Career Myths Vs Truths #5: Traditional Career Paths are Not Always the Answer

In our book, Don’t Dread Monday, we highlight ten career myths and their corresponding truths. This is the fifth of ten blog posts in which we highlight these myths and truths. Aligning to these truths will set the foundation for a sustained career of engagement and success. I am sure you will find value in #5.

Career Myth #5: Career paths are predictable.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve presented in front of an executive team and asked, “How many of you are working in the field you got your degree in?” only to see maybe one or two hands go up. Gone are the days when you could major in accounting, for example, and have an easy, predictable climb up the accounting ladder until you retired at age 65. Granted, I don’t know if I really know of anyone who has had such a straightforward career path. We want to believe having a predictable career is easy, expected, and normal, but that is not the case for the majority of people.

This fact, however, is not something to be afraid of. If anything, it should be liberating. Indeed, one mark of those who have achieved sustained career success is that they traveled off the beaten path and forged their own way forward, one that aligned with their passions. We see this often with tech entrepreneurs—Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and Bill Gates, to name a few. 

But you don’t have to have a passion for writing code to find career success. You just need the knowledge that there is enough room in the world markets (even within our current economy) to make a living doing what you love.

One very famous example of this is the author JK Rowling. Her Harry Potter series has begat two movie franchises, multiple games and websites, and is still within the cultural zeitgeist to this day, over twenty years later. Rowling is one of the best-selling authors of all time, but she never set out with this as her goal. In university, she actually majored in French and Classics, working in fields that had nothing to do with creative writing. When she wrote the first Harry Potter book, she was recently divorced, a single mom, jobless, and felt like a failure. However, she also said this “failure” allowed her to focus on writing. And look at the benefits of her actions. The road wasn’t easy, nor was it expected, but she forged a way to become a successful author and inspire millions of children to read.

We won’t all have wild ideas that change the world, but we can each embrace our passions and find a way to mold our career path around them. The road will have many turns, pitfalls, and switchbacks, but the end result will be more fulfilling than if you had bridled your passions. Which leads us to the fifth career truth:

Career Truth #5: There may not be a traditional career path that aligns with your passions. Don’t let that stop you.

It can be difficult to find your life’s work. We’re here to help. Schedule a free, 15-minute consultation with one of our experienced career coaches today. They can walk you through your career problems, from a simple resume and LinkedIn consultation to a career 180. You can contact us or call us at (800) 680-7768.