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Some Careers Don’t Go As Planned

May 11th, 2021

In 2019 I wrote this post:

Some Poems Don’t Rhyme

If you are a skimmer (like me) you will miss the point of the post. But I think it’s one of the more important messages I can share.

My post starts out talking about poetry, and how poetry is just different. Some poems rhyme, some don’t.

Some careers go as planned and some don’t. I think one of the most important ideas is that if your career hasn’t gone as planned, you are not a failure. I think it’s easy to feel like a failure, comparing where you are at with where you thought you would be. But every different job, career, role, salary, etc. is just a stepping stone. As long as you are still stepping, there is still more of your career future to write. In my post I wrote:

I had planned my career decades ago. It was going to be linear, structured, predictable, safe, and go according to plan.

Now that I’m 45 I look back and my career has been none of that. It has been squiggly, random, back-tracked a few times, holding my breath many times, and just not really sure of anything.

But somehow, someway, it all worked out.

I’m a planner. I respect planners. But I’m here to tell you that what you should plan for is change. Plan for flexibility. Plan for Plan B and Plan C and Plan Z. Plan to trust others, and be let down. Plan to go all-in and have it all fall apart. Plan to be out of work for months, maybe years. Plan to adapt.

Your career plan will look a lot more like a Haiku than a roses-are-red.  If what you are looking at is unconventional, untraditional, then how would you plan and prepare for that?

Learn. Learn new stuff. Excel at what you do.

Embrace change. Love change. Be excellent at change.

Find opportunities. Sniff them out and act on them.

Be a student of careers and income streams.

Be financially savvy, and don’t limit your options because you overspend and are over-leveraged.

Some poems don’t rhyme, and it’s okay. They can still be beautiful.

Some careers don’t go as planned, and it’s okay. You can still enjoy the ride, and have an awesome ending.

Comparing to others can be destructive. Comparing to what your 12 year old self thought you were going to be when you grow up can be destructive. I invite you to enjoy your journey, and keep working on your journey. And in the end you might wind up with something that wasn’t linear, or didn’t rhyme, but it will have been your journey.

Find joy, happiness and satisfaction along the way or you might be disappointed when you get to your destination.

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