Recently, I was chatting with someone who just graduated from high school. It was clear that she is frozen with the choices that face her. Should she go to college? A trade school? Get a job? And what if she doesn’t like what she chooses, isn’t she stuck with it forever? I suggested that she worry less, as few of us know exactly what we want to do, even ten to twenty years into a successful career. The most important thing is to take a step into whatever area you think might be interesting and that gives you the best opportunity to grow. Once you take that step, look around, ask questions, learn what you can from people who are great at what they do, and leverage your new skills to push yourself in an entirely new direction.
According to a 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey, it is estimated that most people will have 12 jobs during their lives. In the last year, 32% of those 25 to 44 have considered a career change. Since starting their first job after college, 29% of people have completely changed fields. Gone are the days where a marker of career success was longevity with a single company, and a climb up some invisible ladder.
What does this mean for new professionals and those considering what to do next? The good news is, the ladder is gone. Here’s a secret, it never worked well anyway. And, a lot of people felt like they could not get off once they were on it because they already invested so much time waiting for the people above them to move up or off.
I encourage you to view your career as an Easter egg hunt. Look behind the bushes, run to the best hiding places (even when they aren’t obvious), and take time to evaluate the entire field for the special hidden eggs. The curiosity, if you can keep it stoked for all of your working years, will enable you to fill your basket and keep it full.