chapter  3
36 Pages

Career Development of Asian Americans: A Research Area in Need of a Good Theory

In this anonymous Chinese poem, assumed to have been written between the 3rd century B.C. and the 6th century A.D., a woman describes the progress of her husband's career as a steady rise through the ranks of the governing hierarchy. The poem suggests that even in ancient China the concept of career development was present. However, the smooth career path depicted in this poem was probably limited to a narrow segment of the population. For many, a career in government or in any other field was not a viable option. Even Lao-tzu's teaching (Mitchell, 1988), "In work, do what you enjoy" (p. 8), was probably not feasible for many individuals because choices were limited by one's station in life and other factors. At most, one could hope for an occupation that would provide a livelihood. For numerous individuals, however, even this modest aspiration was not attainable and continued to be so over the centuries.