Are We On the Road to Success?

by Emily Jasper on September 21, 2009

Things aren’t exactly coming up roses right now. That’s a given. People don’t have jobs, and of those who do, many are feeling stuck. The excitement that comes with chaos has become stale.

In speaking to a friend, he told me of how his wife is looking to find a job, any job, even if she has no experience in that industry. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that from someone. Ask any college graduate still looking and he might say the same thing. At this point, people want a foot in the door (with a paycheck). You can rationalize how that step will get you to where you really want to go.

But will it? Does settling for anything actually put you on your road to success?

I honestly don’t know. See, there is the flip side of holding out until that dream opportunity comes along. If you are financially stable, be it a job, unemployment, spouse, or parents, you might have the luxury of waiting for the influx of hiring after the recession. You can avoid starting at the bottom over and over again until the ideal opportunity arises.

Then again, my generation is known for not wanting to start at the bottom.

I’ve written before about volunteering to keep you going, gathering those experiences needed to make you successful for the future. What goes with that is breaking out a map as you hit the employment road. Not to overuse the analogy, but you can’t rely on a GPS anymore. Traditional career paths are unreliable right now. Everything is unreliable.

Imagine packing up to drive across country and never once looking at a map. Plug in the GPS, head west, and see what happens. It’s exciting and scary. And for many, that’s fine. On the other hand, the directions may need updating. What if you had attempted to go through Minneapolis after the collapse of the 35W bridge…before the new bridge had been built. Sure, you’d find a new way around, but that’s one of the many things that could be unexpected when you don’t plan.

Instead, break out the map, get a navigator, research ahead of time. What are other people doing in your field to move into certain roles? What typical experiences are you seeing on the job boards? What are your mentors saying?

Then hit the road.

The views expressed in my blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

Photo from clipart.