My personal career path has not been linear. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. I’ve made transitions from warehouse labor and management, to full-time student, to graduate school, to the law, to human resources management, to consulting and career coaching, to e-learning and instructional design, to academia and now back into the leadership, management and career consulting world. Beginning with my decision to go to law school in my mid-twenties, until today, I’ve made affirmative choices to do the things I do in my career.
My decision to enter the law was not based upon any well-thought out plan. It was a vehicle for upward mobility and, I hoped, a chance to “make a difference.” The problem with that decision was that I made it without really understanding what truly motivated me. I devoted over 15 years to the study and then the practice of law. I learned a lot, and in spite of my subsequent decision to leave the profession, I truly don’t regret any of it.
The decision to leave the practice of law really marked – for me – the start of my career path marked by much more thought, and planning around my personal needs. I also learned how to evaluate and understand my motivations, strengths and passions. Now these factors drive what I choose to do for a living, and it is a wonderful way to manage and take full ownership of my career.
The coaching I do in this space is likewise driven by my effort to help my clients discover and then articulate their own motivations, strengths and passions as the anchors that guide their career choices. When we manage our careers like this, we set the stage for truly fulfilling endeavors without regard to what others might think or even what we might have though 5, 10 and even 15 years ago.
My current career path is exactly that – a path. I am certain I am not currently working in a role from which I will retire. For me, there is no destination. There are steps along a path and into a future guided by my passions and needs, and – you know what? – it’s more fun that way.