So many people ask me to help them find the right job. They think in terms of finding the best fit, but there’s no such thing as the right job anymore. The working world is changing too fast. Mergers and takeovers happen overnight, and even if you find the perfect job for you, it could change in six months.
There’s an element of chance in career development that doesn’t get talked about enough. There’s money to be made if you make people believe there’s only one perfect career for them. There are assessments to sell you, perfect plans to make, checklists to do.
You Don’t Have to Know Everything
So how do you move forward? It helps to know about your personality, your interests, and your skills, but what you really need to know is what you want to try next. And you need to get comfortable with asking yourself that question throughout your career. That’s it. You don’t have to have the rest of your life planned out. Careers don’t work that way anymore.
Then you need to be mindful enough to see your options, and you have to be comfortable enough with uncertainty and failure to try something new. Easier said than done, I know, I know.
This month Adena Friedman was named the chief executive of the Nasdaq stock exchange, and she describes her path as “eclectic” and “winding.” She credits her success to starting out in a job that was loosely defined, something a lot of us avoid. But for her, that role allowed her to try new things and grow, she told Fortune magazine. She recommends searching for jobs with loose parameters early in your career, so you can learn and grow.
Keep Your Options Open
Some questions to ask yourself include:
What are you curious about?
What would you like to learn?
What skills do I have that would be useful to someone who could teach me?
Then start getting out there and start talking to people about their work and side projects. These days people always have something interesting going on the side. You can find the next thing to try by networking and getting involved with interesting people.
Psychologist John Krumboltz is a hero of mine. His career theory centers on our ability to learn as we progress in our careers. The working world is unpredictable, and there are no guarantees, even if you make the perfect decision.
Some of his ideas for action include joining a club, helping to organize and event, producing a sample of work you can post online or distribute to friends, creating a business card, getting a transitional job that isn’t perfect, starting a low-risk business like dog walking, or offering to train someone.
Whatever you do, don’t just sit there. There’s so much you can try. I’m happy to talk with you about what you want to try next in a career coaching session. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.