In-attentional Blindness in Career

Dear readers, can you recall an incident where you failed to notice your friend, or a relative or someone even though they were around you & visible to you. But you still didn’t see anyone of them unless they approached you. At that moment you feel surprised for not seeing them. Here I am describing an example of a concept in cognitive science, which is a branch of Psychology known as ‘In-attentional Blindness’.
In-attentional blindness is the failure to notice the existences of an unexpected item. In each case you fail to notice something that is clearly visible. It is due to your unexpected thought of the person or thing to be present in a particular situation. If you don’t have a thought of a person or a thing to be present in an event then there are more possibilities that you will fail to notice them. The problem of failing to notice something is not only restricted to meeting with people, even one can perceive it in career too.
As we know that the career is a progress and actions taken by a person throughout a lifetime, especially related to a person’s occupation. Well if we start from the high school, how a student & parents perceive about the career and how In-attentional blindness occurs. Then in this period either of them will focus more on the academic scores, as we have a strong perception over 10th academic scores. If the student scores above 80% he or she can select science stream, below this it is reserved for commerce, Arts & Diplomas. Even they will approach uncle or the brother who is already working in a higher position for more guidance.
After two years there will be one more meet of parents with their child. This time the agenda is to decide what next after 12th, if he or she has selected biology then medicine and if not Engineering. For commerce or Arts students, management courses along with B.Com & B.A. will be the options.
After completion of bachelors if it is engineering, now the parents will assume that their son or daughter will fetch a job and if it is Bachelors in Science, Commerce or Management courses then the parents will set a goal for their children to secure good ranking in an entrance exam for getting a top college. And once he/she completes the course of Masters then they make an assumption of getting six figures salaries.
This is a usual pattern which we will see in majority of families. But now I would like to relate the earlier said concept ‘Inattentional Blindness’ (IB). When we use IB in career, we fail to notice the things which will go to act like barriers in future because we are not expecting it in the career. These barriers will influence the students in such a manner which makes them to undergo burnout. It refers to “a process in which the professionals’ attitudes and behaviour change in negative ways in response to job strain” (Cherniss). More specifically: The first stage involves an imbalance between resources and demands (stress). The second stage is the immediate, short-term emotional tension, fatigue, and exhaustion (Strain). The third stage consists of a number of changes in attitudes and behaviour, such as tendency to treat the work in detached and mechanical (emotionless) fashion. At last it will affect to the career development.
If we relook in high school days which is mentioned earlier, the unexpected events which parents fail to focus on children is over-protection, too-much rule enforcement which will influence in the form of no scope for enjoyment, entertainment and more important is to understand oneself. Later children find it difficult to set goals according to their limitations.
More important they fail to notice what their children loves and it is related to interests, strengths, limitations and over all ‘the passion’. There is one more possibility that parents often get confused with interest & the passion. Interest is something which will stay for a shorter period of time and energy or performance will be missing. But whereas the passion is for a longer period of time and energy & performance will be present all the time. With this confusion, parents fail to notice the passion instead focus the career of their children on the basis of interest.
And more often get the guidance from a brother or uncle. I appreciate their role and the precious time they spend for helping to select the right course. On the basis of their guidance, students will fix a path which even they don’t know what will be the outcome & simply they will reach the path. This path is decided on the basis of job availability and on market trends in which the brother or uncle is working. But they fail to notice what the abilities are or the aptitude the student has, to perform the role.
After the completion of Graduation or Post-Graduation for sometimes job becomes priority without focusing much on salary or the passion they are finding in the work. After sometime they realize that they are into a wrong career that they can’t cope-up or adjust with the work environment because due to their earlier Inattentional Blindness now all the unexpected events are approaching them what they failed to notice it.
Usually the starting years of career has a lot of importance in terms of satisfaction & success in personal & professional life. It is true that in our day to day life it is apparent that we will fail to notice many things and if there is a chance will realize it. But in career there is silver lining like Psychometric assessment, Career Counselling, Career Management where we can have a proper focus to all the aspects and we can notice many events which will not become a reason for bitter realization in future. As these are the services provided by the psychologist with systematized process of psychometric and counselling; even one who has failed to notice the things in the past can also look for silver lining. Sydney Smith has rightly said “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” 
Fidahusain Balegar
Career Psychologist | Career Counsellor
Loratis Setmycareer – Pune
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Career Journey

A career is defined as the combination and sequence of roles played by a person during the course of a lifetime. These roles include those of child, pupil or student, citizen, worker, spouse, homemaker, parent and pensioner and less common roles such as those of criminal, reformer and lover.  

Careers have been viewed variously as a sequence of positions occupied by a person during the course of a lifetime (Super, 1957).

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People play a variety of roles as they mature, some of these roles beginning early in life, for e.g., that of child, and others beginning late in life, e.g., that of pensioner; In between a number of roles, such as those of spouse, parent, homemaker, and worker.

Career Development Stages

Stage 1: Growth

Age 0-14

Development of self-concept, attitudes, needs and general world of work

Stage 2: Exploration

Age 15-24

Trying out through classes, work experience, hobbies, tentative choice and skill development.

Stage 3: Establishment

Age 25-44

Entry-level skill building and stabilization through work experience

Stage 4: Maintenance

Age 45-64

Continual adjustment process to improve position

Stage 5: Decline

Age 65+

Reduced output, prepare for retirement

Developmental tasks at the different stages


In adolescence

In early adulthood

In middle adulthood

In late adulthood


Giving less time to hobbies

Reducing sports participation

Focusing on essentials

Reducing working hours


Verifying current occupational choice

Making occupational position secure

Holding one’s own against competition

Keeping what one enjoys


Getting started in a chosen field

Settling down in a suitable position

Developing new skills

Doing things one has wanted to do


Learning more about opportunities

Finding desired opportunity

Identifying new tasks to work on

Finding a good retirement place


Developing a realistic self-concept

Learning to relate to others

Accepting one’s own limitations

Developing and valuing non-occupational roles

 Making a vocational choice individuals are expressing their self-concept, or understanding of self, which evolves overtime. People seek career satisfaction through work roles in which they can express themselves and further implement and develop their self-concept.


Brown D. and Brooks L. ‘Career Choice and Development: Applying Contemporary Theories to Practice’, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002.

Department of Employment Services, ‘Developmental Theories’, Dec., 2008.

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Career Journey

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The Art and Science of Cracking Your Dream Job

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Loratis Workshop at RVCE, Bangalore

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Mirroring – My Type

When we meet a new person we need to assess quickly if he or she is positive or negative towards us, the way other animals do for survival reasons.This is general done by seeing other person’s body (gesture) – the same way we do in what is known as ‘mirroring’. Bonding with each other happens, when we mirror each other’s body language – a indication of accepted and creating rapport. I am sure many of us have noticed a common mirroring is yawning – one person starts and it sets everyone off. Robert Provine found that yawning is so contagious you don’t even need to see another person yawn – the sight of a wide-open mouth is enough to do it. It was once thought that the purpose of yawning was to oxygenate the body but we now know that it’s a form of mirroring that serves to create rapport with others and to avoid aggression — just as it also does for monkeys and chimps.

At times we see that non-verbal mirroring at party – for example two people show up at a party or meeting wearing the same outfit, they could become lifelong friends. This is why people at a rock concert will all jump to their feet and applaud simultaneously or give a ‘Mexican Wave’ together. The syn-chronicity of the crowd promotes a secure feeling in the participants. Similarly, people in an angry mob will mirror aggressive attitudes and this explains why many usually calm people can lose their cool in this situation.

The urge to mirror is also the basis on which a queue works. In a queue, people willingly co-operate with people they have never met and will never see again, obeying an unwritten set of behavioural rules while waiting for a bus, at an art gallery, in a bank or side by side in war. Professor Joseph Heinrich from the University of Michigan found that the urges to mirror others are hardwired into the brain because co-operation leads to more food, better health and Learning to mirror our parents begins early: Prince Philip and a young Prince Charles in perfect step
economic growth for communities. It also offers an explanation as to why societies that are highly disciplined in mirroring, such as the British, Germans and ancient Romans successfully dominated the world for many years.

Mirroring makes others feel ‘at ease’. It’s such a powerful rapport-building tool that slow-motion video research reveals that it even extends to simultaneous blinking, nostril-flaring, eyebrow-raising and even pupil dilation, which is remarkable as these micro-gestures cannot be consciously imitated.

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I am ‘No More’

I know this ‘Not Sound and Healthful’, but thinking about dying inspires me. For a moment, When I realize I will be no more and the kind of sensation of everything I feel, think and know of myself to be gone – my all senses vibrate in a way I can’t explain. I am born with millions of choices – I can travel, read, eat any kind of food, movies and feel more things than 99% of all humans who have ever lived. I see that it’s all waiting for me, right there now and latter. To come face to face death is the most inspiring in my life. According to Kafka wrote ‘The meaning of life is that it ends.’ I would like to get the things I like out of my life while I am alive or give to those in need, before the death call. I am carried and touched with my own death and I like to think about it often. I am sure like me, many would like to die regret-free, this helps me to passionately appreciate the choices I make today.

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