Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Footprints to a Solid Career

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your career. Successful careers take a consider amount of effort and time to develop and may not always end the same way you planned when you started. As the market changes and adjusts it is beneficial to roll with the changes and seek out opportunities to learn and develop. At various stages of your life you will be in different career positions that can contribute to your professional development.

Young graduates often assume they are going to conquer the world solely through elbow grease. This enthusiasm manifests itself in excitement, motivation, and participation. Even though the pay is not high the new job offers a level of independence, a new apartment, a car, and lots of other goodies that were previously out of reach.

Eventually that enthusiasm will wane as they become accustomed to their new money and find out that what they earn is not nearly to feed a family and still live a comfortable lifestyle. They may start to move out of their starter jobs to take promotions and raises in other companies. It is through this movement that companies loose talent and other companies gain new talent; the market shifts its resources.

During their mid career most professionals have worked for multiple companies and may have switched their careers at least once if not a couple of times. The knowledge gained makes them a valuable asset to any organization. Still young enough to learn and old enough to apply working knowledge they will be in the sweet spot for growth. Adaptability and knowledge are sufficient to get them that first management job or a higher paying position when warranted.

In the later part of a career position and power may not be the most important determinant of one's career. It is entirely possible that leaving a legacy for others and engaging in those activities that are intrinsically pleasing may have more appeal when compared to more of the same. Seasoned managers start to mentor and coach younger employees in an effort to leave some type of mark on the organization and society.

Throughout a career cycle a person will work for a number of different organizations and may even switch careers a number of times. It is necessary to be adaptable and continue learning in order to grow and develop. At the moment one closes their mind they will stop growing and it is important to ensure one is  more of a sponge that soaks knowledge than a rock that sinks to the bottom.

In your path don't fret about having to switch careers. It is a natural part of life in a fast paced American economy. The average person can expect to switch their career up to seven times in their lifetime (Bialick, 2010). A high number I agree but not necessarily implausible as I have seen Generation X switch at least 3 times by their late 30s.

The biggest challenge you are likely to face is being open-minded and continually learning. We get stuck in our ways, do the same things over and over, and live by a routine. Sometimes it is a great way to function but at other times it can lead us down a path where we become more disconnected from future employment opportunities. You don't want to someday lose your job you are stuck without the skills needed to find something that pays better. Make sure you continue to learn, adapt, grow, develop, and change toward improvement.

Bialick, C. (Sept. 4th, 2010). Seven Careers in a Lifetime? Think Twice, Researchers Say. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved

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