It’s late afternoon turning into early evening and a hand goes up from a student in the group I have just finished addressing as part of my pro-bono work.
“How do I structure my career to have options?”
I believe there are three stages to a career.
A mentor explained to me, my twenties are for education, my thirties are for experiences, and my forties are for harvesting those experiences. Harvesting occurs when you can move between industries or establish a small business based on your expertise.
What enables this?
When I consider my mentor's guidance alongside my observations of others, there are common threads.
UNDER- AND POST- GRADUATE STUDY
The latter helps get you on shortlists for roles. Some choose not to study, but if you want to increase your probability of being shortlisted for great positions, it needs to be considered.
LARGE CORPORATE EXPERIENCES
The development courses available at these organisations are first-rate, and you can work across various areas within them. These courses build your skills for particular roles, and you get to put theory into practice simultaneously.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES OR CONSULTING EXPERIENCE
You are providing a service and managing clients. This builds your ability to manage a key deliverable, alongside growing your emotional intelligence and your understanding of others.
If you’ve had experience in both corporate and professional/consulting environments, aim to traverse industries. You will find the level where you are the most effective within an organisation. It could be in a key individual contributor role or leading teams.
These round off everything. Living and working in a foreign country accelerates your development and broadens your perspective of how you look at challenges and opportunities. I have found these people to be wise.
As someone who has experience in appointing 100s of people to roles, you are unstoppable if you have the above experiences combined with the ability to speak and write.
Finally, if you aspire to launch a small specialist business, share your experiences before you start so your broader network knows what you are specifically interested in beyond your job title.
Feel free to share this with someone who might enjoy these thoughts.