Your career path – a long and winding road
Often, when career advisors meet with new job-seeking clients, they start by asking them about plans for their next move, and there are typically four basic options to choose from:
- same function, same industry
- different function, same industry
- same function, different industry
- different function, different industry
Since many people — young adults in particular — have great anxiety about making the wrong career choice and fear that they will somehow be “stuck” in a career path, I enjoy using my own career to demonstrate the possibility of hitting all four of these job move options at one point or another.
- After majoring in Urban Affairs in college, I followed my interest in urban housing for low income people in my first two jobs. I worked as a housing analyst and renovation and development planner, first for the City of New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development and then for the City of Boston Housing Authority (same function, same industry).
- After the federal housing budget was dramatically cut during the Reagan years, I joined Citibank’s commercial real estate division as a VP of lending and construction (same function, different industry).
- After eight years at Citibank, I decided to move into a more “people-focused” role and became an executive recruiter for the banking industry (different function, same industry).
- Missing the corporate world after five years, I moved into two staffing director roles, first at Time Inc. and then at Colgate-Palmolive (same function, different industry).
- Finally, with post-graduate training and a lifetime of work experience, I became a career advisor for MBAs, Executive MBAs, and alumni of MBA schools (different function, different industry).
One could look at the beginning of my career path and see that I started in low-income housing renovation — and 30 years later I’m a career advisor to MBA alumni! How could that happen? As you can see from the way I broke it down, above, each transition made a lot of sense. I was able to follow my interests and passions and talents into multiple satisfying roles in multiple industries.
Transitioning from one role or industry to another does take some self assessment as well as thoughtful research and networking with those who can be valuable in giving guidance. Ask yourself: What are my greatest strengths and skills? What other industries would be able to use my talents? In what other functions could my skills be demonstrated? And most important of all: What have I enjoyed most about my various roles and workplaces? How can I combine most of those satisfying aspects in my next job?
Life is long! Make the most of it!
For more advice visit Johnson Alumni Career Resources.