Using career theory to understand people’s lives: Reflecting on Lilyhammer

I’m just on my way back from Lillehammer where I’ve been teaching as part of my role as Professor at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. It has been wonderful to start travelling again and to see some of my Norwegian friends and colleague for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

During the pandemic I reworked all of my teaching into an online format. So what used to be two days of career theory teaching has now been reworked into a series of online career theory videos. As these now exist, it seemed stupid to go and parrot out the same stuff that is already available online.

Instead we decided to spend some time focusing on how these theories can be applied and utilised to help to understand people’s lives. I decided to focus on Johnny Henriksen from the TV show Lilyhammer. I wanted to take a well know figure and show how all of the six main theories that I discuss in the course could be applied to that individual.

The choice of Johnny also threw up some interesting ethical issues that I hadn’t really thought through in advance. How do we help and support someone who is so anti-social and whose values differ from ours so much. Does this matter? Should we just leave it to the police or does career guidance have a role to intervene and help to make someone like Johnny into a better man.

I’d be interested to hear from anyone else who has done a similar exercise using a fictional or public figure to explore career theories.

So this is what I had to say…


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