One of the first things I ever published as a career consultant was this article for the RMIT Vietnam student magazine, Blitz Magazine. The editors had approached the Career Centre asking us to provide an article, and I volunteered.
Around that time I had been sharing a lot of my own experiences with my classes, particularly the times when I have made decisions that seemed a little risky at the time, but which worked out amazingly well:
- Dropping out of uni when I realised that I lacked ambition and motivation
- Giving up the chance of an important scholarship to go chase a girl in a foreign country
- Leaving a job that I enjoyed and was good at to go into an area I didn’t know much about
I had been reading about John Krumboltz’s theory of Planned Happenstance at the time and wanted to share the idea that career planning involves a lot of uncertainty, luck, and randomness, but also that there were several things you could do to orient yourself and make sound decisions.
I decided to write the following article, framing three major turning points in my life as “mistakes” where I made the decision that, on the face of it, was the riskiest. Some of my colleagues were worried that our students wouldn’t get the joke, but I was confident that I could get my point across without too much confusion.
I had a good response from my students, with a few emailing me to make a comment or ask a question. I also got quite a few concerned questions asking me how my wife felt about being labelled a “mistake”. Luckily, in this case, I was wise enough to run it past her first.
Unfortunately I no longer have the text of the article and you can’t copy and paste from the online magazine, so here some screen captures of the article as it appeared in the magazine.