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Embrace the Success: Aligning Career Aspirations Through Times of Change (Part 1)

In the first post of this series, Dr. Smith asks how we can prepare for and succeed in our careers during constantly changing times. Find the next post in next month’s CTYP newsletter.

This concept of change is one which we have been accustomed to throughout time. As major shifts around how we live and operate emerge, we as individuals as well as a culture have come to understand, adapt, and perform in an effort to maintain a level of society and function. However, with such concepts as revolutionary change and evolutionary change, our attempt as an individual and collective whole towards acceptance can provide some levels of resistance or missed opportunity. Due to this, we have always aimed to understand how we can prepare and succeed through areas of emerging change.

Most recently, we have entered the fourth industrial revolution, a massive adaptation towards technological reliance around all aspects of society. We see this through the economy with the evolution of blockchain networks, social networking, and interaction with the development of Facebook’s Metaverse and will see this through forms of education with a utilization of virtual and 3d modalities.

According to the Law of Diffusion of Innovation (Rogers, 1995), we are in the Innovator/Early Adopter phase of this technological revolution. As individuals become more accustomed to these developments and as younger generations grow up around these concepts, we will advance more towards a tipping point of mass adoption (15-18% societal acceptance respectfully). The identification and investment among organizations is also at an important point in this area, as various sectors are learning how to not only use this technology but effectively implement best practices through modalities that suit their needs as well as the consumer.

Figure 1

Law of Diffusion of Innovation

Note. As a trend or change moves towards mass acceptance, it will break through the Early Adopters section and move towards Early Majority and Late Majority, which is where the largest population of individuals exists.

Mirroring the popularity of this change is the continued increase among individuals resigning from positions or changing careers entirely. Supporting data as well states that many organizations are having difficulty filling much-needed positions, meaning that many individuals may not know what the next step should be in their career. With such a determination among individual career choice, the question emerges around how the individual can identify a new career path that adheres towards present and future societal expectations as well as makes the individual and professional happy and successful.

To address this topic in further detail, a series of articles will be submitted that aim towards helping young professionals, as well as aspiring professionals, identify a track that not only aligns with their values and beliefs, but also the standard of the job market and society. The self-based contingency plan concept of this work will introduce readers to the essential concepts of leadership development by introducing three questions: 1) Who am I, 2) Where am I going, and 3) How will I get there. Readers will be introduced to leadership development theories that are not only easy to apply but adhere towards all professions. Information will align with the three above questions, by introducing individuals towards value and belief identification, general and specific goal identification, and time management practices.

While navigating such an interesting time in our society as well as within the job market, this information will prove to be a useful roadmap aimed at preparing individuals for not only a successful career but also to position themselves for an emerging revision to the entire working industry.

Dr. Andrew J. Smith is the Program Chair for the Master of Science in Higher Education Leadership at Post University. He is also a nationally published author and presenter on the subjects of leadership development, change, and organizational development.


Rogers, E. M. (1995). Diffusion of innovations. Free Press.

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