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Careers change and they can be unpredictable. Why don't we incorporate the concepts of chance into career planning? Eric Anderson wrote an article for the National Career Development Association entitled Stop Saying Career "path"!  In his article he explains that the metaphor of a "path" embeds in our mind that one's career is visible, stable, and predictable. Stop Saying Career “path”! By Eric Anderson

Anderson believed that a better metaphor is a career "voyage" which is "a journey in a sailing vessel, perhaps visualized complete with crew members from a client’s community who help keep the vessel headed in the desired direction." He explains that there is some degree of control, but there is also a degree of happenstance. Happenstance would be the wind changing directopm or moving water currents. He adds that the boats of other voyagers also affect the journey. When you figure unpredictability into your concept of career planning, happenstance is less surprising.

Career Counseling & Happenstance

Clients learn to engage in exploratory actions as a way of generating beneficial unplanned events. John D. Krumboltz wrote an article entitled The Happenstance Learning Theory.

Happenstance Learning Theory

Krumboltz proposes that career counselors should teach their clients the importance of remaining alter and open to alternative opportunities and to engage in a variety of interesting activities. In each new activity one can pickup new skills for succeeding. He goes on to state four career counseling propositions:

  1. The goal of career counseling is to help clients learn to take actions to achieve more satisfying career and personal lives—not to make a single career decision.
  2. Assessments are used to stimulate learning, not to match personal characteristics with occupational characteristics.
  3. Clients learn to engage in exploratory actions as a way of generating beneficial unplanned events.
  4. The success of counseling is assessed by what the client accomplishes in the real world outside the counseling session

Krumboltz states that, "the fundamental goal is to help everyone create a more satisfying life."

Train for a career in the MA Clincial Counseling Program at Alliant International University

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