Since joining the workforce, I’ve received a lot of career advice. But I can break it down to two distinct messages from two set groups. The first lot of advice comes from a retiring generation who stress that company loyalty will breed success. The other advice comes from a highly mobile generation, giving me license to quit my job and chase my passion.
Heeding the advice of the younger crowd, I’ve seen about five passions through and I’m still searching for that elusive ‘dream job’. My university loan suggests that I should be President of the World by now
Is there such a thing as having a ‘career’ if you can’t sit still in a single profession?
I’m sure some of you have found your groove. Maybe you’ve landed that stellar job, the one that makes you bound out of bed every morning, saying ‘I got this’. Perhaps you even stay in that role for a respectable length of time (without having to justify any lateral movement, or leaving some roles off your CV entirely).
But if you’re always searching for greener pastures, like me, what can you say of your past?
In its 2013 Global Generational Study, PwC (no longer stuffy auditors but a global professional services firm) dubs me a ‘millennial’. That’s because I was born between 1980 and 1995. This brings with it a whole host of connotations and assumptions about how I think and behave about work. And PwC are bang on.
Do I want meaningful work? Of course. Do I want real work-life balance (and be prepared to jump ship to get it?) Hell-yeah! Do I also want tangible recognition? Show me the money!
Being a lawyer/fitness membership consultant/government officer/lobbyist/high school teacher/financial services consultant has its perks. Anyone I meet at a party usually has a career connection with me, unless they’re a glamazon and all I can scream up at them is “IS IT REALLY HOT IN HERE OR IS IT JUST ME?”
But what does my past make me? Most of my friends define me for what I was at one point in time. I’m legally blonde to some, a frazzled teacher to others. I don’t bother reciting the resume to those interested to ask now. I just stick with “I’m a… (insert current interest)” with 1-2 years’ experience, tops.
This stresses my parents out immeasurably. Am I ready to ‘settle, petal?’ Yes, until I start getting itchy feet again and wonder if I could manage a sales team, own a café or two and start my MBA, but still work from home…
So I’m a dabbler in all trades and a master of none (achieving Jack status takes time). So what? Perhaps your job title doesn’t define you or your career. Strip back the context and your career can manifest from a series of skills and experiences which shape you as a professional. It seems that selling gym memberships and managing a classroom of teenage boys has made me a capable and confident people leader. Who knew?