I used to worry about my son’s penchant for changing careers even before making it to his 5th year at the job.
This tendency went against the traditional linear path to a career growth and success.
Traditional way of career success
Back then, one had to build loyalty to a company and/or industry, to gain credibility and expertise. Aside from acquiring experience, skills, and knowledge in one job, one hoped to establish stability and security of tenure by staying long years in the same organization in hope of a promotion to a higher level, or be rewarded for one’s loyalty.
But this is today’s reality. It’s a growing trend to shift careers at the beginning of one’s work life or midway, especially among the young.
Now, I see the value. My son’s career transitions – from the academe to the corporate world, and from one corporate line of work to another – has brought him to higher management level with bigger responsibilities, in different fields. It has brought him nearer his career goals and to different places, too (overseas). Something he wouldn’t have attained yet, had he stayed in his first job ever.
Benefits of multiple career/job transitions
Nowadays, career/job progress comes from different directions. As this article says: “…with an ever-changing job market, technologies and opportunities emerging daily […] today’s career paths are not ladders, but more like jungle gyms.”
I myself have experienced such career shifts — from corporate jobs to teaching after a long break, then writing. At present, I’m even learning a more specialized kind of writing necessary nowadays in the digital workplace – copy writing (for content marketing).
But I tell you this. Changing careers benefits you in many ways, both in your work and personal life. You accumulate different skill sets, get to experience different work cultures, and meet all sorts of people. All these enrich your life, promote your personal and professional growth. And not the least, it widens your horizon of opportunities.
You’ll never know where life can take you. But the skills you’ve learned so far will be of great use to you anytime.
How to manage your career/job transition(s)
This article offer some ways to make your career transition(s) a breeze.
Let’s look at some:
- According to the article, you should “Decide if you need a career change. You may just need to find a new job, not an easy task, but certainly simpler than an entire career makeover.”
So while you’re still at your job, whether you’re enjoying it or not, learn as much as you can. The skills you learn will put you in good stead wherever your next move takes you.
I remember in my earliest job where my main function was personnel recruitment, I’d ask our telephone operator to teach me how to operate our switchboard and handle calls. During my coffee break or lunch time, I’d offer to relieve her because it was so much fun for me. I never expected on my next job, relieving the telephone operator was part of my duties.
- Assess yourself is another tip from the article. “If you decide a career change is in order you will need to evaluate your values, skills, personality and interests using self-assessment tools, often called career tests.”
In my case –my transition — from personnel work to language teaching to content writing on the web — was not part of any strategic plans for the future, but a convenient option. But there also seemed to be a tying up of my values, skills, personality and interests which helped me segue into each of these fields.
And I add my own tips based from my personal experience.
- Work on your hobbies and interests. Find time to indulge in them no matter how busy you are in your job. Hone your innate talents and find the relevant skills to develop so you can be good at whatever you enjoy doing. The more you learn and practice, the more you become an expert.
For example, while still teaching, I started a blog for my students (this one, initially meant for their use). I didn’t know anything at all about WordPress, much less about blogging. But I enjoyed learning everything I could about it.
Now, 5 years hence, I’ve become more confident with my blogging skills both for my pleasure and for my work as content writer. Yet, I still continue to improve my skills day by day by diligent learning through reading up and attending online courses.
- As soon as you learn something new, apply that knowledge. Don’t worry about making mistakes. You learn by doing.
I’d always been fond of taking photos — long before the advent of smartphones and digital photography. So I’d be using my old trusted film camera, then my digicam. But I never thought about any techniques. Just point and shoot. Enough.
Then with a smartphone, I discovered the joy and beauty in taking good shots and developing my photography skills. Although I’m far from being an expert, at the very least, my photo shots today show signs of better technique and style.
- Discover new interests. They can help you advance in your present job or career, or lead you to a new field. Or even help you transition from being employed to having your own business.
While in her job at the bank, my sister started networking with associates and learning about marketing. Now she is her own person running her own food franchise.
- Think of your goals, as the same article above says. Set up new ones if you haven’t yet. Do this with each transition you make. What are you trying to achieve by your move?
Don’t make a move for the sake of doing so, otherwise you may find yourself adrift like a lost boat.
In short, move with a purpose and a clear sense of direction. It may not take you yet where you want to be. But it will surely help you make the most of what you can do and reach your goals one step at a time.
There are different routes to the same destination. Stay focused and determined. – Janice Harris