For the past 30 to 40 years career advisors and career coaches published books, conducted seminars and guided people into plotting career paths. Everyone was looking for the quickest way to the corner office, and career consultants earned a good living mapping out career plans for young professionals.
Secure jobs and the opportunity to work a lifetime for one employer gave the career path gurus a real purpose to provide guidance in laying out career paths and plans. The concept of career planning and defined career paths needs to be reexamined. The more likely work history of those starting out in the last ten years, they will change jobs or careers several times throughout their lives. Also, more typically the career or job changes will be out of the blue.
Many times we define ourselves by what we do, what our career is, and what we do for a living. During our working life we try many jobs. From the fast food restaurant, or the local Wal-Mart, or the summer job during college, we try many jobs with different bosses in different industries. Hopefully, we find something we’re avid about. If found early enough we can spend our working lives mastering the career and the skills that go with it.
In today’s changing economy and workplace it’s becoming more difficult to hit the career home run early in one’s working life. It’s more natural to travel several different routes before finding the vocation that truly fits you interests and desires.
Looking for new challenges seems to be the norm when many reach their early 40’s. Career changes, at whatever age are both normal and natural. As we build on our achievements and what is meaningful it prepares us for future career adjustments and changes.
There still remain a few professions where there is an inflexible path that leads to mastery of the career. Physicians and attorneys come to mind but there are few similar career paths in the corporate world.
For example, IT professionals have to reinvent themselves every year or two. Skills and the knowledge base change so rapidly in the technology field that if you are not constantly upgrading your skills you’ll find your career ending with the advance of technology.
The overall message is to be open to changes and learn to be flexible. Be on the lookout to master new skills, so you can make your career more valuable. Another advantage of being flexible and learning new concepts and skills will likely lead to the career and job that you will be more satisfied with, and who knows even passionate about. Good luck on your journey.