The Serendipitous Career Path

At the NFAIS 2017 Annual Conference Program, Judith Russell, Dean of University Libraries at the University of Florida, referred to her career path as the result of serendipity. I found this fascinating and refreshing at the same time.

We live in a world where children are commonly asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and where college students (and their parents!) often stress over what major to pursue, and where employees are yearly asked, "Where do you see yourself in 5 years and what are your goals to get there?"

Additionally, take into consideration and combination the career advice I've received in my life. "Work hard and you'll get noticed and promoted," said my baby-boomer parents. "You will master any skill with 10,000 hours of practice," said one of my mentors, highlighting a 1993 psychology paper popularized by Malcolm Gladwell's book "Outliers." (That's about 5 years of focused practice, by the way!) "Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses," says Tom Rath in "Strength Finders." And "Follow your passion," supposedly taught to every Millennial (fyi, I'm not technically a Millennial).

All the sudden, I feel like an angst-filled, rebellious teen. Stop telling me what to do! Stop asking me so many questions! I don't know! Sorry, I digress.


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