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A Research Note on Becoming What We Do in Career Development

David V. Tiedeman
Vocational Guidance Quarterly, 1978, 26 (4): 361-364.


In context of the breakdown of the bicameral mind, evidence is noted suggesting that we lose courage to aspire to higher levels of occupational responsibility during late adolescence as we fail to decide how to use our study time. Sixty-eight students completed the Individual Career Exploration (ICE), a classification scheme for occupational preferences that also yields information on occupational responsibility level, and recorded for 1 week how they used their time. Findings showed that 18 high-responsible Ss spent an average of 16.11 hrs studying, 48 middle-responsible Ss spent 9.38 hrs, and 2 low-responsible Ss spent 5.00 hrs. F-testing showed that these means were significantly different even after low-responsible Ss were omitted from the analysis. Action without self-awareness (e.g., without study-time investment) constitutes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The solution lies in developing conscious "I" power to free individuals to grow.


In this regard, these theories are but specific manifestations of a fascinating hypothesis about consciousness that Jaynes (1976) recently advanced. Jaynes's theory is that as few as 12,000 year ago humankind lacked consciousness. In Jaynes's scenario for human action in the absence of consciousness, one hemisphere of humankind's two-hemisphere cerebrum simply voiced a god's command for action form an identification locus in one hemisphere to an action locus in the opposite hemisphere. In humankind's bicameral mindstate, action was quick and direct. There was no I-metaphor such as we develop for ourselves today. Jaynes offers convincing arguments that humankind only gradually developed the I- or self-metaphor in the years following the appearance of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind. In those years, humankind became less nomadic, more land owning, more congregated in larger groups, and more confused about which gods' voices ought to be followed by whom. Writing appeared. Theocracies flourished and died. Societies enlarged. Existence under law emerged. Schools were born. Societies elected to help persons 'choose' in schools among the babble of gods' voices ...