The presented book was published by Dr Agnes Engler in collaboration with some other researchers in 2020 by Verbum - KU publishing house. What makes the book very valuable and interesting is that it provides an overview of key findings from those researches, which are in a way or another related to the questions on career success and family life and the possibilities of the harmony between the two. Moreover, familial education in the central and eastern countries of Europe has only in recent years become part of the mandatory or elective classes at schools; therefore, such efforts will provide significant assistance in the field. The book has been divided into three main sections: family and career, learning from a gender perspective and commitment and success in higher education. Each section includes three minor parts.
The link between family background and the success of a student is strong. This connection might be notified in the early ages of children easier because the impact of family resources is more influential at that stage. Nevertheless, the impact of family background cannot be shortened into a specific stage of an individual’s life or only socioeconomic status. The influence can prolong all the stages of life. Some family aspects play a significant role in shaping the background, such as family environment and contact. These are all important in children/student’s wellbeing/success and later in adult life; they turn to be the background of an individual or a professional.
In the book, the success of adults in their careers is examined based on two different lines; the first is the use of family resources (including material and social capital), and the second is the current situation of adult professionals including (the family of procreation and their private relationships). These are also good elements of human capital, and any investment in human capital leads to more significant opportunities in the labour market.
The book explores the integration of youth’s private life and professional career plans, emphasising continuous learning. At the outset of life, it is an immense undertaking for young people to assess, organise and arrange private life experiences and deal with the changing responsibilities that arise from time to time (employees, partners and parents). The book offers that the arrangements for private life and career can be integrated, and both are not mutually exclusive. It suggests that if students are mindful, they will substitute “family and career” challenges with alternative “family and career” models. With adequate training, the person is not only able to leverage his skills and learned knowledge in the workplace but is also inspired for lifelong learning. In addition, an individual will be able to successfully organise their roles in their respective communities and society.
The book also sheds light on some aspects of gender differences in higher education. The main points are acquiring cultural capital, personal and career plans between the two genders in different stages of their studies. The research results presented in the book support the idea of giving more help to those female students who are on maternal leave because those years could be utilised as investing family capital period, and it can have considerable benefit in the short and long run. This assist is support for lifelong learning in which its importance is verified. It is necessary to invest in education at all periods of life, particularly during times away from the labour market. Investment in human capital gains, as the findings shows, rewards both individually and collectively.
Regarding the same topic, the writer raises the possibility of improving the demographic situation in Hungary. Assisting students to return to their jobs after maternal leave may improve the demographic situation by encouraging female students in higher education to have children. I think this could also be considered as an encouragement to population growth via families while the Hungarian government is currently implementing the Family Protection Action Plan and encouraging its citizens to be family-friendly. Moreover, it argues that this increase will not be based on quantity only, but the quality as well because the learning parent example would have a positive impact on her children’s mind-set to study and develop the cultural capital of the family.
The book demonstrates that even though girls play a leading role in conventional cultural use, the findings on gender gaps in higher education students’ future career plans are consistent with the fact that men are still able to gain on the labour market. Concerning female higher education teachers, they are the minority, and the number of female teachers declines steadily but getting higher in the academic hierarchy.
The presented results regarding satisfaction and success in adult education show that when the effects of private life background increase, the effects of the original background decrease. For instance, healthy and successful marriages, life and the number of children are all positive effects on the quality of learning. In other words, the narrowest personal learning environment positively affects adult learning efficiency.
All in all, the work is an excellent effort to compare the two areas of life career and private life. At the same time, it is an attempt to answer the question of how those two could be in harmony with each other. Evidences from different sets of data show that strong family connections and a positive private relationship provide support for a successful career.