DOVE: A Values-Based Career Recipe For Success and Satisfaction

By Edward Colozzi

What If?

What if helping a client discover or create a career could be done in a fairly easy-to-do process that was not unlike preparing a tasty meal using a combination of one's favorite foods, some secret spices, a crock-pot for slow cooking, a dose of creativity, and several teaspoons of "willingness to trust" the process? What if the secret spices were the client's deep-seeded hidden values system, something that would make all the difference in the world to their success and satisfaction with career and life choices across life roles and throughout their school-to-school, school-to-work, and work-to-retirement and leisure roles? And what if the main role of the counselor was to encourage the client to tell their story, share their experiences, reflect on themselves and their experiences, and then simply listen and reflect back to the client what the client has shared?

Discovering Values Through DOVE

I believe it is possible to help clients discover their hidden value system; I believe this value system plays an active role in all that we do, whether or not we are aware of its presence; and I strongly believe that values are the key determinant of all career and life choices. The challenge is to discover them, extract them so they are visible and in our consciousness, and then apply them in practical ways to our decision-making across career and life roles. I call this process DOVE, Depth-Oriented Values Extraction and have used this successfully with many clients in a variety of settings for thirty years (Colozzi, 1978; 2003). I suggest this focus on values, in the context of our ability to help clients reflect on themselves, can provide a meaningful and lasting career counseling intervention across life roles including the multiple job and career changes most person will be making in this global economy.

Careers, Callings, Purpose, and Spirituality

DOVE helps clients discover or create work that fosters a sense of meaning and purpose. Many individuals acknowledge an awareness of some deep, inner potential and express much frustration with their lack of clarity regarding their career direction. This lack of clarity and accompanying feelings of angst serve as important emotional triggers that moves clients into a state of readiness for career counseling. Many still want sufficient income to sustain their lifestyle, but many also discover what truly motivates them is their desire to search for a more purposeful career and life path. Much of this work involves assisting clients discover their callings and introduces an important role for spirituality in career development theory and practice.

Expanded View of Person/Environment Matching

Career counselors enjoy helping others discover and focus on their career and life goals, set specific objectives that meet those goals, and develop an action plan for implementing their objectives. This involves assisting clients to actively participate in an in-depth exploration of self-knowledge, understanding the world of work, and applying effective decision-making skills to determine the most appropriate person/environment (P-E) matches. Parsons did have it right a hundred years ago, at least the very core of what our profession now recognizes as an important and fundamental conceptual model (P-E) on which the field still rests (Parsons, 1909; Savickas & Baker, 2005). Those who appreciate the richness of the matching approach remind us that it is a process and not a simplistic "point in time" event that disregards intuition and the developmental nature of career choice (Sampson, 2005).

Placing this matching process in the context-rich environment of career and life roles allows it to expand into a fully functional creative process with multiple applications for young and older adults experiencing transitions. This important career/life paradigm encourages a person to seek balance among appropriate activities in work and other life roles that facilitate the implementation of their self-concept system, a "picture the person has of self in numerous roles and situations" (Super, Savickas & Super, 1996), and even inspires them to create their careers with confidence, very much a constructivist approach, in addition to looking for jobs that are already in existence (Colozzi, in press).

The Important Role of Values In Career Choice

Traditionally counselors have used interests and abilities to guide informed P-E matches. One of Super's major contribution to the P-E model was his argument that values be included for vocational appraisal because he appreciated how much values provide a sense of purpose as they "serve as stars to steer by in guiding individuals to specific places within life spaces, places that can be the center of meaning, locales for need satisfaction, and venues for the expression of interests" (Super, Savickas & Super, 1996). DOVE focuses on the relationship between interests and values and results in DOVE Value Themes that bring about a more "wholesome", a more holistic, very personal, and complete application of a client's Holland-type code across work and life roles (Colozzi & Colozzi, 2000).

DOVE encourages an in-depth exploration through enjoyable activities with school age youth, college populations, and adults in transition. It can be done in individual, therapeutic counseling environments, with small group in education, agency, or corporate settings, and even tailored for infusion into traditional classrooms activities. This is a process that involves a DOVE Reflection Inventory, that a trained counselor believes in and applies in a highly collaborative counseling relationship.

I invite you to learn more about DOVE, see clients experience it with video-case studies, and experience it yourself at the NCDA Seattle Conference in PDI #4, Thursday July 5 from 1:00 PM-5:30 PM. If you are unable to attend, please feel free to visit www.lifeworkps.com/edwardc or contact me directly for information about DOVE and other trainings.


Colozzi, E. A. (1978). Values clarification process. Oahu, HI: Leeward Community College.

Colozzi, E. A. & Colozzi, L. C. (2000). College students' callings and careers: An integrated values-oriented perspective. In D. A. Luzzo (Ed.), Career counseling of college students: An empirical guide to strategies that work (pp 63-91). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Colozzi. E. A. (2003). Depth-oriented values extraction (DOVE). The Career Development Quarterly, 52, 180-189.

Colozzi. E. A. (in press). DOVE Depth-oriented values extraction: Helping clients imagine and create possibilities with career construction beyond objective assessment. NCDA Monograph (anticipated publication-2008).

Colozzi. E. A. (in press) Creating careers with confidence. Prentice Hall. (anticipated publication-2008).

Parsons, F. (1909) Choosing A Vocation. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.

Sampson, J. P., Jr. (2005). Modern and post-modern career theories: The unnecessary divorce. Presentation at the 2005 NCDA Global Career Conference Featured Session, "Modern and post-modern career theories: Considering a synthesis for practice".

Savickas, M. L. (2004). Vocational psychology, overview. Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology, Vol.3.

Savickas, M. L, & Baker, D. B. (2005). The history of vocational psychology: Antecedents, origin, and early development. In W. B. Walsh & M. L. Savickas (Eds.)) Handbook of vocational psychology (3rd ed.) Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Super, D. E., Savickas, M. L., & Super, C. M. (1996). The life-span, life-space approach to careers. In D. Brown, L. Brooks, & Associates (Eds.), Career choice and development (pp. 121-178). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Edward Colozzi
, Ed.D,is owner of Career Development and Counseling Services in Winchester, MA and has provided corporate trainings, individual counseling, and career/life coaching for 35 years. He has held teaching, counseling, and career development coordinator positions at graduate and undergraduate levels. Ed authored Creating Careers with Confidence, being published by Prentice Hall in 2008, and the first career-life exploration published in Braille for visually challenged persons, DOVE (Depth-Oriented Values Extraction), and has designed guidance materials for K-12 and college students in multiple settings. He is currently authoring an NCDA Monograph on DOVE. He can be contacted at edcolozzi@verizon.net.

Printer-Friendly Version