Mika Launikari


A Lifetime Quest - Developing Career Capital

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The concept of career capital relates to the notion of present-day careers and the diverse abilities that individuals need to develop, acquire and maintain along their career. Lamb and Sutherland (2010) define career capital as the collection of an individual´s personal characteristics, knowledge and skills, professional experiences and achievements, as well as relational networks that transcend company, occupation, industry and even country boundaries. Career capital takes different forms and is obtained in numerous ways throughout an individual’s professional career.

Three types of knowing 

According to the theory of career capital, individuals devote their time and effort to making an investment in their careers, and in so doing they expect a worthwhile result in terms of improving their career competences. There are three interdependent types of career-based investments that people make and through which their careers unfold. These three investments are different types of knowledge that individuals need for being successful at work and in their careers: knowing why, knowing how and knowing whom. (DeFillippi and Arthur 1994; Arthur et al. 1995; DeFillippi & Arthur 1996; Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Parker et al., 2009). They can be characterized as follows:

·        Knowing why is about one’s identity, aspirations, motivations and self-discovery. It deals with how and why individuals obtain meaning out of their daily work and continuous learning. Personal motivations allow individuals to design their careers around activities that resonate with their values and larger life goals.

·        Knowing how relates to skills, competences and expertise that are required for a particular occupational role or a specific industry, and that are transferable to other professional contexts. Examples of this type of knowledge are the ability to carry out duties and solve problems successfully, having mastery in foreign languages, and being well acquainted with the latest technological developments.

·        Knowing whom is about developing and managing one’s professional and social networks in the interest of career progression. Such networks are a source of numerous resources including professional information, peer learning, knowledge sharing, emotional support and access point to cooperation and new career opportunities.

Career capital and expatriate assignments

The theory of career capital is considered as an applicable approach to looking into the career development of individual expatriates within an international career context. There is evidence from prior research that career capital evolves when employees are on expatriate assignments, and that to some degree their skills and competences acquired abroad are transferable from one international assignment to the next one. The portability and transferability of the competences acquired from an international environment is of importance not only to the individual expatriate him/herself but to the current (and future) employer as well.

For example, Mäkelä et al. (2016) demonstrated in their study on expatriates that the most transferable type of career capital that they had obtained from abroad was knowing how. The impact of international career development on the two other forms of career capital (ie. knowing why and knowing whom) was less recognized and not so evident. Also Dickmann and Harris (2005) have reported on expatriates whose international assignment had positively influenced their knowing how capital and developed their meta-level competences while working abroad. Also aspects related to self-awareness, self-esteem and sense of oneself have been identified as areas where expatriates have improved their knowing why capital.

One hour left of 2016 - Make a New Year’s Resolution for 2017

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A New Year’s resolution is a promise that we normally make to ourselves on the first day of the year about good things that we intend to do or bad things that we plan to stop doing. Even a resolute decision can be easily forgotten the next day, unless we make a concrete plan to keep our promise and have enough support from our daily environment for sticking to it.

Our resolutions often have with our living habits to do: eating healthier, drinking less or that we plan to exercise more and live an overall healthier and more self-disciplined life. No matter what we choose to do, our promises should be realistic and they should not cause us additional (negative) stress and worry. Rather these resolutions should be easy-to-follow guidelines for living our daily life in a pleasant way without imposing excessive limitations on to us.   

Understanding oneself on a deeper level

The Irish actor Cyril Cusack (1910-1993) has shared his words of wisdom by stating: “If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am.” Quite a quest, don’t you agree? A quest means seeking something important and it usually involves a journey. For finding out who we are is definitely a quest and an adventure for a lifetime. Probably several New Year’s resolutions – one after the other – will be needed until we can say with a great certainty: “This is what I am!”.

Getting to know ourselves is the process of understanding oneself on a deeper level than just the surface. Who we are emotionally, psychologically, mentally, physically, intellectually, spiritually or professionally has to do with our values, beliefs, ideals, attitudes as well as our good and bad habits, strengths and weaknesses, passions and fears, likes and dislikes. Given the context and life situation in which we happen to be, our self, our multiple identifications and our personality define our priorities, preferences, interests and aspirations.   

The aim of a New Year’s resolution is to change something or at least to initiate something that gradually leads to a change. This may concern our personal habits, attitudes or the way we wish to see our social relationships function. It can also be about something more radical, such as making efforts to find a more meaningful job or to launch degree studies at the university. Ideally, as I see it, a New Year’s resolution should be a road that we are both willing and committed to explore on a more long-term basis (and not just for one day).   

A New Year is a fresh start

In the Middle Ages knights were forever taking on quests. Fearlessly carrying their lances, shields and banners they rode into battle and unknown adventures on horses. This is exactly the spirit for us to conquer the New Year ahead of us.

We should say goodbye to our insecurities and fears, and bravely embark on our personal journey to find more purpose and meaning for our earthly wandering. A resolute promise on a New Year’s Eve or Day can be the stepping stone to make our own lives better, and that way, even without noticing it, we can contribute to the wellbeing of other people around us.

The New Year of 2017 is a new chapter in our lives waiting to be well written!

Text: Mika Launikari

Photo: Happy New Year Dp

A simple Christmas poem

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When everything in the world
comes to a soothing standstill,
and every hastily spoken word
vanishes through the mind’s mill,
whispers from eternity can be heard.

When everything in the universe
comes to a perfect harmony,
and every chanting verse
becomes a truthful testimony,
divinity enters our earthly converse.

When something in humanity
still gives us hope and faith
and rules reinforced by sanity
make our planet again great,
efforts will lead us towards unity.

When everything in our palace
reflects unconditional joy,
and every golden wine chalice
makes our invited guests enjoy,
our globe grows to a better place.

When everything in our hearts
rejoices the beauty of love,
and when all hatred departs
on the wings of a white dove,
light illuminates our innermost parts.

Have a Wonderful Christmas & a Soft Landing in the New Year 2017!

Text: Mika Launikari

Photo: Bob Stefko (Pinterest)