Your career is a journey. You can count on twists and turns along the way. It is unlikely you will end up doing the same thing at the end as you do in the beginning. If you recognize that at the start, which I did not, you can relax a little and be open to signals and lessons along the way.
My journey got started in what might now seem to be the wrong direction when I was in college and got As in Accounting classes. I interpreted that to mean I should pursue a career in accounting since I didn’t know what I really wanted to do “for the rest of my life.” After 20+ years, seven as a CPA and 15 in industry, I realized it wasn’t a functional area I loved even though I was good at it. It was the development of talent, a.k.a. coaching, that I loved. It’s messy work, not like balancing debits and credits, but it brings me joy!
The first role on my new, talent-focused path was executive recruiting. I love finding and connecting individuals open to a new opportunity to organizations who need new talent. The next phase of this path was running the career development office at a top-ranked business school. Working with students and alumni to launch and advance their careers is so fulfilling to me.
My journey took another turn a little more than a year ago, when I started down a new, entrepreneurial path. I gave up the comfort and predictability of a salary to launch a coaching company and join an executive search firm as a partner and owner. This phase has been rich in learning and high in stress. But it has felt right and most importantly I am doing work that I love!
As it turns out, my business experience has helped me to be successful on my talent-focused path. As an executive recruiter and an executive coach, it has given me credibility with clients. I understand the challenges they face.
What’s the point of this story? For most people, their career will be a journey with twists and turns. Sometimes the path ahead will be clear and sometimes it will be like driving through dense fog. Yes there will be stress, but as your journey leads to work you love it will feel like an adventure and not just like a job.