Chaos Theory and Career Planning

As you have all heard, this class has been incredibly helpful and practical to me, an English major trying to determine my next step in the big, scary, unknown world.  I honestly think the most important thing I have learned is the reality of the chaos theory, that Dr. Katharine Brooks talks about in her book “You Major in WHAT?”  I believe in the chaos theory.  I realize and see now that finding a career is not linear anymore… because life is not linear, WHATSOEVER. 

The world is much too complex for us to even be able to consider all the possible variables that will affect, influence, change, and disrupt our “career plans.”  We fall in love and sometimes we need to move.  Things change, the economy fluctuates, companies fold, and layoffs ensue.  Technology is rapidly progressing and new jobs are emerging constantly.  Sometimes we have kids and sometimes we get burnt out and do not enjoy what we are doing anymore.  Sometimes we have unexpected experiences that lead us want to completely change our lifestyle or the direction of our life.  

Point being: life is chaos and unpredictable.   And we need to take that visceral truth and apply it to how we approach “career planning.”  First, we need to chill out.  It is a complex process that takes time and patience.  We start with figuring out, like our book taught us, what we know, what we don’t know, and what we want to start learning.  In the 21st century job market, there are not ten magical steps to finding a career all hinging on us making one right decision.  

It is a messy and creative process that is not as based in rules and following a rigid guideline as it is in embracing the chaos and accepting that we do not and cannot know all of the variables.  A job opportunity, a volunteer opportunity, or a reference can unexpectedly come up anywhere, at any time, at any point in the job process.  If we are constantly looking for patterns in our studies, experiences, extracurricular activities, and passions, we can professionally and confidently present ourselves to a variety of people in a variety of fields and have a variety of options slowly open to us if we are open and willing to try new things sometimes and sometimes start with volunteer work.  I know this may sound naive and optimistic but that’s okay with me.  I will gladly I settle in and start this journey with naive and optimistic ideas.

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