People change careers a lot more than they once did; typically at least five or six times in a person’s working life. This sounds a little strange until you stop to consider the little twists and turns that life offers up, which seem so small at the time and turn out to be life defining. Managing a career is all about seizing opportunities within a strategic plan, but sometimes those opportunities lead to a path previously undiscovered: and a whole new world of opportunities unfolds.
Changing career without changing career: evolution
Perplexing as it may seem, sometimes the biggest change happens within the smallest adjustment. A florist may find that by moving to a new city or adding an extra skill, that floristry career opens up into something very new and exciting without diverging fundamentally from the original path. This is basically an evolution of a career, drawing new skills and experiences into something that is already working well and bringing job satisfaction.
Seizing the day
Alternatively, some opportunities present a difficult choice: follow the chance of something great, or stick to what you know. If you choose to be adventurous, changing career for something wildly different, you invite change into your life to present all manner of new people, experiences, skills and career development. You might find that your ‘old’ career actually bonds itself to the new in strange and wonderful ways, perhaps paving the way for a unique specialization.
A veterinarian turned teacher can use knowledge of animals and a carer’s instinct to impart this in young people, a business person who turns to farming can increase their odds of success on the land through established business smarts. There is a risk/reward ratio that runs through life, which generally applies the greatest reward to those willing to take the greatest risk.
People often fall into careers that don’t in the end deliver satisfaction. They may have been pushed by well meaning parents or teachers, or may have just developed into different people as time passed by and now need something different than before. Usually, it is a case of one thing leading to another. When a promotion is available and it requires relocating to the other side of the country and re-skilling in a new field or a competitor makes a job offer at a higher salary: these are the decisions that can spin a career into a whole new direction.
We can easily imagine the flight attendant turned travel consultant, who does a great job and shows a flair for marketing; thereby being promoted to a head office role. Still working in the travel industry, our example worker is slowly becoming more marketer than trave specialist, seeking out further training in the marketing field. The next step for this individual might be a marketing role with another company, which in turn brings new experiences and perhaps another career change down the track.
Every person’s life is a journey, and our working lives are a huge part of that voyage. Every different choice we make and path we select begins to form the bigger picture of our working careers. Like our fingerprints, the experiences we have along the way makes us unique as employees, with a distinct employee ‘brand’ to showcase to employers.
Changing career is not something to be fearful of, but rather represents the wonderful moments in life when we are propelled in new and exciting directions.