• Monique C. Johnson, Ed.D.

Taking Chances Can Lead To Great Careers


Are you a risk-taker?


One thing is for certain, if you are job searching due to Covid-19 with the millions of other people, you have to be willing to do things differently.

John Krumboltz, a well-known psychologist and career theorist believed that you have to be willing to take advantage of unplanned events. He called it happenstance theory. Take a chance when opportunities present themselves. Do your research and go for it.


Like many of you, I’ve had several unplanned experiences over my life. Here’s how I was able to take advantage of one particular event.

After graduating from the University of Massachusetts, I worked as an Office Manager in Undergraduate Admissions at a small liberal arts college in Boston. After working a couple of years, my plan was to attend graduate school to obtain a Master’s degree.

The time had come for me to pursue my goal. One option was to stay at my current job, work full time while taking graduate classes at no cost to me. It would take a lot longer and I wasn’t sold on social work as a major. Option two was to leave my job to go to school full time.


I applied to Penn State University because my brother was working there at the time and he encouraged me to apply. I didn’t know much about it and had only visited once. I liked the atmosphere and they had a master’s program that was a good fit.

I received a phone call with the good news. I was admitted to the Master's Program. I was so excited. I was referred to Career Services at Penn State because they offered a few assistantships to help cover tuition costs. Assistantships generally cover full tuition in exchange for a minimum of B or better grades and 20 hours a week of work. I followed the process and submitted my application. I had no expectations. I was just going with it.

The interview took place over the phone during my lunch break. Keep in mind this was in the early 90s. We didn’t have virtual platforms back then. I closed the door to the office and sat down with my resume in front of me.


There were over 30 applicants and I was selected based on a phone interview sight unseen. I took a chance! I attended Penn State for five years straight through to my doctorate degree. My tuition was fully covered, I received a monthly stipend and gained valuable work experience in the career services office.

According to Krumboltz, there are 5 critical skills that people must possess.


Curiosity

Risk-Taking

Persistence

Flexibility

Optimism.

I was nervous about moving out of state but realized it was a too good to pass up opportunity. This was before kids and before marriage. Life was simpler then but taking advantage of a solid opportunity is timeless. Taking advantage of that opportunity changed my whole life.


Unplanned events play a major part in our lives and can lead to great careers. That includes connecting with the right people at the right time and place. I'm not suggesting that you relocate or go back to school but take advantage of the opportunities right in front of you.

  1. Step out of your comfort zone. It doesn't matter if you're an introvert or extrovert. You've got to put yourself out there.

  2. Be bold. Develop a targeted job search. Reach out to that recruiter on LinkedIn, and email your network to ask for leads and referrals.

  3. Network, network, and network some more. Networking by phone or virtually is effective.

Have you had any chance related experiences that have led to some phenomenal opportunities? Please share in the comments.


What if I fall, oh darling but what if you fly?


Are you ready to fly?


Schedule a complimentary session with Dr. Monique today to discuss your job search. She'd love to hear from you. Bit.ly/twentymincall

855-643-1494

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