Most people are beginning to close out their professional life by the age of 50 – or at least that’s how it used to be. Dr. Helen Harkness understood years ago that this idea is outdated and unrealistic. At a time when conventional wisdom would have retired her, she read, researched, spearheaded the re-careering movement, and founded Career Design Associates in 1978!
When Dr. Harkness built and moved to her current home, on a 10-acre lot, the former burned-out cotton farm had only one tree. Today, it is a forest of more than 700 trees in all stages of growth, and a veritable garden of flowers, shrubs, vegetables and fruit. Her attitude of growth and renewal extends deeply to her clients.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Harkness has attended the World Future Society, offered career counseling resources to event attendees, and coordinated the other career counselors manning the career booth at each World Future Society conference in the United States.n support of her continued research on workplace and personal satisfaction, Dr. Harkness recently hosted an event honoring all who participated in helping her write her chapter on wisdom, in the book Words of Wisdom, co-authored by Dr. Harkness, Dr. John Gray, Brian Tracy and others.
In these short video vignettes, Dr. Harkness discusses new data that reinforces what she has learned over nearly 40 years counseling clients on career change.
- The Fear of Change (keeps people in an unsatisfying career);
- Career Dissatisfaction Shortens Lives (why men have traditionally died before women);
- The How of Happiness (40 percent of happiness is attitude);
- The Dark Night Lesson (what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger);
In the final video clip, recorded in the 1980s, Dr. Harkness asks the foundational questions she has asked her clients throughout her entire career.
Dr. Harkness is the author of four books, creator of dozens of videos, contributor to dozens of journals and publications, and speaker at well over 100 conferences, professional meetings, and company retreats. She has mentored more than 15,000 students, career-changers, job seekers, entrepreneurs, visionaries and futurists. Well into her seventh decade of work, writing and research, Dr. Harkness has founded a non-profit organization, Career Design Foundation (CDF). The foundation is geared to educating students on career opportunities as a primary incentive to encourage learning, and help them to develop interests that will benefit both students and employers in the rapidly changing 21st century.
Dr. Harkness is seriously working to implement the concept of educonomy, which ties our economic needs and current educational system together, as recommended by Brandon Busteed, Gallup’s Executive Director of Education and Workforce Development. Her goal is to help young people determine a career and get the education and training necessary for it, without going deep into debt. Making the right decisions early on means they can pursue a purpose and worklife that will provide them with both meaning and money.