The Importance of Work in an Age of Uncertainty: The Eroding Work Experience in America

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David L. Blustein is a Professor in the Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. David is the author of The Psychology of Working: A New Perspective for Career Development, Counseling, and Public Policy, and The Importance of Work in an Age of Uncertainty: The Eroding Experience of Work in America. Over the past few decades, David has contributed articles and book chapters on the psychology of working theory, unemployment, work-based counseling/career development education, decent work, precarious work, relationships and work, and other aspects of the role of work in people’s lives.  David received a B.A. in Psychology from Stony Brook University, M.S.in Counselor Education from Queens College, and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Teachers College-Columbia University.  

WEBINAR DESCRIPTION: This presentation reviews the major findings and conclusions from a new book entitled The Importance of Work in an Age of Uncertainty: The Eroding Work Experience in America (Oxford University Press). A core aspect of this book is a comprehensive qualitative study of working in the U.S., known as the Boston College Working Project, which yielded very disturbing findings about the state of work in America. One of the major themes that will be explored is the observation that there are two profoundly disparate experiences of working within the U.S.; some work for survival and struggle to eke out an existence while others work for self-determination and experience feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment in their work lives. In addition, this project identified a growing sense of social and psychological erosion in the workplace, which was manifested in a wide array of ways, including increased self- and other blame, as well as a fragmented sense of security and identity. The presentation will conclude with future research directions and implications for career counseling and public policy. The presentation will include some brief readings from the book, including moving passages from the participants about the impact of work in people’s lives.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

  • To provide participants with state of the art knowledge about the psychological experience of working in America.
  • To identify the major social and economic forces that are so profoundly reshaping work for a wide cross-section of working people (including precarious work and wage compression).
  • To learn how to develop evidence-based career interventions for the new era of uncertainty.
  • To consider possible public policy options to create more stable and decent work.