They say life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans. However long you spend planning your career, at some point you might:
– or any number of other things you didn’t take into account when you were asked where you wanted to be in five or ten years’ time.
Unexpected things happen, but you can plan to make the most of them, and you can plan to put yourself in situations where new opportunities will arise.
Let people know who you are and what you do. Talk to people at social events and work meetings; they may know someone who needs somebody with your skills! The internet gives you lots of scope to display your talents in pictures, sound and text, and can help you link up with like-minded people.
Take every opportunity to learn new skills, either formally or informally. They may not seem relevant at the moment, but they could be just the thing you need later on. Challenge yourself to find something that interests you in every topic. Visit the library, go online and ask lots of questions.
If you find a job through doing something you love, there’s a good chance you will enjoy the job too. And getting to know other people who are interested in the same things may lead to important contacts and opportunities.
Remember, whether you tell yourself you can or you can’t, you’re probably right! Be realistic about what you can do and know your strengths and weaknesses, but be positive enough about yourself that when you are offered an opportunity you can be confident and go for it.
Take sensible risks, but don’t be afraid to get things wrong – it probably won’t be the end of the world! Don’t feel that because you have invested time and money into one career you have to stick to it. If you don’t like it, it’s okay to do something different.
Planned Happenstance is a theory of vocational choice, developed by John Krumboltz, Al Levin and Kathleen Mitchell, which acknowledges the role of chance events in people’s careers.
For more information, see Mitchell’s website or read ‘Luck is no Accident’ (Krumboltz, J.D. & Levin A.S. 2010 Impact Publishers, California)
written by Beth Hammond
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