The Jiva Framework for Career Counselling

The word Jiva means 'life' in most of the Indian languages. The Jiva approach to career counselling is based on the premise that a healthy career is integrally connected to one's life. A career therefore is not just a job - it is a collection of jobs and occupations with which one engages over a life time. In this sense a career is extension of one's life

Jiva is based on five career development principles that have been interpreted from Asian culture. These principles are embedded in the Jiva logo.


The Jiva Principles of Career Development


Principle 1: The Jiva Spiral: A non linear approach to career development

Nature develops in spirals

Ancient Indian philosophy presents a cyclical approach to life. Jiva uses the image of a spiral to describe development. Nature is full of examples of spirals ranging from the structure of galaxies, to the shell of a snail and the blossoming of a rose bud. Rarely does a career develop in a linear and sequential manner. It has its ups and downs and grows with the individual. Over time, one returns to where one started, but in a qualitatively different manner: one is older and more mature. One moves from the path that one was a part of, onto a related, but different path.

A healthy career develops upon previous development, whereby one constantly learns from the past and looks to the future, all through one's life.


Principle2: The Jiva Tick Mark: Assess before you accept

Is there more to the world of
work than employment?

Indian philosophy exhorts the individual to exercise objectivity and practice dispassion (nishkama) when making decisions. Jiva interprets this to point out that the nature of economic development today, presents the Indian young person with innumerable opportunities in the labour market. This does not mean that just because an opportunity exists it should be taken. Career development requires the skill to weigh up pros and cons and then accept or reject. How relevant is an opportunity to one's interests and aptitudes? Is an opportunity merely a job offering or is it an opening into a real career? Finding answers to such questions are critical to healthy career development.


Principle 3: Green and blue: A healthy career is green and blue

Handcrafted Malaysian fishing tool | Industrial Fishing

Sensitivity to the 'other' is a deeply valued Indian concept. Jiva interprets this into a career development principle that challenges the young person's sensitivity to the environment. Global warming, biodiversity, conservation of water and energy, renewable energy, waste management, transportation alternatives, affordable housing, environmental health and social justice are examples of issues that today impact all careers. The survival of our planet is directly linked to manner in which we practice our careers.

Green and blue are the Jiva colours and Jiva workshops provoke young career choosers to consider the question: 'When you set the sky as your limit are you also turning the earth brown?'


Principle 4: The Changing and the Unchanged: Healthy career development allows change with stability

The form changes but the essence is the same

Indian philosophers describe the cosmos as a paradox of change and constancy. Jiva sensitises the young person to the fact that the individual is growing and changing, while the world of work is also changing with new opportunities constantly emerging. A career develops in finding the balance between what changes and what does not change.

Personal interests for example, are liable to change while aptitudes are deeper traits and therefore are more stable. Jobs are tied to the boom and bust of the labour market. But a career, composed as it is of a collection of jobs, does not go out of demand as easily.

Healthy careers and livelihoods are in tune with a dynamic and moving world and at the same time grounded in values that are constant and unchanging.


Principle 5: Give, in order to get: Skills for life long development

Nature gives and gets

Indian philosophy describes life to play out in clearly definable stages (ashramas) and each stage is described to have its being in the dynamic interaction between the garnering of personal gain and services rendered to society. Jiva uses this concept to highlight that career development suffers or even grinds to a halt when the dynamic tension between this 'giving' and 'receiving' is disturbed. The nature of work today is such that skill-sets become quickly redundant. The post industrial labour market requires educational and occupational planning not just at the end of school, but throughout one's life.

This Jiva principle focuses on skills to build a career, keeping a life long perspective in mind.




The Jiva approach uses these culturally embedded symbols and beliefs as the scaffolding upon which career development workshops are conducted.