Deconstructing career myths and cultural stereotypes in a context of low resourced township communities
The current research presents the voices of black adolescents struggling to emerge from the shadow of the Apartheid legacy, focusing on the career beliefs that are perpetuated in low socio-economic communities and negatively influence career opportunities. Inaccurate information can result in career myths, which can have a negative impact on career development. The present study uses the Systems Theory Framework (STF) as a means of engaging with clients from marginalised groups. It also offers a mechanism to explore the impact of overlooked career influences such as culture, religion, community and socio-economic conditions. The qualitative career measure, My System of Career Influences (MSCI), was used to explore the factors that contribute to career decision-making. Specifically, widely shared irrational beliefs that had prevented participants from applying to tertiary institutions were examined. Career misconceptions were grouped according to Stead and Watson’s (1993) career myths, namely: 1) test myths; 2) misconceptions of exactitude; 3) self-esteem myths; and 4) career anxiety myths. The meaning-making that adolescents from disadvantaged contexts undergo, based on their unique constellation of contextual career influences and their resultant story-telling, is intrinsic to understanding local South African career identities embedded in township communities.
Keywords: career beliefs; career decision-making; career development; career myths; My System of Career Influences; South African township; Systems Theory Framework