Might sound odd, but I sometimes need reminding that, in the grand old scheme of things, I’m still relatively young. Although career decisions may feel enormously impactful (and therefore laced with a high degree of risk) now, it will only get riskier as we get older, gain more ties and responsibilities and have to make decisions that affect others as well as ourselves. At 25, with no dependents and no mortgage, what exactly have I got to lose?
During my latest mentor session, Matt Hart outlined how he has hopped between various different roles during his career, sometimes spending no longer than a year at each. Now this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it sure did give him a good education in what works well in business.
And if you’re sitting there thinking (as I did), ‘well, what will potential employers say when looking at such a flighty CV?’ just think to yourself: is that the kind of employer I want to work for? Do you want to work for someone who reads the black and white, or someone who asks why? Provided you know why you made those choices – for reasons of experience or otherwise – this should not hold you back.
My previous session with Philip Mehl actually touched on this in another guise: experiment not only in what you do but who you are. Change your behaviours. Learn what works best in teams and for you. Is it arrogance? Malleability? Sycophancy? Dogmatism? Only by trying out all these tacks will you really learn, and only when you’re young can you get away with it.
And then at our group Lunch & Learn last week, Birds Eye Iglo’s Martin Glenn went to the extent of saying ‘sometimes, you need to go into work and make decisions, preparing to be fired.’ And no, he wasn’t advocating a cavalier work ethic or total disregard for the rules of the game, but rather a steadfast courage of conviction in your own choices – even if (or especially when) they push the boundaries of everything that has gone before.
In short, get around. Get out there. Make changes. Test the water. Who knows what you might discover about yourself?