Planned happenstance and you

The approach to career exploration we take at the career centre is one based on action and reflection, as opposed to the reflection and planning approach of traditional career development models. It recognizes the impact of happenstance in careers.

Talk to family, friends, acquaintances about how they got to where they are and you’ll soon see a trend of people’s careers being shaped by unplanned, random and unpredictable events and encounters.

This should not be interpreted as meaning you have no control over your career. The decisions you make, the interests you pursue, the experiences you engage in – prior to, during and beyond your time at the U of A – all of these will impact your career, often in ways you cannot predict.

So we recommend taking a "planned happenstance" approach to managing your career by:

  • Deliberately and intentionally engaging in a variety of activities;
  • Following your curiosities and interests;
  • Getting involved in life beyond academics.

Through such engagement you will discover – perhaps even create – opportunities and personal interests you didn’t even know existed, as well as develop knowledge and skills that will benefit you in your career and in your life.

To learn more about how we see career development, check out this video by Dr. Jim Bright, co-author of The Chaos Theory of Careers.