My career is sometimes thought to be the result of my strategic planning, organizational skills, and analytical abilities; nothing more nourishing for my ego – especially when it needs a little pick-me-up. However, in truth, every action I have taken, every decision or choice made has been the result of circumstance, opportunity, or unforeseen events – chance. For example:

  • A sprained ankle led me to telework;
  • A visit to a greenhouse leads me to be trained in counseling;
  • The search for childcare led me to pursue an education in computer science.

My career path has been shaped by a series of serendipitous events, the repercussions of which I could not have foreseen. Perhaps one could say that I was lucky. However, there is a caveat; as Krumboltz and Levin (2010), career counseling experts, say, luck is not an accident but rather the result of serendipity or unforeseen events from which the individual derives opportunities. For them, even if planning is important, a career path is also shaped by circumstances and chances beyond our control; we must learn to identify and seize the opportunities that are hidden in them. Louis Pasteur (1854) said that chance favors only prepared minds, so here is what Krumboltz and Levin recommend, in order, to be ready to seize what chance puts in your path:

Embrace the unexpected: Make changes to your plans when it is to your advantage

Keep your options open: There is more than one good choice

Wake up before it is too late to fulfill your dream: Don’t hesitate to modify or change your plans

Take a chance, even if you don’t know what will happen: Take risks

Forge ahead and make mistakes: It is an essential way to learn and succeed

Take action to create your opportunity: Step out of your comfort zone and interact with your environment

Accept the job, then develop or refine your skills: Remember that the most competent tend to underestimate their skills

Have fun – a good life is a balanced life: Family, friends, and hobbies are as important as a career

Stop self-sabotaging: Courage and fear are good companions

Remember, luck is no accident!


Krumboltz, J, et AI. Levin. Luck is no Accident. 2e édition. É.-U:  Impact publishers, 2010, p. 22
Œuvres de Pasteur. Tome 7, réunies par Pasteur Vallery-Radot (1854), Louis Pasteur éd. Masson, 1929-1932, p. 129-132

Carole Hautcoeur is a career and employment counselor at the Valcartier Military Family Resource Centre and a member of the Ordre des conseillers et conseillères d’orientation du Québec.