The Twists and Turns of Today’s Career Path

Some of us start out with an idea of what we want to do, others of us are driven by what seems like some innate passion, and others of us go into our professional lives with no clue as to what to do.

I always envied those who knew the exact path to their dream career.  I, like most, started out with a general idea of what I enjoyed, and sorta left the rest to hard work and fate.  I continued to kinda wing it through my bachelors, while I did have better insight into what my interests were.  But, even with that sheepskin, I still waded in the collegiate play pool (avoiding the real world and career) and stayed to get my masters degree while I decided what to do with my life.  It was only then that I had serious direction.  Ten years down the road, am I still doing what I thought I would be when I graduated college? Not at all.
We’re not counting my days working as a carhop to get through my associates here, but since I’ve begun my professional career in communications (meaning, I receive some kind of monetary compensation for the work I do) I’ve changed jobs about 5 times.  That’s in a time span of about 15 years or so.  I’ve done everything from radio DJ, to a television morning show producer, to a university professor, to a multi-media journalist (reporter) for the local television station.  Now, I find I’m going in yet another direction, which is digital marketing and video post production.
Analyzing my resume before submitting it to my most recent employer, it was evident that about every three years or so, my career path shifted somehow.  I began to worry how that might reflect on my work ethic or skills.  So, I did a little homework and found that nowadays, statistically, I’m not alone.  Even those who knew exactly what they wanted to do, according to experts, are changing it up rather frequently compared to stats in the past.  In fact, a popular and still applicable statistic throw around by the proverbial “they” states that we all will likely change jobs about seven times in our professional lifetime.
I drew several conclusions from this: First and foremost, again, I am not alone.  Somehow that makes me feel better.  Whether we’re forced to change or its by choice, most of us are sharing a similar experience in the work field.  Second, since I am by far not alone, I can assume employers are aware of the changing workforce and won’t immediately trash a resume with several lines of “experience.” Finally, it proves to me that even the most driven have to change their course.
How do we survive this revolving door?  We, like our industries, evolve.  Even so, how to we ensure job security?  We don’t.  In this day and age, can we really ensure anything?  In talking to colleagues and friends, it seems as though we all have a common thread (aside from changing jobs) and its that we value our skill set and we’re willing to adapt.
In an ever evolving world, a person must be willing to evolve as well, or expect to become obsolete.  Skills are only valuable if they’re kept up to date.  This isn’t a modern day survival guide to career transitions by any means, but this is meant to ensure those of you in the daily grind that if and when the time comes to change your path- don’t fear it- embrace it.  No, I didn’t start off down this road, but its been a fun one, and its been what I’ve made of it.  Is looking for a new job scary?  Of course.  But I can also freely admit that I’ve never enjoyed work as much as I do now.  And hey, according to experts, I still have two more moves to make before my journey ends.  I can only imagine what I’ll be doing ten years from now and how I’ll feel about it then. #TurnTheLightBulbOn
By Rachel Gartner
About Tom Harness

Tom Harness is the owner of Harness Digital Marketing, a digital marketing firm that works with businesses and organizations on Social Media, SEO, and Email Marketing. He is an entrepreneur and business owner with 20 years of combined experience in Education, IT, and Business. Tom is a U.S. Army Veteran and a Southern Illinois University alum. He also enjoys craft beers, his beloved Chicago Cubs, and his family.

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