Planning your career is a daunting task. How can you know what you want to do for the next 40 years? Will the world even be the same in 40 years? Unlikely!
In times gone by choices were simpler. If you were destined for a professional career such as teaching, law or medicine, the routes were closely delineated. The path was clearly laid out, you just had to follow it.
Or you would follow your father into a trade such as carpentry or building or plumbing. Again there were apprenticeships, and the path was clear.
Or you were a clerical or manual worker, again not a lot of career planning involved.
In today’s world though life is much more complex. There are literally thousands of jobs, and they evolve and change every year. Every week!
What is a career?
So what are we trying to identify, plan and control. And why?
Essentially you are looking for a way to make a living, to provide yourself and your loved ones with an income, place to live, comfort and security, cars and holidays.
But there is something else too. How we earn our living means more than that. It is how we define ourselves. How we spend a large percentage of our lives.
It is part of our sense of self, and also how we are going to spend a huge proportion of our lives.
And after all the work you put into your degree you want to find a great job that allows you to employ your knowledge. And you want to be financially independent.
How can you get it right?
And what if you get it wrong? How can you possibly know now, at the start of your career, when you are young and inexperienced, what will fulfil all those objectives for you for the next 40 years?
The short answer is, you can’t. And you don’t need to. So relax. Every job you take will teach you key skills, confidence, how the world of work operates. And you will probably change jobs fairly frequently early on in your career.
If you are working for a small company you will probably look for a bigger job with more responsibility. In a larger company you are likely to get the opportunity to change roles and departments and go for promotion.
Most peoples will have several careers, possibly leading naturally into each other, but sometimes there will be a complete change of direction. And this is how it is going to have to be in our fast changing world. Many of us are in jobs that didn’t exist when we were planning our careers.
When I was at school there was no World Wide Web, no internet , no ICT , no computers, no coding or programming, website building, content development, SEO, Media advertising …………………
Nobody considered a career as an astronaut, or in robotics, as a radio DJ, plastic surgeon, travel agent or game show host.
The world has changed enormously in my working life, and will continue to change in terms of how we make our living, as new technology shapes and enhances our lives.
What if I want to change my career?
It is almost a certainty that you will change your career as you go through life, because the world will evolve and you will need to move with it. So there will be changes as you react to new technology, or even anticipate it and become one of the first people in a new sector.
Another driver for change might be family responsibilities – the birth of children, or the need to care for parents. Or perhaps you will relocate to be with a partner, or will be made redundant, or just become bored and need a change.
As long as you have the ability to do the job, it pays you what you need to earn, and you enjoy the work, there is nothing to say you can’t have several completely different careers. This is increasingly common now, and can add a new dimension as people bring their perspective and experience from one career to another.