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On lemons and lemonade: the effect of positive and negative career shocks on thriving

Juliana Mansur (Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Bruno Felix (FUCAPE Business School, Vitória, Brazil)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 17 September 2020

Issue publication date: 6 October 2021




The purpose of this paper is to investigate how positive affectivity (PA) moderates the indirect effects of positive and negative career shocks – unplanned and often unexpected external events whose effects cannot be anticipated or countered – on thriving via career adaptability.


The authors empirically tested the moderated mediation model with a structural equation modeling (SEM) approach. The study was performed with a valid sample of professionals who had experienced work-related career shocks.


The results indicated that career adaptability mediated the effects of positive and negative career shocks on thriving. In addition, the slope of the relationship between negative shocks and adaptability became positive for high levels of PA. The authors also found an indirect effect of negative career shocks on thriving at all levels of PA and importantly, when PA was high, the effects of negative shocks on thriving became positive.

Practical implications

Individuals may use emotional reappraisal strategies to counter negative feelings that accompany negative events to mitigate the negative effects of such events. By strengthening their positivity, individuals facilitate their own perception of shocks, thereby minimizing the possibility of a decrease in adaptability resources.


This paper advances understanding of those mechanisms through which negative shocks lead to positive effects that can help individuals improve their career adaptability and thrive.



Mansur, J. and Felix, B. (2021), "On lemons and lemonade: the effect of positive and negative career shocks on thriving", Career Development International, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 495-513.



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