The Chaos Theory of Career Development

Most of us like to think that we have chosen our occupations, rather than them choosing us. We have reasons for what we are doing, visions of where we want to get to. We have career planning, career goals – the feeling of control.

And yet if you ask people about their career decisions, almost 70% report that they have been significantly influenced by chance events. The two Australian psychologists who carried out this research, published next month in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour, believe they have provided further support for the Chaos Theory of Career Development. I wouldn’t argue with that.

On the other hand I wouldn’t like to be the career counsellor explaining to my client that their career might well depend on the fluttering of an HR manager’s eyelashes over China. (Please excuse my mixing of popular science metaphors!)
Article abstract



Want to understand your mind?

Get FREE email updates from PsyBlog.

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 25 March 2005

Text: © All rights reserved.

Images: Creative Commons License