Fired – the start of a new life story
Being made redundant doesn’t have to be destructive. It can open up new career paths and lead to what is sometimes called ‘biographical learning’. Anders Hallqvist demonstrates this in his pedagogy thesis.
Anders Hallqvist has studied informal learning in middle age white-collar workers who have been made redundant. With the social security systems in the civil servant sector, they have the opportunity to reflect, educate themselves and possibly rethink their choice of profession and career. You may think that one dismissal is much like the next, but the thesis shows that there are many different ways to respond.
The focus is on the concept of biographical learning. Being made redundant can be perceived as a break in people’s biographies. The break means that new life stories will be created. These stories are important because we understand our lives, to a great extent, are based and stories and storytelling.
Storytelling is not just as way of surveying and reflecting the past; it is also a way of organising and presenting our experiences so we can gain legitimacy and recognition from others. In this way stories are a tool in our identity work and an important starting point in the choices and decision-making processes that follow a dismissal.
However, the concept of biographical learning is criticised for focusing too exclusively on self-reflection. Sometimes people act creatively without thinking about it so much. In one of the articles Hallqvist, in conjunction with co-authors Lars-Christer Hydén and Per-Erik Ellström, suggest that the concept should be expanded to better reflect the fact that people handle biographical challenges in different ways. The article is called “The many faces of biographical learning” and was recently printed in the journal: Studies in the Education of Adults.
The thesis also introduces the concept of horizontal career moves to point out that people sometimes move sideways in order to be able to move onto a new career path. It also points out the importance of social relationships. In an oft-quoted publication from 1973, Mark Granovetter showed that loose networks are more important than close relationships when it comes to finding a job.
Numerous superficial relationships provide more information and a greater number of chances. However Hallqvist shows that for horizontal career moves, the situation is different. Close relationships are very important. The article is called “Occupational transitions as a relational project” and was published in the journal: Studies in Continuing Education. Support from close relations can be crucial when someone attempts to change their career. Conversely, close relationships can cause problems when they do not share ambitions and plans.
Anders Hallqvist defended his thesis in pedagogy 11 May.
Anders Hallqvist 013-285890
- Job Search: Creativity and Opportunities
Here, Hallqvist shows how creativity and chance are ascribed great importance in the hunt for a new job.
- The Many Faces of Biographical Learning
- Occupational Transitions as a Relational Project
LiU Electronic press
Last updated: 2012-08-31