When it comes to career choice, there are lots of different theories out there. Some focus on the role of the community, some look at the individual and changes in self-concept, some concentrate on matching skills to particular roles. But I think the career theory that is most applicable to my career path is John Krumboltz’s theory on planned happenstance. And what better way to introduce the subject than with a good old quote from Titanic?
Colonel Archibald Gracie: All life is a game of luck
Caledon Hockley: A real man makes his own luck, Archie. Right, Dawson? [Jack nods]
Krumboltz’s theory recognises that chance meetings and changes throughout our lives can impact our career paths. It’s about making the most of the opportunities around you. Those opportunities won’t always be obvious though – while you need a little bit of luck, it helps to be open-minded, flexible and persistent. Sometimes it might involve taking a bit of a risk too.
As a new graduate, I had no idea where I wanted my career path to go, and that really panicked me. I remember in the final week of university, my granddad asked me what I was going to do with my life and I felt physically sick with nerves just thinking about it! However, over the past nine years I have worked as a videographer, a management assistant in car rental, a volunteering co-ordinator, a photographer and a careers adviser – quite a mix! Half of those opportunities came to my attention because I was in the right place at the right time.
I would never have considered becoming a careers adviser had I not met the previous adviser (Jenny) at the Medway campus while I was working as a volunteering co-ordinator. Through working in an office opposite Jenny, I learnt a lot about the role of an adviser, and when a position opened for a trainee careers adviser, I decided to apply. It was a risk, as I loved my role as a volunteering co-ordinator, but thankfully it was a risk that paid off!
I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason… but to an extent Caledon Hockley was right, we do need to make our own luck too. If you’re looking for a job, make sure you let other people know so that they can tell you about any opportunities that arise. Use your networks and keep your eyes open, because you never know what’s around the corner.