Career Integrity is in the journey

Career Integrity is in the Journey

From the Director of Post Secondary Planning

A career is not an end in itself. Neither is it a simple succession of occupations. A career is an evolving journey that includes work, personal interests, friendships, spirituality, citizenship, values and the like. The Oxford Dictionary defines “integrity” as the state of being whole. It says that to integrate is to combine parts into a whole. It follows then, that “career integrity” involves people seeking their sense of identity and remaining true to it.

Career integrity is about the continuous road of discovery that, in the end, finds us seeking and managing an ever-evolving life/work balance. The benefit of the journey along that road is in the personal satisfaction and reward we gain from our efforts.

For Grammar girls who know where they are headed, working to achieve that reward can be a neat clean process of knowing oneself, establishing a direction, achieving the required academic standing and finding the most efficient pathway to that end. Things, however, can be quite different for girls who are tentative and uncertain. These girls may find their journey a confusion of signposts and speed bumps that clutter their path or, even more challenging; they may be journeying with no clear pathway at all. For these girls, finding career integrity can be a time of struggle, indecision and angst.

Paul Clitheroe, author and financial analyst/adviser says that “for many people, a job is more than an income — it’s an important part of who we are”. If this is so, then seeking career integrity is not about an end product. Instead, it is a focus on a life-long journey of self-examination, calculated risk-taking and resilience training. We can, and, in fact, often do, spend a lifetime learning to appreciate who we are and applying that knowledge to our private and work lives. As we discover new parts of ourselves, our pathway shifts and a new journey begins.

To achieve career integrity is to reach a stage in our lives when we have successfully integrated our work with our personal identity. It is rarely captured in the transition from high school to university and, only sometimes, in the transition from university to the workplace. More often than not, it is captured, lost and then recaptured in different times and places along life’s way. Most certainly, career integrity is never an end in itself.

Brisbane Girls Grammar School endeavours to produce young women who can contribute to the world confidently with wisdom, imagination and integrity. In the context of “planning for life after Grammar”, it is important to recognise that the process we call “choosing a career” is really more about the process of choosing what will be studied next year . Finding wisdom, nurturing imagination and constructing career integrity can take a lifetime. Choosing what one wishes to study is really only a beginning.

“Trying on” study and experimenting with occupations is part of the process of building career integrity. Rather than focussing on “getting it right and getting it finished”, Grammar girls are encouraged to make well-informed decisions and be open-minded with the result. More specifically, getting your university degree right at the first attempt may be appropriate and relevant for some, but making good decisions and remaining open to possibilities is appropriate and relevant for all.

On Tuesday 11 May, Brisbane Girls Grammar School and Brisbane Grammar School will again host the Combined Grammar Schools Careers Evening. Years 11 and 12 students were asked to provide their preferences for speakers and a programme has been constructed to reflect their requests. The programme for the evening is available via GrammarNet

The evening is one of many opportunities to gather the experiences and information that will signpost students’ journeys toward career integrity.

Nearly 800 senior students have registered to attend. In doing so, each has indicated an intention to begin seeking and constructing their own version of career integrity. Students may (or may not) know where they are headed and get it right the first time. Alternatively, they may (or may not) know where they are headed and decide to change direction along the way. Either way, they will have taken the first steps on their journey of self-examination, calculated risk-taking and resilience training. It will stand them in good stead.

Mr J Seaha


Clitheroe, P. Woopidoo: business and finance inspiration. Retrieved May, 5, 2010 from

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