ABSTRACT

Traditional theories within vocational psychology have often prompted people to contemplate what types of jobs fit their personality and then attempt to secure such positions (e.g., Holland, 1959). Embedded in this approach is the idea that people can easily pursue any educational and occupational opportunities that match their desires. Unfortunately, most people are not able to freely choose the kinds of jobs they would like because of various reasons such as discrimination, economic constraints, and a lack of access to opportunities. Emerging frameworks within vocational psychology are beginning to acknowledge this issue by examining the factors that influence a person’s choice of work. One such theory, the Psychology of Working Theory (PWT; Duffy, Blustein, Diemer, & Autin, 2016), attempts to reveal how people can pursue decent work, which is not necessarily work that a person is drawn to, but work that fulfills a person’s basic needs and contributes to a greater sense of well-being. Duffy et al. contend that decent work is a fundamental right that should be available to all people. That is, people who want decent work should be able to attain it without first having to surmount numerous obstacles. This ideal is proposed to contribute not only to the well-being of individuals but also to the growth of society. This chapter explores the PWT and the central construct of decent work. In the following pages, we describe the concept of decent work, examine its antecedents and consequences, and, finally, explore the implications of the PWT and decent work for those either in the workforce or preparing to enter the workforce.