It appears that a linear process promises to be easier.  We’ve been exposed to the idea that life’s process consists of going to school to get a job, to get a house, to work for a long time (hopefully get promoted), to retire, then to fade away.  This linear process is then further applied to each of the ideas I just mentioned, especially the idea of “get a job.” We often don’t think of getting a job, but getting THE job. The one job/industry that you’ll stay in for decades until you get a cheaply decorated retirement cake. Some degrees/industries have a linear career trajectory, such as medicine, engineering and a few others…and that still doesn’t guarantee that you’ll stay in that industry. For instance, the famous TV therapist Iyanla Fix My Life has a law degree. On a more local level, Three Spirits Brewery in Charlotte was started by an Emergency Medical Physician — no lie, look it up. However, your current interests will open doors for new interests that open doors for newer interests, so on and so forth. I’ll go as far as to argue that one who expects a linear career path in an ever-changing job market (let alone life) is insane. More realistically, that person may not be aware of the idea of transferable skills which allows them the ability to transcend industries, job roles, etc. A non-linear career path can catapult one into ideal possibilities beyond their awareness as long as they’re willing to extract valuable skills from their experiences.

Photo by Pxhere

Transferable skills don’t just serve you after you’ve collected career developed skills, but before you even enter the industry you’re interested in.  It’s about flipping a narrative about flipping burgers into your favor. Experiences working in retail, coffee shops, volunteering, etc. can produce skills your future employers will value, and your major doesn’t limit your career path as much as you think either. Make sure to enjoy your major while seeking professional development opportunities.

Key Ideas:

  1. Create your own professional narratives: Flip that narrative in your favor. You’ve gained something from your past experiences that employers are looking for. Don’t minimize your experiences, find the gold in it. For example, working in retail requires attention to detail, customer service support, demonstrated product knowledge, assessed customer needs, etc.
  2. Build a Smart Supportive Network: Go to the University Career Center. They can guide you to resources for your disposal that you may not even be aware about, allowing your process to be more efficient.
  3. Know Yourself: When you know yourself, you realize that you’re more than your major, understanding that your major is just an aspect of you. Being introspective may not come as natural to some people, but that’s why personality tests exist. Jobzology is a great assessment that costs money, but the University has already covered that cost for students. Take the test while it’s free as it provides insights to your personality, values and industry-related cultures that may be a great match for you. Once again, it’s free.