Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chaos Theory for Career Developers

That's a chaotic 'double pendulum' on the left. More about it momentarily.

Dr Jim Bright shows that chaos theory has some useful applications, and insights to offer, in our field in his talk, available at The Factory Podcast – The Chaos theory of Careers, probability and possibility thinking.

The diagram on the left shows the motion of a double pendulum along with the locus of points traced by the free end of the double pendulum. The motion is chaotic in that it is unpredictable. Just as careers are.

It is fairly easy to think of parallels. If a client's career followed this type of dynamic (heaven help anyone like this) then they would be constrained to a 'career' involving jobs clustered mainly around that dense semicircle of points with occasional forays toward the pivot point of the first pendulum. The chaos analogy is imperfect in at least one way because, for example, the double pendulum displays continuous motion but people take on a discrete number of jobs. That is, we don't 'glide' from one job to another.