Over the last few weeks I have been asking candidates how they got into their professions. And more than two thirds started their answer with “well, it’s a funny story”.
Then they proceed to talk about the seemingly unrelated series of events that took place and culminated in them landing in their current role.
This gives me great cause for optimism. I read a lot about workplace transformation and AI and jobs disappearing. And I worry. I worry about how people will be able to keep pace with the shifts in the workplace.
But if so many people fall into jobs that they never could have imagined when they were in school then I guess there is a certain amount of hope that they will continue to follow new paths.
I have read about journalists who are working in digital marketing, an English grad who is working in software development and a music student who ended up being a great project manager.
Many of their initial opportunities came from networking. Often it’s a former colleague or a former manager who reached out or made a key suggestion.
Keep your network warm. Make sure they know who you are and what you care about. (Not just your title and company).
Be open to listening to ideas and evaluating them as you go. If you are always “way too busy” to consider a new opportunity, they will cease to come your way.
Read a lot. Read about your industry, the tools you use, the news of the day and a bit about the economy. Keep your world broader than your desk.
Basically, if you keep your eyes open for ways to explore and learn about the future, you will be ready when it arrives.