What’s your next career?

A simple question that shocks people.

In my twenties I hard worked really hard to get into my chosen career. I looked around the organisations I worked in and I noticed something. All the grey haired people were being pushed out. A few successful ones got to stay but most were gone with their potential ahead of them. I realised I needed a second career for later.

I have only a little grey hair left today and I’m still not as old as the people I saw leaving. My life today is more like a sixth career but it had its foundations in asking myself the question ‘what’s your next career?’ I still have more options to go.

Too many people have no answer or haven’t even considered the question. They are just lucky the question has not yet been forced on them.

We may not be able to predict the average number of careers easily but it is more than one. When we add robots, automation and new career options, there is a good chance that we need to be at least considering future options. There’s an opportunity cost to every decision to stay put.

Understand your options. Grow your skills and capabilities. Build networks for careers beyond your first one. Experiment with different things to discover your purpose and to gain experience for next steps. You will find these things make it more likely you get to stay in your current career too.

This career won’t be your last so plan an answer to the question. Then when you have that plan start bringing it to life. If nothing else, prepare yourself that you might need to stop defining yourself by your current role.

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