Career management

The trouble with career paths

When I graduated high school, way back last century (!), careers advisors were somewhat of a rarity. Certain parts of my extended family were very big on further educational achievements, so when asked, “what are you going to study when you leave school?”, I got used to saying, “I’ll probably do a BA and an MA and then decide”. That provided an acceptable answer and had a grain of truth in it. I really hadn’t decided what I wanted to do.

Fast forward some years, OK, many years, and I still haven’t decided what I’m going to be when I grow up. I’ve managed to successfully change careers at least half-a-dozen times, but I have to admit, it’s getting harder as I get older.

Which is one of the reasons we tend to keep pouring money, time and effort into whatever career we decided on when we were children. (Yes, I know, 15-year-olds don’t think they’re children. It’s only 30 years later they realise they’re still children.)

So, given that the future of work is looking less linear and more chaotic, with most people predicted to change careers at least once in their lifetime, wedding oneself to and defining oneself by a career title seems a little, well, last century.

The future of work will require more entrepreneurial and self-marketing, sales and negotiation skills to navigate changing paths. We’ll need to take actual ownership of our careers, behaving more like self-employed consultants than employees. We’ll need to know about branding and identity marketing, relationship marketing, pitching ideas and negotiating new partnerships. Not once or twice in our work-lives, but probably every few years.

Do you have the tools and skills to do that?

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