Going to college. Get a degree and a job. Work and retire. Many would say that there is no such thing as a linear race, well, at least not anymore. Whereas in the past employees stayed with a single company for years and patiently waited for their promotion and pay raise, today this is no longer the case. Now, most young employees are more likely to experiment in their career, moving from job to job building on experience and increasing their expertise in a wide range of disciplines.
Doing this is certainly challenging and risky, but at the same time really rewarding. It equips you with comprehensive work experience and a unique combination of skills that enable you to advance your professional practice and manage your career more effectively.
This has become the new trend in the labor market since the economic crisis broke out. Peter Capelli, a professor of management at the Wharton School, said, “What we’re seeing now is more ‘uneven’ careers. People stay in their jobs during the recession a little longer than usual, and then when they move, they don’t necessarily move in a predictable manner. Since jobs are no longer stable enough to ensure a steady income and a good quality of life, you need to be able to explore and evaluate alternative options rather than rely on a ‘job for life’.
Other professionals also claim that a “squiggly” career seems to be more appropriate for today’s younger workforce. In fact, in his book, Ctlr Alt Delete, Digital Marketer, Mitch Joel says that to be successful you must be willing to embrace change by adapting to challenges and opportunities as a businessman. This means that you must become more self-sufficient and learn to use planned serendipity effectively.
The only certainty is that success is not linear, and this is evident in the business world. Very few people know exactly what they want to do as a teenager and this is no different for many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. If you look at Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, they both dropped out of school to pursue their passion virtually blindly, throwing away the traditional trajectory of their academic career. All they had at the time was an idea that could only help them land their first job, or a startup. After that, his road to success and wealth was bumpy, with a series of failures and disappointments.
But along the way, that’s how you learn. Such experiences shape you into the person you aspire to be and force you to make adjustments to help you fulfill your career aspirations. In this sense, going against the current is not a guarantee of success and although it seems risky, it is something worth trying. It will help you figure out what your professional self is made of, accept your weird quirks, and allow yourself to rise to the top.
So, strive to make a difference by not following a linear career path. Be open to changes to bring evolution, challenge yourself and be willing to change your career to a completely different one if necessary. As long as you have a strong network of contacts and transferable skills; With skills that you can apply to a variety of professions and situations, you too can lead a successful non-traditional career.
Remember that your career path will be unpredictable, but this is a good thing. Life has its own twists, ups and downs, which makes it impossible for you to foresee and prepare accordingly. However, all you can do is make the most of what life gives you in any situation. Your ability to identify opportunities that match your passion will help you move forward in pursuing what you want out of your career.