The Life Career Rainbow – A Study

The Life Career Rainbow - A Study


People move through different stages in their life and also in their career. Demands at work vary with time just as in personal life. When demands in one area occur in cohesion with demand in another area, life becomes comfortable. However, when the demands in both areas are equally high, she starts suffering from anxiety, depression, stress and dissatisfaction. Thus, it is important that the professional balances her life. In this article, we will discuss about the Life Career Rainbow and how it helps enhancing happiness.


Donald Super pioneered a theory in 1980 that talks about development in career as far as Life Stages and Life Roles are concerned. Super commenced work on development of career in the 1930s and in 1957 wrote a book "The Psychology of Careers." In 1980, he adjusted his theory by keeping in mind the fact that people no longer follow a straight path to develop their career.

The theory was called "Life Career Rainbow." The article here, speaks about Super’s work which deals with life pattern of modern professionals.

Life Career Rainbow

Roles of Life

Donald Super introduced eight roles of life. They are child, student, leisurite, citizen, worker, parent, spouse and home-maker.

# Child

This is the energy and time a person spends with her parents. The role starts at birth and stays till any one of the parents live. Initially a person spends a lot of time in this role which reduces in course of time as parents get older and the person grows up. In the later stage, people spend a lot of time looking after their parents.

# Student

A person can become a student when she is around three or four years old. However, the age of commencing education depends on the culture in which she belongs. Student role continues till the age of twenty. Even though in recent years it has gone up to thirty because of the professional courses in which students enroll. In fact, in recent years people are keeping themselves engaged in studies throughout their lives.

# Leisurite

Leisurite is a term introduced by Super to describe the time spent to pursue leisure. There are several people who indulge in leisurely activities they are children or after they retire.

# Citizen

Citizens spend their energy and time working for social welfare. They indulge in volunteer work for which they do not get paid. This kind of activity is practiced when children grow up and people have more time to spend on other things.

# Worker

This is the time spent by a person as a paid resource.

# Parent

Parenthood is the period when people spend their time for their children. Parent role carries its significance till children attain the age of sixteen. However, many children study long after they attain adulthood and stay at home. Moreover, adults move into their homes and look after their children. In such circumstances, the parent role acts for a longer period of time.

# Spouse

This is the time spent by a person in a committed relationship. Activities that help in maintaining the relationship are also a part of spousal role.

# Home-maker

This is the role in which people spend their time in homely activities like, cleaning, cooking, shopping and repairing. This role commences when a person starts living without her parents. The homemaker role is not associated to any specific gender.

Stages of Life

When Super modified his model, the lives of people tended to move around five stages of life. The five stages are associated to the model. Since, the life pattern of people have changed, it is suggested that they modify them as per their life style. The stages of life are as follows.

# Growth

This stage is till the age of fourteen. This is the time when a person grows physically and starts having ideas about their worth. During this period they realize their interests and abilities.

Article signup banner

# Exploration

  • The age of exploration is generally from fourteen to twenty five. This is the stage when people begin to know about various kinds of work and try to learn about ways that make them successful. During this stage, the more people learn about new things, the more committed they become to a few choices. She starts to narrow the field to those tasks that she likes. During the end of this stage, a person analyzes the career options that she can select as per her skills and expectations.
  • Superficially, it may seem to be a smooth and properly thought-out process. However, people often make strange choices in career. Though, the first experience in the exploration stage occurs between the above mentioned ages, it is likely that she will return to that stage at least one time in future, when she thinks through her career options.

# Establishment

The typical range for this stage is from twenty six to forty five years. This stage begins when people have a good career and settle in their professional lives as productive society members. People become responsible and attain satisfaction from their work.

# Maintenance

  • At this point of time, people maintain their present career and take part in activities that develop their career and also keep themselves up to date.
  • In recent years, however, people aged between fifty to sixty years face discrimination at workplace. Thus, they tend to leave the organization and take retirement. Laws that are anti-discrimination in nature reduce this attitude towards elderly employees.

# Disengagement

At this stage, people prefer to slow down their pace and retire from work. At this stage people choose to keep themselves away from paid tasks, so that they can spend time in indulging in leisurely activities and as responsible citizens. This stage acts as a time to implement stress management.

To Wrap Up

From this article, it can be deduced that life career rainbow describes eight roles in a person’s life and five stages. The five stages come from the model of Super. Given the fact that the life pattern of people has changed in recent years, the roles and stages should be modified according to people’s living style.

Other tools you might find interesting