We propose contextual action theory (CAT) as a way to conceptualise career phenomena as goal-oriented action. Explanation of career in terms of its goals rather than its causes is central. The central concepts of the theory include the systems of action, that is, action, project, and career; how action is organised, that is through behaviour, internal processes, and goals; and how these perspectives contribute to a full understanding of career. Several career issues related to the theory including its cultural sensitivity and its relative strengths and limitations are addressed. We also illustrate the concepts using a case and research examples.