The days of 30-year careers are long gone. Americans change jobs an average of 12 times over their working lives. Many not only have multiple jobs, but multiple careers, moving from teacher to executive, lawyer to author, or physician to administrator, for example.
Back in the day, changing careers might have been seen as a lack of commitment or lack of direction. However, there are many benefits to having multiple careers.
Tasks and Steps Are the Same in All Careers
A recent Harvard Business Review article, notes that many of the experiences in one career can provide a solid foundation for another, even in a seemingly very disparate area. The author became a record producer after having worked in an investment bank and being a naval officer. Yet the business strategy tasks were similar. In each, he had to develop a vision of what he wanted to accomplish, hire the right people, create a realistic timeline, and have funds available.
Ultimately, every career is about creating a product. That is common to all careers, and the steps are surprisingly similar. If you’ve been successful developing one product, you have invaluable expertise in developing another one in a different field.
Accessing Different Groups
Another business benefit to multiple careers is the access it gives career-changers to different experiences, people, and viewpoints. Investment bankers think differently than creative musicians. People in international development think differently than technology innovators.
The exposure to various viewpoints and cohorts can create synergies that one wouldn’t think of without that exposure. In addition, it mitigates against the perils of herd-like thinking in an industry.
Career changing can expand job options.
In an uncertain economy and fast-changing times, having more than one career can also simply expand your options for employment. Are you a lawyer who once translated from one language to the other? Then your options for translating legal articles are quite good. You can combine skills and capabilities to create a new position or market hybrids of your careers.
In many areas of the world, skills that are not highly remunerated in the U.S. are much more valued. Teaching, writing, and translating are all valued highly in China and India, for example. Multiple careers in any of these fields will build synergies with each other.
A final benefit is engagement. Many people have multiple strong interests. They may be businesspeople, but pursue photography in the evenings and on weekends. One is for a salary; one is an avocation.
Multiple careers can change the equation. Transitioning into photography as a business utilizes the corporate world skills one has but puts the avocational project in the driver’s seat. The more passionate one is about a project, the more likely one is to be engaged.
Multiple careers are becoming increasingly common. There are solid business benefits to changing careers, including utilizing skills, accessing multiple groups of people, increasing employment opportunities going forward, access the global world, and promoting engagement via pursuing a passion project.