Career Engagement is a holistic approach to balancing challenge and capacity (individual/organization) across life roles.
Originally developed by Drs. Borgen (Neault) & Pickerell, the Career Engagement model explores the interaction between challenge and individual/organizational capacity. In the model, challenge refers to how meaningful/motivating specific activities may be; capacity comprises a wide range of individual and contextual factors, including personal characteristics/competencies, resources, and supports.
Too much challenge for capacity can result in feeling overwhelmed; too little challenge can result in feeling underutilized. As being either overwhelmed or underutilized can result in disengagement, understanding the route to disengagement is essential to designing appropriate resiliency supports and interventions. Continuous small adjustments can help to sustain engagement, resilience, and optimal life experiences.
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Optimizing Career Engagement: A Guide for Enhancing Careers and Other Life Roles introduces readers to career engagement, a model authors Deirdre A. Pickerell and Roberta A. Borgen developed and which conceptualizes career engagement as the alignment of challenging, stimulating work with a matching level of capacity.
The book outlines the history and development of the career engagement model, along with the authors’ current thinking on how it fits within the broader conversation around work and life engagement. The first chapter examines the changing world of work, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional chapters focus on various elements of the career engagement model. Readers learn about the factors that contribute to career engagement—motivating work, meaningful opportunities, resources, relationships, workload, well-being, and fit—and how the model operates in specific contexts. Remaining chapters focus on career engagement for students, families, communities, and retirees, providing readers with strategies for staying engaged across all life roles. Each chapter features a case vignette to demonstrate how the chapter’s focused content applies in the real world, as well as activities and reflection opportunities to deepen and personalize learning.
Designed to stimulate and support important conversations about work and life, Optimizing Career Engagement is an exemplary resource for courses and programs in human resources management, organizational behavior, and career development.