No country, including South Africa, has been left untouched by the global economic meltdown
in 2008 and fears that another financial meltdown could be imminent. This article reports on the
emergence of career construction and life design in response to changes in the world of work.
It explains the essence of career construction and life design and discusses their value in 21st
century (South) Africa. It also discusses the re-emergence of adaptability as a pivotal ‘survival
skill’ in the 21st century and its importance in career counselling contexts. The second part of
the article covers the analysis of six case studies on career construction and design counselling.
Qualitative data analysis was used to identify common themes and subthemes in the case studies.
It emerged that life design counselling enabled the participants to understand themselves better
and construct new selves, broadened their perspectives on career-life issues, facilitated change in
their lives, encouraged action, and imbued new hope in them. However, more research is needed
on such counselling, especially in group contexts.