career decision. Eight persons between the ages of 18 and 25 years, who were enrolled in a post secondary program which on completion could lead directly into an occupation, volunteered to take part in the study. Participants completed a brief demographic questionnaire and were interviewed twice. The narratives were transcribed and then analyzed using a phenomenological method (Giorgi, 1975; Gurwitsch, 1968). Independent elements of the stories, called meaning units (Giorgi, 1975), were identified and sorted into 40 theme clusters that reflected the young adults' experience of making career decisions. The theme clusters were collapsed into 11 categories representing the noematic nucleus (Gurwitsch, 1968), which lead to the structure of the experience: the relationship of self in deciding, volition, the experience of high school, outside influences, the role of family, applying to a program, feelings about being accepted, observation about others, self-talk, other decisions, and thoughts about the future. The narratives were then re-read and two questions were asked: "What does this statement tell us about the experience?" and "How is the statement framed?". It was found that young adults respond to personal stimulus that activates the career decision process. Application to a post secondary program was seen as synonymous with commitment to a career path. The anxiety of waiting, was followed by a feeling of freedom and empowerment when the individual had been accepted to the program of choice. The experience was marked by strong emotions, self-knowledge, and a stated as well as tacit understanding of the environmental factors that influenced the decision. The study illustrates the need for practitioners to examine their modes of, as well as their expected outcomes for career counselling. The young adults interviewed expressed varying levels of dissatisfaction with the career counselling they received in school. They were articulate about what might have helped them and tended to believe that drifting into a career was equally valid as making a career choice.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.