Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm on my fourth career - how about you?

Time was, you went to work for a company and stayed there your entire career. You retired in, say, your fifties, then bought the condo in Boca Raton or Hilton Head and lived off your company-provided pension.

Boy, does that seem a long time ago. Almost nobody spends a career at one place. And fewer and fewer of us are limiting ourselves to one career either (part of the reason being that retiring in one's fifties isn't financially viable, nor really appealing, to most people).

I'm on my fourth distinct career, by my reckoning. Here's the breakdown:

1984-1992 - software developer
1992-2000 - product manager, marketer, channel salesperson
2000-2006 - senior manager (getting involved with all the above areas)
2006-? - consultant/entrepreneur/writer/???

And the priorities have changed along the way. I'm a lot more concerned about day-to-day work being enjoyable & intrinsically rewarding than I used to be. Keeping control of my time and being able to devote enough to family time is also important.

Knowing that I'll be working for twenty more years, at least, is making me much more conscious of working "in the moment," with less concern for what happens a year, or five years, hence.

How about you?

(Photo: career men & women from another time. "Mad Men," courtesy of AMC television.)


Michelle Malay Carter said...

Hi John,

I love this game! I enjoy asking people how they ended up in the job they are in. I also ask them what their bliss is. Rarely are they the same thing. For me they are.

Starting with my first job out of college, here's my story. During my 10 years in the corporate world before I ran screaming from it, I worked for 3 organizations, had 11 different job titles, and 7 managers.

Organization #1 - Ad Agency
Assistant to the President
Account Coordinator

Organization #2 - Bank Holding Company
Temporary Envelope Stuffer
Marketing Assistant
Corporate Communications Director
Director of Bank Marketing

Career Change Point

Organization #3 - Manufacturing
Technical Training Specialist
Sales Training Specialist
Account Development Specialist
Training and Development Specialist
Regional Training Manager

For the last 10 years I have been a self employed management consultant and free lance writer. During that time, I have earned my masters degree, had two children and I have had part time gigs as a visiting lecturer at NC State, a greeting card content writer, church operations manager, a book chapter author, an adjunct consultant on retainer, business blogger and personal blogger.

I'm with you. Life's too short not to follow your bliss. My problem is that my bliss takes me a lot of places.


Michelle Malay Carter