Life designing: A paradigm for career construction in the 21st century

Mark Savickas, Nota Laura, Jérôme Rossier, Jean-Pierre Dauwalder, Maria Eduarda Duarte, Jean Guichard, Salvatore Soresi, Raoul Van Esbroeck, Annelies Van Vianen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

767 Citations (Scopus)


At the beginning of the 21st century, a new social arrangement of work poses a series of questions and challenges to scholars who aim to help people develop their working lives. Given the globalization of career counseling, we decided that to address these issues and then formulate potentially innovative responses in international forum to avoid the difficulties of creating models and methods in one country and then trying to export them to other countries where they would be adapted for use. This article presents the initial outcome of this collaboration, a counseling model and methods. The life-design model for career intervention endorses five presuppositions about people and their work lives: contextual possibilities, dynamic processes, non-linear progression, multiple perspectives, and personal patterns. Thinking from these five presupposition, we have crafted a contextualized model based on the epistemology of social constructionism, particularly recognizing that an individual's knowledge and identity are the product of social interaction and that meaning is co-constructed through discourse. The life-design framework for counseling implements the theories of self-constructing (Guichard, 2005) and career construction (Savickas, 2005) that describe vocational behavior and its development. Thus the framework is structured to be life-long, holistic, contextual, and preventive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-250
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • adaptability, career construction, life design
  • narrative therapy


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