An emotional and motivational vaccine to boost career resilience during the COVID‑19 pandemic: The role of mindfulness, emotion regulation and autonomous goals for employability and well-being amongst career guidance seekers
As the current COVID‑19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, it has generated an unprecedented employment crisis and significant work and career-related challenges for most people in areas such as work-life balance, motivation, and mental health. As a result, the demand for career guidance services has exploded worldwide. This has added pressure on career counselors who are struggling to adequately respond to their clients’ new needs. Unfortunately, there is paucity of data on the most important resilience factors for people undergoing a career reorientation during a pandemic. However, recent evidence suggests that mindfulness, emotion regulation, and autonomous goal motivation are promising resilience factors (Marion-Jetten et al., 2021). In partnership with CODEM (Conseillers en développement de la main d’oeuvre), a not-for-profit organization offering career guidance services, this project’s objectives are to 1) understand the extent to which career guidance services increase their clients’ three resilience factors of mindfulness, emotion regulation, and goal motivation; 2) demonstrate the extent to which these three resilience factors predict the clients’ employability and well-being after a career counseling process.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, CODEM has seen a substantial increase in demand and does not have the resources necessary to analyze its clients’ new difficulties and the resilience factors that could help them. This partnership is thus essential for the organization because it will provide it with dedicated resources to reach its research goals, while allowing its counselors to use most of their time focussing on their growing client population. It will provide them with a solid, evidence-based understanding of their clients’ main difficulties and resilience factors, and pinpoint how to orient their interventions so that they actually make a difference for employability and client well-being in a time of great uncertainty.
Decades of research has shown that mindfulness (i.e., the ability to be non-judgmentally aware of present sensations, thoughts and emotions as temporary mental states) can help people cope with stressful uncertainty by helping them to better regulate their emotions. Research also shows that people who are more mindful in everyday life also set goals that are more autonomous, i.e., more congruent with their real interests and deeply held values. When we set more autonomous goals, we perform better, we more likely to stick with them when obstacles occur, and we experience more well-being when we attain them. Surprisingly, little is known about these goal processes in a context of stress related to career reorientation and career goals. Since the goals that career counseling seekers pursue are key for their future adaptation to the labour market, it is important to investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness, emotion regulation, and goal motivation as resilience factors in a career guidance context.
To examine this question, we will conduct a longitudinal study among a sample of career counseling clients at CODEM, following them before, during and after a career counseling process. To our knowledge, this is the first project examining how mindfulness, autonomous goal motivation and emotion regulation can predict employability and well-being in the context of career counseling during a pandemic — a time of great job insecurity for many workers and young people seeking to enter the labour market. This project will contribute greatly to enhancing career counselors’ professional practice who need to adapt their services to a growing clientele facing more and more complex career-related obstacles, such as those experienced since the beginning of the COVID‑19 pandemic.