It Wasn’t Sheer Luck After All: Opportunity and Preparation Predict Chance Events in School-to-Work Transitions

Pieter E. Baay, Christopher M. Napolitano, Mattijs C. Schipper

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Evidence suggests that chance plays an important role in careers. Instead of describing such events through “sheer luck, " the authors propose in this theoretical and empirical chapter that opportunity and preparation helps explain the occurrence, perception, and selection of chance events. Study 1 used longitudinal data on 390 emerging adults who reported the occurrence of chance events in their school-to-work transition. Supporting the hypotheses, participants who had prepared better for the school-to-work transition and had better opportunities (in terms of their social network) experienced more chance events. Study 2 examined the perception and selection of chance events in a lab setting. Sixty-seven emerging adult applicants for an actual position were exposed to the same chance events. Consistent with hypotheses, better prepared job applicants were more likely to select these events. Instead of sheer luck, the authors suggest that job seekers can create serendipity by capitalizing on chance events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationYoung Adult Development at the School-to-Work Transition
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Pathways and Processes
EditorsE Anne Marshall, Jennifer E Symonds
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages20-48
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9780190941512
ISBN (Print)9780190941536
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Career development
  • Chance events
  • School-to-work transition
  • Serendipity
  • Social network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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