Walking the Cat . . .

Because life's kinda like that . . .

Never, Ever Settle . . .(even though you will be tempted)

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There are some rules that should be followed when you first set foot on the path to a new career.  These rules apply equally to the novice career  “cruiser” and the experienced career “changer” alike.  These rules, these dos and don’ts, should be adhered to without deviation (at least not too much deviation).  The first do is decide what it is you want to do, what kind of career you want.  And don’t choose a career based on what someone else thinks you should do, no matter if it’s parent, spouse or “significant other”.  You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect (or want) you to.  You shouldn’t be too specific, nor should you be too vague.  Don’t start the quest in search of “something” in such-and-such a field.  Don’t “waffle”.  Say you want to be a lawyer; what kind of law do you want to practice?  Corporate, criminal (these two paths could intersect down the road.  Just ask the guys at Enron and Goldman-Sachs); maybe you’re interested in civil law or family law or probate law.  The same things hold true for any number of careers, from medicine to mechanics; nearly every career path has a variety of side paths along which you can wander if you so desire.  Whichever way you decide to go, whatever career path you decide to explore, and it is and will be an exploration, don’t make any decision based solely on how much money you can acquire.  If there isn’t the possibility of a large degree of personal satisfaction attached to your career choice, you’re not likely to find a great deal of success, no matter how much money you make.

Once you’ve decided on a career path, develop a plan designed to keep you on that path.  It cannot be overstated, “You can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going.”  And, even if you know where you’re going, you’ll likely need some kind of map to make sure you’re, at least, moving in the right direction.  For those who desire a “professional” career path, this kind of planning should, ideally, begin in school, around the time you declare you “major”.  The last thing you want to have happen is to leave school, degree in hand and find yourself saying, “Okay, now what?”  So develop a plan and stick to it, but not too closely.  Plans are really good to have, but success comes from flexibility, being able to adjust to changing circumstances and environments.  And this holds true for those of you who, for one reason or another, can’t (or choose not to) go to college.  Just because you graduated from VO-TECH doesn’t mean you have to take “just any old job”.  The paths leading to careers in mechanics, carpentry, electrical trades, food service, plumbing should all be planned with flexibility.  You may snicker and think I’m being patronizing but I’m not.  You never know when the lawyer or doctor or stockbroker may need a mechanic who specializes in imported cars like his Bentley, or when the next dot.com millionaire wants to restore that Georgian mansion he just bought out of foreclosure.  Opportunities abound for grad and non-grad alike. so when you’re developing that career plan, be sure to build in a little flexibility.  A word of caution.  You may not find yourself securely set on the path to your career goals right away.  No one ever said it was going to be easy and the truth of the matter is, sometimes it’s damned hard.  You may be tempted to “take a break”, to find “something” now; pick up the career “thing” later .  Don’t give up; not until you’ve exhausted every resource you have or can find or finagle.   Never settle.  Never, ever.  The temptation will be strong.  People will say things like, “Maybe it just wasn’t in the cards.”   Don’t give in!  When you settle, for third or even second-best, you become comfortable and you realize, often too late, “later” never seems to arrive.

Career-changers, on the other hand,  face a different situation than novice career-planners.  They have considerably more experience in their chosen field(s); not to mention their life experience.  By dint of their years in the marketplace, they have more resources from which to draw to aid in their search for new worlds to conquer.  But they also have one obstacle to deal with that other don’t.  Career-changers, especially older workers, are often viewed as “too old”, “burned out” or they’re considered “dinosaurs”, not easily able to adapt to the new marketplace or work environment.  One response to this, one becoming more and more commonplace, is the tendency for older workers to turn their eye to entrepreneurial pursuits.  The Internet has provided fertile ground for the growth in entrepreneurship and there appears to be no end to its continued growth in sight.  Colleagues may smile indulgently, spouses may roll their eyes in mock horror and former employers may tell you you’re bound to fail.  Faced with the effects of these nay-sayers and prophets of financial doom, you may want to recall and old, old saying, attributed to a number of very successful men and women.  “Never interrupt someone who is doing what you said can’t be done.”  The truth of the matter is, everyday former corporate executives and middle managers are finding themselves being sought out as consultants and mentors in nearly every business arena thanks to the power of the Internet.

So whether you’re new to career searching, or a dinosaur fighting extinction, there are still worlds to be conquered, passions to be unleashed and fortunes to be made.  Just remember these dos and don’ts.  Do decide on what you want to do, specifically.  Do develop a plan to guide you in the achievement of that goal.  And last, but certainly not least, Don’t quit.  Never, ever settle . . .



Written by stevewthomas

May 14, 2011 at 7:16 am

One Response

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  1. Good thoughts. Great advice. Another challenge is to define the “success” you are pursuing. What does success look like? Yes, goals and a roadmap are essential. Knowing when you’ve arrived is also important.

    Keep going.

    – m


    May 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm

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