The current economic climate may look bright, but millions of people are discovering their jobs are, in fact, disappearing before their eyes. Many who are in professions which are high demand are having little trouble finding work, but that is the exception rather than the rule, and not everyone has the mental, emotional and physical aptitude to be in medicine, law enforcement, engineering or information systems. For those of us who don’t possess those skills, the job hunt can be a daunting one and careers can be hard to build. Here are some things those of us who have not been able to enjoy long term careers understand:
It’s always a battle to prove ourselves: like it or not, many folks who aren’t able to create long term careers find ourselves in situations where we are constantly having to show our value to an employer. We have to scrap for everything and have had very little handed to us. We truly earn our keep.
Our “black book” has only a few trusted connections: people with long term career generally enjoy tons of connections and develop relationships with several influential decision makers. For those of us who don’t have this, networking becomes about who we can trust instead of who can get us ahead. The people we know will “come through” mean more than someone who promises the moon, but can’t deliver.
Hobbies often add to our value: some of us write, some draw, some sing. We all have one thing in common – we have a hobby, an interest, which rounds us out makes us a valued commodity. Our outside pursuits are often determined by what they bring to the workplace and how they can make us feel more comfortable in our job and keep us relaxed and centered. Many folks with long term careers become “the job” and don’t deviate from it; for those of us whose career experience is diverse, it’s our outside interests, not our careers, which define our sense of self.
We RARELY get shackled by the “golden handcuffs”: we all know that person who had the chance of a “dream job” but committed the cardinal sin of personal finance: they became reliant on bonuses or overtime. Those of us without long term careers learned something around the third or fourth new job – anything over BASE is “found money.” You never, ever rely on it. That sort of mentality is a sanity killer and burnout guarantee.
We can relate to many different types of people: being in one career for a long time has great stability benefits, but it also makes it difficult to relate to someone who doesnt speak your “professional vocabulary.” I know several people in long term careers who do not associate with people outside their work much, simply because others don’t “get” their job or understand the myriad jargon they use. It’s sad, but true. Those who don’t have long term careers learn how to relate to many different people from different professional backgrounds.
We adjust to change more effectively: those of us who have not been in one career our whole lives tend to accept change much more readily because we know change is a constant. It’s life. When a career is the same for long periods of time, upheaval can be very traumatic and it can even wreak major emotional and mental havoc. Those of us with multi career lives are able to “shift on the fly” with relative ease.
We are not married to our job: loving your job is great. Having a profession which gives you satisfaction is beautiful. When you feel tired or burned out, career satisfaction is no longer relevant. It become a just another paycheck. Service oriented jobs are a chore, and professional work is all about the benes and the scratch. Those of us without long term careers can bring a sense of perspective to others because we don’t allow our work to define us, we define ourself through who we are and what we love.
I hope this post offers some solace to those without long term careers. On a personal note, I had felt that not “finding my place” in the career world was a detriment, but I’ve discovered these factors actually make me a very strong person from a career standpoint. I found it healing to write. Comments are always welcome.