Luck isn t everything creating your own career opportunities
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Luck isn’t Everything: Creating Your Own Career Opportunities. “Chance favors only the prepared mind” (Pasteur as cited in Bandura, 1982, p. 750) Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych. , Counselling Psychologist, Student Counselling & Career Centre University of Manitoba. Are you Lucky?.

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Luck isn t everything creating your own career opportunities

Luck isn’t Everything: Creating Your Own Career Opportunities

“Chance favors only the prepared mind” (Pasteur as cited in Bandura, 1982, p. 750)

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych. , Counselling Psychologist,

Student Counselling & Career Centre

University of Manitoba


Are you lucky

Are you Lucky?

  • Write down something that you felt lucky to have happened to you.

  • Get into groups of 2-3 and try to identify anything you may have said or done that may have helped to put you in a position to have this lucky opportunity.

  • When not discussing your own instance of luck, your task is to ask questions to help your group member identify how they may have been active in helping to create that opportunity.

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Who are these lucky people

Who Are these Lucky People?

  • Can you think of someone, maybe yourself or someone you know, who seems to be lucky? In small groups discuss what attributes you think lucky people have.

  • What about people who never seem to get a break? What attributes do unlucky people have?

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Luck isn t everything creating your own career opportunities

“Rational planning alone would serve its purpose if careers were to follow a simple straightforward, and logical path” (Mitchell, Levin, & Krumboltz, 1999, p. 116)

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Planned happenstance what is it

Planned Happenstance: What is it?

  • Generating, recognizing, and incorporating unplanned/chance events into your career development

  • Seeing unplanned/chance events as inevitable, desirable, and as opportunities for learning

  • Being open-minded, curious, and developing an exploratory attitude to increase your chances of being exposed to unexpected/chance events

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


5 skills of planned happenstance

5 Skills of Planned Happenstance

  • 1) Curiosity

    • –explore new learning opportunities

  • 2) Persistence

    • –continue trying even when you run into setbacks

  • 3) Flexibility

    • -be open to changing attitudes and situations

  • 4) Optimism

    • -see new opportunities as being possible and attainable

  • 5) Risk taking

    • -don’t be afraid to do something even when you’re not sure how or if it will turn out

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Career planning

Career Planning

Traditional

Planned Happenstance

  • Planning is everything

  • Everything is in your control

  • Push toward certainty in knowing what you want to do and how to get there, i.e. Not okay to be unsure

  • Asking questions to be able to do something

  • Knowing your interests, skills, and values guarantees a match with the “right” career and that it will happen

  • Planning is one element of career development

  • Recognizing that chance events play a role in career planning

  • Advantages of open-mindedness, i.e. “not be bound by a plan that may be obsolete before it is formulated” (Mitchell, Levin, & Krumboltz, 1999, p. 117)

  • Asking questions just to know something, i.e. To be curious and to ask “what would happen if...” questions

  • Knowing your interests, skills, and values is an important element in having success in creating your own opportunities in a career path that fits

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Luck isn t everything creating your own career opportunities

  • Following a career path is a lifelong learning process that involves you making countless decisions in response to unexpected/chance events

  • Anxiety about planning our future is normal, you can overcome this

  • Planned Happenstance does not mean that you leave everything to chance

  • It can feel risky, but don’t let this stop you

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Skills in planned happenstance

Skills in Planned Happenstance

  • Interpersonal communication

  • Networking

  • Social support building

    • You do not have to be an extrovert to make this work for you!

    • Sometimes we have to overcome personal challenges first, e.g. anxiety in social situations, low self-esteem, or poor social skills, but there is help for this and it is possible!

    • Representing yourself well and with energy will increase your chances of being successful in generating, recognizing, and incorporating chance events into you career path

    • There is always some element of luck, even in traditional career planning, what’s important is how you position yourself to be able to connect with it

      • Constantly learn new things

      • Actively look for chance opportunities in everyday activities

      • Initiate constructive action to generate more desirable chance events

      • If you enjoy engaging in these chance opportunities it helps to confirm that you are on a path that is a good fit for you

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Case example for large group discussion

Case Example for Large Group Discussion

  • A 2nd year arts student who is taking general courses but was always interested in writing.

    • What can this person do to create opportunities?

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Luck isn t everything creating your own career opportunities

  • Take classes related to writing skills and area of interest

  • Talk to professors in area (e.g. questions, contacts, suggestions)

  • Write for Manitoban or other local magazine or newspaper

  • Join a professional association and utilize their resources, e.g. seminars

    • E.g. Canadian Authors Association

  • Career Mentor Program

  • Review career websites to learn more about required skills, etc.

    • E.g. National Occupational Classification “Author & Writer 5121)

    • www.umanitoba.ca/student/counselling/spotlights/writing.html

  • Cold calls

  • Enter local contests and contests of professional associations

    • E.g. Canadian Authors Association (www.canauthors.org)

  • Attend related seminars and workshops

    • E.g. Professional Writer’s Association of Canada

    • Arts & Cultural Industries Association of Manitoba

  • Walk through a career fair

  • Talk to an Employment Advisor re job skills, related volunteer and work (summer, part-time, full-time) opportunities

  • Join a writing mentorship program

    • E.g. Manitoba Writer’s guild 2010 Sheldon Oberman Writer’s Mentor Program

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


How do i take steps to become more open and to produce desirable events

How do I take steps to become more open and to produce desirable events?

  • In small groups discuss one of the following sets of questions:

    • 1. What is a chance event that you wish would happen to you? (Be realistic)

    • 2. How can you act now to increase the likelihood of that desirable event occurring?

    • 3. How would your life change if you acted?

    • 4. How would your life change if you did nothing?

      OR

    • 1. How have you been blocked from doing what you want to do?

    • 2. How could you find out how permanent that block is?

    • 3. How have other people overcome blocks like that?

    • 4. How would you begin overcoming that block?

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Happenstance activities

Happenstance Activities

  • Become more self-aware, follow up on interests you haven’t followed up on yet

  • Follow up on your curiosity. Don’t worry about whether you will be successful or where it will lead – if you don’t try new ideas you’ll never know where they might have led

  • Become involved in many different activities related to your chosen area (e.g. student groups, professional associations)

  • Look for opportunities to develop new skills

  • Work or volunteer in positions related to the career you’ve chosen

  • Talk to someone in the career you’re pursuing (e.g. Career Mentor Program in Career Services)

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Happenstance activities continued

Happenstance Activities continued

  • Talk to people at the company you want to work for, maybe even volunteer there or take a different entry position. What could happen from this?

    • Some students have unrealistic expectations when they graduate and then don’t engage in the very activities that could create planned happenstance opportunities for them

    • Don’t dismiss apparently off-the-wall jobs. Are they really that crazy? Consider how you might be able to develop them.

  • Be positive, and don’t dismiss an idea before you have had a chance to think about it

  • Don’t be held back by stereotypical views of how things should happen – there is often not a right way (or a direct route) into a job

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Happenstance activities continued1

Happenstance Activities continued

  • If things don’t go as planned, look for new opportunities as they crop up

  • Make good contacts and network as widely as possible

  • Walk through a career fair

  • Don’t be afraid to approach people for advice

  • Talk with employers or employment advisors to learn about what employers, companies, and/or organizations want from job applicants

  • Tailor your resume for each job application and research the occupation you’ve chosen so that you can describe the work in good detail

  • Have your resume reviewed by an employment advisor

  • Discuss job or admission interview preparation with an employment advisor

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Happenstance activity a cold call

Happenstance Activity: A cold call

  • What could this lead to?

    • Finding out more information about company

    • Learn more about what they do and what they may be looking for

    • May hear about job possibilities that are not advertised yet

    • Have developed a contact

    • Any others?

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


A personal example

A personal Example

  • What elements were instances of engaging in planned happenstance?

  • What elements were luck?

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Concluding thoughts

Concluding Thoughts

  • Your goal is to facilitate your learning process by thinking about “how your curiosity is excited, how you can take advantage of unplanned events, and how you can create future beneficial unplanned events” (Mitchell, Levin, & Krumboltz, 1999, p. 121)

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


Luck isn t everything creating your own career opportunities

  • “The harder you work, the luckier you get” (Gary Player)

Dr. Lori Mac, C. Psych., SCCC, U of M


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