Economy & Jobs

3 Tips for the Ever-Changing Career Path

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We all want to have our careers completely figured out. However, the reality is that the average worker stays at a job for 4.4 years these days, changing an average of 10-11 times throughout their professional lives. As a Millennial in the dawning of your career, you may have already envisioned your career path, but where that road takes you may be surprising.

In her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, author Sheryl Sandberg describes her career as “a jungle gym scramble,” a great visual for anyone launching their career. We often assume that our career path will resemble a ladder, one rung at a time before you reach the top. But careers are often anything but linear. What does this jungle gym comparison mean to today’s Millennial?

1. Embrace Change

We go through many career transitions in our lifetime. According to Forbes, despite the 4.4-year average, most Millennials anticipate staying in a role for less than three years and transitioning from job to job more than previous generations. In total, Millennials could be looking at having 15-20 jobs over their lifetime. According to Forbes,

“Economic instability has erased, especially for younger workers, the stigma that has accompanied leaving a job early. That’s because strategic hopping [has] been all but necessary for as long as they can remember. Workers today know they could be laid off at any time… so they plan defensively.”

2. Add to Your Skill Toolbox

You shouldn’t worry if your career path doesn’t look like the corporate ladder that you envisioned. Saying “yes” to opportunities with high growth potential extends your networking contacts and fills your toolbox with new, innovative skills. With each new role, learn something new. In the end, your abilities and personality are all that you bring with you, so focus on expanding and applying those skills in every step of your career to elevate you to your fullest potential.

3. Become Passionate

As your career progresses, you will start to find that certain skills will come naturally to you, or you will find an area of work particularly enjoyable. These instances can lead to a career alteration. Whether you decide to change careers completely or hone in on a specific area of your current industry, you’ll only know what you’re good at — and passionate about — with a variety of experiences. In the end, passion is a driving force for successful careers.

When you look back at your career, you may not have climbed the corporate ladder to the top. However, knowing that you circumnavigated the jungle gym will leave you satisfied and proud of your accomplishments.