If the World Around You is Changing…

You Must be Ready to Change Too!

My colleague, Jennifer George, and I had the opportunity to meet a real living legend last week at the Careers Conference in Madison, Wisconsin.  Keynote speaker, Dr. John D. Krumboltz, has the designation of being one of only five “Living Legends in Counseling” by the American Counseling Association (2004). I was so captivated by the interesting and challenging key points in his speech; I purchased his book, Luck is No Accident: Making the Most of Happenstance in Your Life and Career. (He even autographed the book for me!)


One of the interesting and challenging ideas Krumbolt presented in his keynote address was that we “…don’t need to commit to a future goal.” This notion seemed to go against all I have learned and believe as a career resource educator. However, I learned while perusing his book that, just like any ideas taken out of context, there is probably more to learn from his comments—more than what would be appropriate for one blog article.


To gain a better understanding of the author’s ideas, I will start by sharing his first point in the book: When the world around you is changing, you must be ready to change, too. What can you do when things beyond our control affect your life? With so much change and uncertainty going on in our world today, the author’s “ten simple ideas” are worthy of sharing:


1.      Be open to considering a completely different kind of work that may well require you to learn a whole new set of skills.

2.      Be willing to accept a job that pays less than your previous job. It is better to have a job than no job.

3.      When you apply for a job, you will be asked, “What kind of work do you want to do?” Don’t answer that question. Say instead, “I want to help make your organization become more successful….”

4.      Sell items that you no longer need. (My side note: better yet, give them away to those who could use your gently used items.)

5.      Keep learning wherever you go….

6.      Keep tuned in to changes that may provide opportunities. For example, the threat of climate change has spurred many companies to expand into “green” mode. The internet is filled with green job listings. An emerging field like this can provide intriguing opportunities for learning and advancement.

7.      Simplify your diet. You may like a steak dinner at a restaurant better than eating a simple meal at home, but preparing your own nutritious dinner at home is a lot cheaper and often healthier, too.

8.      Be willing to move to a new location. Don’t get stuck in the mud. However, explore possibilities carefully before you move.

9.      Explore practical learning experiences. Community colleges offer a variety of career-related training programs. But remember when you graduate, all you receive is a piece of paper called a diploma. You don’t get a job offer. It’s smart to find out the job-finding experiences of previous graduates before committing yourself to an expensive training program.

10.  Avoid internet scams. Scam artists have developed intriguing ways of enticing unwary internet users into parting with their money. Be skeptical of anything that seems too good to be true (p. 6).


While not all ten tips apply directly to the students with whom I work as a career resource educator in the Grand Forks Consortium Schools, I do feel that the whole idea of “life’s unexpected events requires us to be adaptable to change” applies to career planning as well. So, do I believe Krumboltz when he asserts that we “…don’t need to commit to a future goal”? Stay tuned to future blog articles where I will continue to lay the foundation for the author’s ideas from which we can all learn.


Sandy Espe, Career Resource Educator


Reference: Krumboltz, John D. & Levin, Al S. (2010). Luck is no accident: Making the most of happenstance in your life and career. Atascadero, CA: Impact Publishers.


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