By: Kerri Latham (SSC career counsellor)
The excitement and hopefulness of planning your career are often combined with the stress of uncertainty of what’s ahead. Forecasting our future careers is not so simple when there are forces beyond our control; technological, economic, social and political impacts can make career journeys more non-linear than ever before.
Additionally, your career development doesn’t come with a map to outline your career path and direct you from point A (career planning) to point B (an established career).
How can you navigate your career journey with more confidence?
The Planned Happenstance model can help. It’s a career development theory that focuses on your attitudes and actions during the process. The theory founders, John Krumboltz, Al Levin and Kathleen Mitchell, describe it as “the view that you can create opportunities by taking action on your curiosity and on chance events. It is not just luck or being in the right place at the right time. It is a conscious, purposeful, and on-going process that will help you to build a more satisfying and fulfilling career.”
Planned Happenstance outlines five key traits to navigate your career:
Explore new opportunities and follow your interests by talking with people and learning new things. Create opportunities for chance events to occur by going to a networking event, chatting with a professional in your field of interest or trying out a new activity. Be curious about the opportunities and consider all the possibilities.
Expect that there will be obstacles in your path. Stay persistent and surround yourself with supportive people who can help you overcome challenges. Throughout this process, you’re building grit and awareness of your strengths.
Keep an open mind and be flexible with changing attitudes and circumstances. It’s okay to change or adapt plans and create new plans!
View new opportunities as attainable and assume that good things will happen. Focus on thoughts like “How can I do this?” instead of “I can’t do this because…” There’s value in every experience, paid or unpaid. Be confident and know how to explain the benefits of each experience.
Expand your comfort zone to learn as much as possible. When faced with uncertainty, pause to evaluate what you need to feel more certain, but also recognize that everything has uncertainty to it. Try not to let the uncertainty stop you from taking action. This will help you create new opportunities and possibilities. Not taking action will guarantee no opportunities.
Career development is an ongoing process — what’s next?
After reviewing these key traits, how confident do you feel in your approach to career development? Do you need to work on a few in order to fully embrace Planned Happenstance?
Check out this activity to put everything into perspective so you can effectively navigate your career path. For more activities to support your career development, check out the Career Planning Essentials online course. For information on the course, visit our Career Decision-Making page.