Jiva Values Framework

The word Jiva means ‘life’ in most Indian languages. The Jiva approach to career counselling is based on the premise that a healthy career is integrally connected with one’s life. A career  is not just a job – it is a collection of jobs and occupations that draw upon our potentials and give us deep satisfaction.  A career is something we engage with  over a life time. In this sense a career is extension of one’s life

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

The Jiva Spiral: A non linear approach to career development

Ancient Indian philosophy presents a cyclical approach to life. Drawing upon this principle Jiva uses the image of a spiral to describe development.

During the Jiva workshop children learn that 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. Through various Jiva activities children discusses the fact that rarely does a career develop in a linear and sequential manner.  It has its ups and downs and grows with the individual.

As life plays out, one often returns to where one started, but in a qualitatively different manner: one is older and more mature. One could move 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.

Nature develops in spirals!

The Jiva Tick Mark: Assess before you accept

Young people today are under immense pressure to make the “right” career choice.  Stress and emotions run high.

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. 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.

During the Jiva workshop students ponder over how suitable an opportunity or an educational path is to one’s interests and aptitudes.  Does an  opportunity merely lead to a job or is it an opening into a real career?

Finding answers to such questions are critical to healthy career development. Jiva lays the foundations for students to develop a critical attitude toward career choice.  

Healthy career development is based on well developed skills for decision making and knowing which career path to tick mark for oneself.

Making an effective choice might mean saying “no” to something everyone else is choosing.

Green and blue: A healthy career is green and blue

Another principle we see in nature is interdependence.  The work done by one organism provides sustenance for  other organisms in an amazing web of interrelatedness. By contrast, human work has been exploitative, not only of the environment, but also of other human beings. 

Sensitivity to the ‘other’ is a deeply valued Indian concept. Jiva interprets this into a career development principle that sharpens the young person’s sensitivity to the environment and to human relationships.   

During Jiva workshops students discuss how global warming, biodiversity, conservation of resources, renewable energy, waste management, transportation alternatives, affordable housing, environmental health, over consumption, exploitation and social justice are directly linked to how we practice our careers.

Career by its very nature implies promotion of the self.  Yet, the practice of a career lies in the interface between garnering of personal gain and services rendered to society.  Career development suffers or even grinds to a halt when the dynamic tension between this ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’ is disturbed.  

When we set the sky as the limit for our careers, are we also turning the earth brown?’

Career success comes only when one is mindful of the wellbeing of others. 

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

The egg and the soaring bird seem to be completely different in form.  Yet, it is impossible for the egg of a crow pheasant to hatch into a peacock!

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.

The form changes, but the essence remains the same.

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

Jiva workshops begin with activities using learning cards and discussions to orient children to these fundamental values undergirding career development.