Today, society has accepted many people take the road less travelled — a nonlinear career path. Professionals who choose not to climb the traditional ladder build a versatile skill set and a diverse network. Climbing the corporate ladder, at one company, after graduation, is a distant memory. Edx research found that 29% of people ages 25 to 44 have completely changed fields since starting their first job post-college.
Professionals have moved from climbing the corporate ladder to climbing the career lattice.
Nonlinear Career Path — the Road Less Travelled
Folks from Steve Jobs to Anjali Sud have legitimized and perhaps even glamorized the nonlinear career path. The commonly accepted formula for fulfilling goals and dreams is knowing your long-term goals, working hard, and staying the course in the regardless of obstacles until you reach your goal. This formula fails far too many. It would help if you found success on your terms. A flexible mindset can guide you to a life of purpose, authenticity, and achievement.
The secret to your success is in the pursuit of fulfilment. Many pundits advance that pursuit of excellence leads to satisfaction. However, it is the pursuit of fulfilment that leads to excellence. Your actions are genuine. Having the right mindset empowers you to make the right choices to fit your circumstances consistently. The right choice always complements your unique interests and abilities.
Climbing a career lattice is not a phenomenon restricted to new grads. A Deloitte study found that 43% of millennials plan to quit their current job within two years. The modern workforce job hops, across all fields and titles. It is now a widely accepted.
The Hamilton Project is an interactive tool, that shows how occupations and earnings in your major differ by sex and age. The accompanying paper: Putting Your Major to Work: Career Paths after College sets out the economic analysis used in the interactive tool allowing users to explore career outcomes by major.
How did this new career trajectory come to be? What does this new career trajectory mean for the future of work?
Take Advantage of Opportunities
You need to ready to take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. Think of it as gradient ascent — what the best chances to use my talent stack. This approach requires you to:
- Know your micro-motives (behavioural DNA)
- Know the available opportunities
- Know the strategies for you to capitalize on the opportunities
- Not set a destination, only the next step on your career path to your summit
Reskill and Upskill
Career paths are less predictable than they were in the past. Two reasons are:
- the overwhelming debt is afflicting millions of college graduates
- the growing presence of affordable opportunities for continued and alternative education paths
The average student in the US has a median combined $57,600 in debt accrued from their studies. The same edX above study found that 39% of respondents say a primary driver of continuous job shifting is the desire for a salary increase. New graduates are trying to meet these hefty loan payments each month. However, this is short-sighted and will not help you achieve fulfilment. Online learning platforms offer affordable opportunities to reskill and upskill; it is becoming easier to make significant career changes.
Additionally, McKinsey found that digital transformation, automation, and advances in artificial intelligence disrupt about 14% of the global workforce (375 million workers) in the near term. Careers are increasingly fragmented and fluid. Progressive institutions of higher learning are responding with innovative online learning models. They are supporting people who want to develop new skills in emerging fields like cybersecurity and data science. They are making this possible for the individual without them having to quit work and go on-campus for one or two more years and pay the $50,000-$120,000.
Online programs range from a four-week course, all the way up to a two-year, master’s degree. These solutions that allow learners at all career stages to reskill and upskill as they embark on new career paths. Innovative education providers are inspiring a more passionate, knowledgeable, and versatile workforce. They are closing significant skills mismatches in new technology-driven fields.
Transferable Skills — Build Your Talent Stack
Given there is no longer a stigma associated with job hopping, you have unlimited options when it comes to shaping your career path. Should you decide to change fields early, focus on the development of the transferable skills in your talent stack – problem-solving, time management and relationship building, to name a few.
Progressive recruiting professionals hold significantly more weight for your transferable skills than your academic record or relevant work experience. You should leverage online programs that offer certifications in skills that are conducive to the kind of professional development that builds your career capital. This learning will pay dividends in the age of the anything-but-linear career path. This development includes leadership, team management and more. Having a personal development plan is essential.
Diversify Your Network
Lastly, a significant benefit of a nonlinear career path is the expansive professional network that will result from changing fields early and often. If you leverage modern networking tools and attend events and conferences across industries, you can be more connected than any generation before you. Further, your prior experience in other sectors can inspire a more holistic perspective that you can leverage to be more creative in a new role.
Innovation often occurs at the intersection of two domains. We are all multipotentialites to some extent. Embrace your diversity within.
Ultimately, professionals who take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the acceptance and rise of the nonlinear career path will reap the benefits of a more versatile skill set. Affordable and accessible education opens the doors to develop the latest in-demand skills, as well as transferable skills that are valuable and applicable in every job situation. The fluidity of careers also allows for a diverse professional network, which can result in more frequent opportunities. What might you learn by taking the career road less travelled?
Challenge — What's Right For You?
Solution = Leverage Your Talent Stack + Build Your Career Capital
Identify your unique behavioural strengths, build your career capital and leverage your unique talent stack for lifetime success.
- Grow your leadership potential by targeting your critical developmental needs
- Determine your crucial career success factors, allowing for more focused efforts
- Discover your best and most successful career direction
- Find out about your strengths and interests in different career areas
Knowing yourself is the first step to being happy. Moreover, staying happy is an ongoing process of regrounding your long-term goals with your current objectives. When those align, you’re on the path to a job you can adore. Know when to find a better job as your best option may be to fall in love with your job (again) We also offer a personal development plan to help you achieve career success and satisfaction.