DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Dr. Richard Feller

Should We Be Developing “Knowledge Nomads?"

What’s your vision of “what it takes for success in the global workplace?” Are issues of “our national competitive nature, innovation capacity, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), and international educational standing” something you should respond to in the way you counsel and advocate for others? Are we models of what we hope for our children/clients/community?

Questions To Think About...

  • Who is a person that models how you’d like to learn and keep professional?
  • Define what you think of when you hear the phrase  “Knowledge Nomad?”
  • Define what you think of when you hear the phrase “Nervously Employed?”
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
  • Members REGISTER HERE for current tele-interviews. To sign up for current tele-interview and audio recording, click on your organization's name. 
  • If you are not a member of one of the organizations listed, fill out contact form at bottom of this Web Page.
  • Visitors, download flyer to learn more.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

CLICK HERE To View Post Interview comments provided by speaker.

To receive a free e-newsletter on STEM careers, contact:


Rich Feller, Ph.D.
Professor, Counseling and Career Development
School of Education
Colorado State University
Ft. Collins, CO 80523-1588
Office 970-491-6879 FAX 970-491-1317
E-mail: feller@cahs.colostate.edu

Author of Knowledge Nomads and the Nervously Employed: Workplace Change and Courageous Career Choices

Book Review of Knowledge Nomads


This article originally appeared in NCDA's web magazine, Career Convergence, at www.ncda.org.  Copyright National Career Development Associaiont, June 2005.  Reprinted with permission.

Preparing Students for Stem Careers

This article originally appeared in NCDA's web magazine, Career Convergence, at www.ncda.org.  Copyright National Career Development Association, December 2008.  Reprinted with permission.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Suggested Activities

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Group Activity

After the Tele-Interview:
Put together a group e-newsletter on the interview. The e-newsletter might include the speaker's answers to the posted Interview Questions and to listeners' questions. In addition, group participants might want to add their own reflections on the tele-interview.  Email the group's one-page e-newsletter in a PDF or jpeg file. Selected e-newsletters will be posted on the speaker's Careerwell Web page with newsletter contributors' bylines. Photos and artwork welcome.


Fill out tele-interview evaluation form directly after the tele-interview and submit. The evaluation form is our record of who listened to the tele-interviews, so we can verify for CEUs.

If you can't listen to the live tele-interview...

Register anyway. All registrants receive access to both live and recorded tele-interviews. You will receive an email one to three weeks after the live tele-interview with a link to the recording. Recordings can be heard on both Quicktime and Real Player.  You can download free updated versions of these two applications.


To Earn CEUs

  • Fill out the evaluation form and submit so that we can confirm that you participated in the live tele-interview.
  • If your are unable to listen to the live tele-interview, do the activity posted on the speaker's Careerwell website and email a request for CEUs with a one-page summary of what you learned from listening to the audio and completing the activity.
  • The administrator of Careerwell will email back to you a signed CEU form that you can print out and save in your records to confirm that you listened to the tele-interview.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.



This is Dr. Sally Gelardin with Careerwell Tele-Interviews. Welcome listeners and welcome Dr. Rich Feller, today's guest speaker.


Rich Feller is Professor of Counseling and Career Development at Colorado State University and co-author with Judy Whichard of "Knowdge Nomads and the Nervously Employed." Rich is one of the most creative people I know.  He is truly a Knowledge Nomad. A few of his definitions for Knowledge Worker are an individual who is comfortable with ambiguity, craves improvement,  is service-oreintedaction-oreiented, and adaptable. On this page, you can view his definitions of Knowledge Nomad and loads of other material, including his Post-Interview Comments and contact information if you want to receive his e-newsletter.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Interview Questions


1. What are STEM careers and why are they in demand?


2. What are the fastest growing STEM occupations? Do they all require a high level of education?


3. In your paper on "Preparing Students for STEM Careers," you say that the United States is falling behind other countries in educating students for STEM careers. Why are we falling behind and what can we do about it?


4. In your paper, you say that women and individuals of Hispanic background are underrepresented in science and engineering.  Do you think that there is an innate gender or cultural gene that prevents them from pursing STEM careers?  Can they become successful in the fields of science and engineering? 


5. Do individuals need to be analytical, rational  learners to succeed in STEM careers?


6. What if there were a young "Sally" who is creative, a visual thinker, right-brained, and more verbally than numbers oriented?  How could you inspire her to become educated in a STEM career?


7. How are STEM careers taught in the schools now?  How could you envision the way these careers are taught changed to appeal to a broader population of American students?


8. The U.S. has an aging population, dominated by baby boomers.  Is there a place for this age group in STEM careers?


9. Do STEM careers require continual re-training (i.e., do engineering careers become quickly outdated)?  If so, how would you suggest individuals in these careers stay current?


10. Is the current national administration financing and developing policies that encourage the growth of STEM careers?  If so, how?


11. What inspired you to become active in promoting STEM careers?  Do you see yourself focusing on this area for a long time or is it a current passion only?


12. How would you advise career professionals to move STEM careers forward and to support clients to become scientists and engineers?


13. How can we become models for our children (especially if we are not trained in science, math, and engineering careers)?


14. What is your vision of what it takes to become successful in the global marketplace?



DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Traits of the Knowledge Nomad

4-30-09 Careerwell Presentation

Knowledge Nomad (focus on “becoming” and challenging fears and doubts)
See self as project based “free agent” rather than lifetime employee
High learning agility (perform well under first time conditions)
Avoid routine and repetitive tasks/processes (they make you at-risk)
Comfortable with ambiguity (creating new and different)
Seek intellectual stimulation to remain energetic and enthusiastic
Seen as a lifelong learner (utilize 27 learning strategies/habits)
Scan media (papers, journals, websites, blogs) widely and efficiently
Neutralize negativity (reframes discounting language, situations, attitudes and blame)
Use stress reduction methods (fail to personalize failure and rejection)
Easily mobile (can geographically relocate, travel with grace)
Highly agile (readily adapts to new situations, local cultures and languages)
Seek adventure and new experiments to gain insights and opportunities
Entrepreneurial in attitude and actions
Offer ideas as “value added” propositions
See problems as growth opportunities
Think strategically (sees system implications)
Quickly evaluates the quality of data
Accurately identifies the core issues in a conflict
Welcome variety and diversity
Believe excellence is achieved by identifying and maximizing strengths
Believe greatness comes from disciplined thought and action
Continually applies needs analysis to move from current to “better”
Identifies all “gaps (or weakness)” as “development issues”
Highly technically literate (can negotiate databases, creatively use multimedia tools)
Organized and comfortable with backward planning
Inspire others to experiment, consider options, and accept responsibility
Technically and functionally out-performs peers
Identify and form expert networks
Challenge traditional methods, systems and thinking (ask why not?)
Do the “right” thing (makes courageous choices considering impact on self and others)
Team player (leads and follows according to need)
Emotionally engaged without being overwhelmed
Focus energy to be “action oriented” and “empathic”
Identify options when blocked, challenged or rebuffed
Seek authentic and assertive relationships (seek clarity of intent)
Understands STP (service/trade/profession) and Special, Specialized, Anchored and Adaptable
Understands personal income-happiness, and time-money relationships
Seek significance as well as success
Seek to be the best for the world rather than the best in the world
Hold an attitude that craves improvement
Seeks big picture

Nervously Employed (focus on “have been” and fears, self-doubts, lack of hope)
Fail to see that there are two kinds of workers (owners and temps)
Fail to see how compensation relates to world wage scales
Frustrated by rapidly changing expectations
Resist challenges to assumptions about learning, working, and living
Fail to reflect on daily choices
Resist aligning values with choices
Fail to demand/receive transparency in behavior related to trust, respect, feedback, and integrity
Lack focus leading to stress, inaction and passivity
Fail to get visibility, expand network, or commit to lifelong learning
*Different motivations affect alignment with Knowledge Nomad traits
*Personal choices affect movement from being Nervously Employed



From: Feller, R. and Whichard, J. (2005). Knowledge Nomads and the Nervously Employed: Workplace Change and Courageous Career Choices. Austin, TX: PRO-Ed.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.