Perceptions of Serendipity: Career Paths of Prominent Academic Women in Counseling Psychology

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Consensual qualitative research was used to investigate the impact of chance events on the career choices of prominent academic women in counseling psychology and to examine the contextual factors surrounding the chance events. The results suggest that chance events affected career choices most often by changing women's career paths altogether or by altering their self-concepts. The results also suggest that both internal characteristics (e.g., ability to take risks, self-confidence, etc.) and external factors (e.g., a strong support system, few external barriers, etc.) helped women take advantage of chance opportunities. The implications of integrating the concept of serendipity into our existing understanding of career development is discussed.

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