Posts Tagged ‘Career Corner’

Why You Don’t Marry or Paint Yourself into a Career Corner Before the Age of 25

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

We’ve all heard it before: marriage before 25 is rarely a good idea, and it’s usually our parents who first enlighten us to that bit of wisdom. You don’t know who you are and you don’t know who’ll be ten years from now. That same process goes into limiting yourself in terms of your career, says career coach and founder A. Harrison Barnes (and our parents, too).

One woman revealed in a recent interview that she was the one who everyone thought would be married right out of high school, complete with the mini van, picket fence and 2.5 kids while everyone also assumed her younger sister would be the one who discovered her independence, traveled and with a career to die for. Turns out, everyone was completely wrong. The older sister is the one who’s preparing for a trip to Spain for a series of lectures while the younger sister is busy planning cheerleading camp for her three teenage daughters and juggling dinner and shopping around her appointment with the washing machine repairman. Sound familiar? Turns out, it’s not all that uncommon. This, of course, reiterates what Barnes says: assume nothing.

“Each of our life stages serve definitive purposes”, says the founder. Once we’ve gained our education and realize many doors exist, each one ready to walk through, we learn that our dreams of becoming an engineer one day might now mean our interests are geared towards a career in meteorology instead. This is one reason it’s important to keep an open mind when we’re considering our futures in terms of what it is we will ultimately make our living at. In fact, one of the best ways to see, firsthand, how things can change on a dime is to look at some of your favorite celebrities. There are few, if any at all, that didn’t start out as a teacher or a cosmetologist or even dreams of becoming an airline pilot (think John Travolta). So, you see, while chasing your dreams are important, says A. Harrison Barnes, sometimes the beauty is following an unexpected path. Often, that’s when you find true satisfaction not only in your choice of jobs, but your life as a whole.

Fortunately, changing careers usually doesn’t require a major shift, with the exception of additional educational requirements. Still, and even if the thought of going back for another semester or two is anything but pleasant, keep in mind that those few months can equate to a lifetime of new opportunities and better satisfaction in your decisions.

Finally, A. Harrison Barnes says even if you’re certain by the time you reach thirty that your choices were solid, don’t assume by the time you reach forty that you’re cemented into place. It’s not uncommon at all for any of us to hit that magical number and decide to really shake things up – including our career choices. That said, it’s up to you to turn the corner should you face the realization that you want something different. Besides, changing careers is far less traumatic than facing a divorce with someone you thought you knew when you were 23, only to realize at 33 you not only know him or her, but you didn’t even know yourself at that age.