• David Still

Chaos Theory and Your Career

Updated: Jan 30

Things change. That we can count on. And some periods in time can appear to manifest more change than others. Our current time would certainly qualify as one of them. There is a lot going on right now and we would all almost certainly agree that it is too much.


Because of the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic, many people right now are being forced to take stock of their near-term job prospects or career trajectory in total.


And although there is no silver bullet advice that I – or anyone else for that matter – can give to make our problems quickly wash away, we can suggest pausing and reflecting on a different way of viewing our current circumstances and, by extension , perhaps leverage a more useful paradigm for our way forward with life and our careers.


Chaos Theory & Careers – Dr. Jim Bright


I was viewing some videos from Dr. Jim Bright the other day on YouTube. He is a professor at Vanderbilt that specializes in this area of thought and I found what he was saying very compelling.


One of these videos – and we will attach links below for reference – is 7 years old but what he is saying really resonates in this moment. I believe it was just as relevant then, but the extreme nature of our present predicament really brings his message to the fore.


Dr. Bright elaborates on the nature of his work and how it focuses around the three foundational ideas of: (1) Change, (2) Chance and (3) Complexity. He provides input on how these key factors – much of which is outside of our control – impact our career. Some of the unpredictable consequences will be positive but many will be negative. How do we mitigate this risk without a fixed plan or crystal ball?


One of the suggestions Dr. Bright makes is emphasizing the importance of networking given that it has the ability to capitalize on unpredictable circumstances. He also emphasizes the importance and power of your story in today’s market. This is what can help convey your brand and help you be remembered in a sea of desperate jobseekers.


If you have a moment, please take a look at some of the links below. The point of view and information presented by Dr. Bright should be refreshing.


We hope it will serve to inspire you to think of more ways to capitalize on uncertainty, make your own luck, and embrace continually reinventing yourself as you grow in life and your career.


You can't fully control present circumstances or predict the future but you can control your response to existing circumstances and enhance your ability to build towards the future you desire.


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