Religious Diversity

Students make career decisions based on several factors.  Career Development & Vocation focuses on the intersection of interests, skills, values, and needs of your community.  When clarifying values, many students include spirituality as playing acritical role in the career development.

Spirituality can be defined as, “beliefs and practices that are both deeply personal and transcendent and can be experienced either within or outside formal religious institutions” (Walsh, 1999, p. 3). While various definitions of spirituality have been proposed over the years, this article uses the subjective, self-identification of “being spiritual” in an inclusive and broadly-defined sense.

Vocational research suggests that spirituality and career intersect in a number of ways, including: as an influence on career interests and values; as a mechanism of support; and as an influence on career decisions through “callings” (Duffy et al., 2010). By attending to these intersections, career coaches develop a richer understanding of a student’s identity and discern the role that spirituality plays in their lives.

If your religion and spirituality is an important part of your career development consider sharing your answers to the following questions:

  • Do you consider yourself spiritual? Religious?
  • What would you like to share with your career coach regarding your spiritual/religious beliefs?
  • What role do your spiritual/religious beliefs play in your career development?
  • What values do you hold because of, or in alignment with, your spirituality?
  • What are your spiritual interests and how do you like to practice, think about, or discuss them?
  • Do you see your spiritual interests and values relating to your career interests and values?

Consider sharing the importance of your spirituality/religion with your Career Coach in your next appointment

While other aspects of clients’ personal and cultural contexts provide clues to interests and values and should be explored, the spiritual context may reveal interesting insights that add a layer of richness to the self-assessment and career exploration processes.

Spirituality as Source of Support

Often spirituality is a great support for students.  Consider the following:

  • How has your spirituality supported you, in the past, during times of stress?
  • What is available to you (e.g., spiritual community, spiritual leader, spiritual practices) to support you through career challenges and turning points?
  • What could potentially get in the way of utilizing your spirituality throughout this process?

This content is based on the original article The Intersection of Career Development and Spirituality: Considerations for Career Professionals By Amber Samuels

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