When I started my career as a Financial Advisor a few years ago, my philosophy about my career was all wrong. I had one focus in mind and kept metaphorical blinders on as I pursued my goal. Sometimes this type of focus can be utilized to your advantage, but not when we are talking about your “career”. I was ignoring the world changing trends around me, and stepping into a profession that was stuck in the last two decades. My beliefs were predicated on words such as prestige, stable, corporate and other such meaningless words.
Since I made this startling discovery, I’ve been on a path of reinventing myself. Never ignoring a chance to learn about new things and ideas, never leaving out the opportunity to make a pivot in my career. Actually, I’m refusing to say the word career anymore because categorically defining yourself is putting limits on your future options. Of course on your web page or LinkedIn profile you need to define the work you are doing or want to be doing. Excluding the word, “career”, is an internal choice so you can keep growing outside of your current line of work.
In today’s economy, you need to develop skills that can be used not only in the workplace for your current job, but to be used in a freelance basis or to build your own company around. Working for a large corporation for twenty years with a pension to retire on is just not the case anymore. The business of change is moving faster than ever, and if you’re not moving with it than you will be left behind.
The resume that you have relied is becoming obsolete. Saying that you spent three lousy years at XYZ corporation, really doesn’t translate the skills you have. No one knows if you were constantly slacking off surfing the Internet reading posts like this one, or if you were the stellar employee that can follow orders but literally can’t think for yourself. Blogging and freelancing changes all of that. It has never been easier for future employers to see what your thoughts are, or see first hand examples of your work. This discovery for me has been eye opening and scary, to say the least. I feel as if I’m far behind where I need to be in showcasing my thoughts, skills and future potential for the world to see. Luckily, the redefining of careers and resumes have not become mainstream yet, but it will.
What to do now if this is all new information for me? There are a few things to do and they can be started today.
1. Start writing in a journal as often as you can. Putting your thoughts, concerns, feelings and everything in between down into written words puts your life in perspective. It gives you a chance to bring clarity to your life. In this case, clarity around what skills you would like to develop and the future you want.
2. Buy a domain with your name and start a personal blog. Your blog should be strategically written around the business interests you want to pursue. It doesn’t need to be about the current job you are in, but the business you want to be in.
3. Learn a new skill or develop one you have been neglecting. Karen Cheng wrote an inspiring piece on how to get a job as a designer without going to design school. It’s a great article that outlines the steps she took to pursue her goal.
4. Maybe this should have been numbered three. Read and follow amazing people online. Surfing BuzzFeed for funny videos is cool sometimes, but this won’t give you any life altering ideas. Reading the book from 37Signals “rework” can defiantly give you the confidence to make the thoughts you write down in your journal a reality.
5. Keep your main goals written down in big bold letters, and bring it with you where ever you go. I actually throw out the piece of paper, and write it down again every day. Just to reinforce the bigger picture, because sometimes day to day life can pull you in many directions.
These thoughts have been borrowed from the many amazing people I have been following as of late. The 5 steps outlined are only the beginning stages to taking off the chains defining your life by the word career. I will leave you with a saying from the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “The only constant is change.” Embracing this fact in life might help you move with the change, and not fight against it.