The dominant trend in the literature on careers has emphasized the importance of individual agency, arguing that individuals are the primary owner of their career, and that they need to be proactive in becoming successful. However, in recent years, scholars and practitioners alike have increasingly called for a broader and more contextualized perspective on career development. Recently, a new conceptual model of sustainable career development was presented, which offers a balanced view on contemporary careers. The model departs from an individual perspective, arguing that the individual is indeed at the core of a sustainable careers, as the fit between a person and their own career is key. Yet, the sustainable career perspective also emphasizes that sustainability of one’s career is an ongoing process in which context and time are important dimensions to take into account.
This keynote talk will focus on discussing what a sustainable career is, what the key indicators of a sustainable career are, and which factors could contribute to sustainability of careers. Two specific themes will be highlighted as part of this discussion. First, I will discuss career resources as central building blocks of a sustainable career, and present research evidence showing that such career resources are already relevant during student careers and throughout the lifespan. Second, the topic of career shocks will be a central theme in this talk. Unexpected events happen to almost everyone during their career, and they are likely to have a significant impact on career development. During the talk, I will discuss the concept of career shocks and how such shocks might influence sustainability of careers.