As children, most of us were interminably asked by adults what we wanted to be when we grew up.
By the end of high school, having some idea of your "final answer" to that question was required by parents and guidance counselors in order to steer you to an appropriate college and degree.
I'm sure I don't need to tell you how much the world has changed, even in just the last five to ten years. I feel very lucky that late in college I fell in love with computers. Information technology gave me a wonderful career at a time when other fields came and went.
All Career Eggs in One Basket?
Can anyone truly afford to roll the dice on one type of career any more? Professions such as attorneys, accountants, physicians, nurses, and information technology experts will be in considerable demand for the foreseeable future. Of course, those careers require a significant, up-front investment in education plus an ongoing commitment to professional development. You had better like what you are doing; the costs to switch to something else from one of these fields is considerable.
For everyone else, having your own plan for your future is not a luxury but a necessity. In an interesting twist on this topic, Penelope Trunk, an influential career advisor, suggests that you can make your life more stable by changing jobs frequently.
Looking for Stability in All the Wrong Places
Even if your chosen specialty survives technological change, economic uncertainty, and business failures, long-term careers within one company are a thing of the past as are the benefits that made them palatable such as orderly promotions and pension plans.
Penelope offers five ways to use frequent job changes to build stability in your life:
- Build up a strong skill set quickly.
- Get good at making transitions.
- Make the most of the in-between-jobs time.
- Get out of paying your dues.
- Keep your finances in order.
Her best advice? "The best financial security today is to have great job hunting skills that never stop. Go to the best job, do it until you find another best job. This is the kind of person who will always be able to get money when they need it."