Hey guys! Welcome back. If you are anything like me you probably grew up thinking your life was going to go in a very specific way. You would graduate high school, go to college, and then get a job and it would just flow from there. I think that was the expectation anyway. We grow up with our parents and teachers telling us that there is a certain path that happens and no one prepares you for what happens when it doesn’t go that way. And when it doesn’t go that way we sometimes feel like we are behind or that we’ve done something wrong. But over the past couple of years I have learned that our career paths, and our life paths but that’s a story for another day, aren’t always this perfect linear path. Sometimes we have a very non-linear career path where things change all the time.
So today I wanted to talk about how to embrace that non-linear career path and why it’s okay to be on one. Mine is for sure very non-linear, but that doesn’t make it any less meaningful or important. It just means that I am growing and learning to take chances and risks that I probably wouldn’t if I had forced myself down that straight shot career path. My non-linear career path wasn’t exactly linear, but it’s one I’m very proud of nonetheless because I have still worked very hard to get where I am and I am continuing to take on new challenges and opportunities in order to get where I want to be in the future. But there was a time when I struggled because I thought I was doing life wrong. I didn’t have a career and I didn’t really know what I wanted and I thought I was behind because of that. But I learned not long after that that our lives are unique and what someone else is doing isn’t necessarily what we are supposed to be doing.
The world changes everyday. We change everyday. What we wanted five years ago may not be what we want anymore and that’s okay. I am here to tell you that it’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to do the scary thing because it will be worth it in the end. Whether you learn that that thing wasn’t for you or you learn that it was, your life will change. You will get the answers you seek and you will ultimately find on the other side a better understanding of who you are and what you want. So if you are like me and are on a non-linear career path, or if you want to be on a non-linear career path, I have some tips that will hopefully help.
Let got of the guilt.
When I first started truly embracing my career path, even before grad school, I felt an immense amount of guilt. I felt guilty for feeling like I had let myself down and that I hadn’t stayed true to who I was. But the truth is that by taking the chances I wanted to take and allowing myself to pursue the things I felt called to, I was staying true to myself. I was living every moment in a way that I can look back on and know that I did the right thing. I followed my heart and my gut even when I was terrified because I had faith that I would take something away from it. Not everything I have pursued has worked out for me, but I have learned from each one of them. Very rarely does life ever go as planned, so if you are struggling with feeling guilty for changing your mind or pursuing something new, let go of that guilt. Learn to trust yourself and your heart. That gut feeling is there because you know it’s right. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work out because you owe to yourself to try. There’s nothing wrong with the traditional career path if it works for you, but if you have a strong feeling that it’s not going to work out, there’s also nothing wrong with taking it a different direction.
Don’t get stuck on one thing.
When it comes to embracing this non-linear career path, one of the most challenging things to do is stay open to all options. When we get stuck on one job or idea we want to pursue we tend to close ourselves off to other really incredible opportunities. So it’s always really important to stay open and not zero in on just one thing. One of the biggest mistakes a person can make on any career path is overlook opportunities because they are too invested in just one thing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to have a idea of what you want to do and where you are going, but don’t fixate on that one thing so much that you can’t see anything else. Be open to new opportunities and trying new things. Be open-minded while you are pursuing whatever it is you want to do and life might just pleasantly surprise you.
Leave nothing out.
When writing your resume, networking with others, and looking for careers you might be interested in, leave nothing out. Talk about your passions. Talk about things you do in your personal life. Talk about jobs you have had regardless of how long you were there or how meaningless it may seem. You are so much more than the “regular” jobs you have had or what your college degree is. And if you open up all the things you do, your creative projects, and all of your interests, you might just find a career that you are not only really good at, but also that you genuinely love. Stay true to yourself and all the things you love and the right career path will find you. Just make sure you remain open to it when it comes.
Your non-linear career path is not going to look link anyone else’s and that’s okay. That’s kind of the point. There will be people who don’t understand it and that’s okay too. When it comes to embracing this career path and going on this journey, it can be scary because you don’t have anyone who is really doing things that look like what you are doing. But hopefully these tips help give you a general idea of what your next steps should be and how you can fully embrace the process. Thank you so much for stopping by! I really hope you enjoyed this. Please like it if you did. Let us know in the comments if you have any tips for embracing the non-linear career path. Don’t forget to follow before you leave if you have not already and I hope to see you next time!