I want a Non-traditional Career Path Am I Crazy?
Our image of success is often defined by THE mold – you know, the stories we grew up with that tell us what, when, and how to do things:
- What to study in school and for how long…
- When to get married…
- When to have children and how many…
- What career path to follow…
These molds can feel reassuring at first, especially when facing big decisions. But for a lot more people than you may think (and you might be one of them) these “perfect images” of success turn out to be the opposite of reassuring and are instead suffocating.
We look around and see everyone following the typical path. We are left with our worries, with our feelings of not belonging because we don’t want to live our life that way. The worst part is that we feel alone, too scared to share these thoughts with anyone because we think everyone else is perfectly happy and we would be considered “the weird one.”
Do you know what we mean? Have you felt outside of the mold for a while now?
First, let us tell you something VERY important:
YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE. Throughout our lives and careers, we have met many people who feel this way and it’s important to talk more about it. Your coworker Christina who always smiles when getting her morning coffee might be hiding the exact same feeling.
Second, we’ve got good news for you. In life, there is always more than one way of doing things. And this traditional path is far from being the only one available to you.
So… you want a non-traditional career path? Let’s do it!
Before going any further, notice we are saying traditional and non-traditional versus normal and abnormal. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do things in a way that is less traditional and less familiar. And it certainly doesn’t mean you are not normal!
So in a few words – what is a traditional career path?
A traditional career path is seen as linear. You study to gain specific expertise and skills, and you work in that field for your entire career. Your goal might be to be the manager of the team, or engineer director, or lead designer, and your career path leads you to that goal. You stay loyal to the companies you work with for a certain period of time and keep climbing the ladder. Eventually, you move companies to gain more experience, but you pretty much stay in one field and keep building that one area of expertise throughout your career to achieve your goal.
But your career is yours. It is yours to develop and take control of. You can change jobs and companies, and you can also change functions, sectors, expertise,…
So why is it not crazy to allow your non-traditional career to unfold?
Over the years, we change. We evolve. We grow. We learn from our experience and we become more complex. That is the beauty of being human.
For too long we have seen changes as disruptive events, things to avoid. But what if changes were an important contributor to our growth?
Your career can embrace change and adapt, just like you do!
Life is not linear, so why should our careers be?
If you don’t want to buy into the work-to-retirement model, then don’t. Why would it make more sense to work hard now and delay making a change, than it would be to take breaks along the way to find out what change is really needed?
If you’re being called to take a longer break within your career, why not spend the time intentionally?
The changes that you discover and decide to embrace will define and enrich your career.
Understand what makes you feel alive
We put the stability and growth of the companies we work for before our own. As we change and evolve, so do our needs and desires. Stay tuned, listen in, and choose what makes you feel alive.
Maybe marketing was a passion of yours years ago, but today you don’t feel aligned to it anymore. There is nothing wrong with choosing another field you are more passionate about.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman
Take it from our experience. We are passionate about finance, yes, but we knew there was something more that we needed to include in the way we were doing business. We, too, were in the so-called “perfect” situation – our clients were great, our business was healthy, yet we weren’t fully true to ourselves. Traveling has always been a big part of our lives and we realized we needed to make it a big part of our careers too. We hesitated to make sabbaticals our niche, but when we finally decided to go with what makes us feel alive and merge financial planning and sabbaticals together, we created something that felt like us…and that felt quite amazing!
Take calculated risks
There is no perfect moment to quit your job, to start a new career, to travel the world. This doesn’t mean you have to take crazy risks either. We still have responsibilities and we are often not the only ones impacted by our decisions.
But living a riskless life isn’t that exciting either!
So let’s get ready, have a plan, and calculate your risks. Prepare yourself as much as you can and go for it when you’re 90% ready. Because there are no such things as being 100% prepared and ready for any situation!
That’s how we like to see sabbaticals. We help our clients get as ready as they can be so they can feel good about leaving.
Have fun in your career
Funny enough, we didn’t grow up thinking we could actually enjoy our work. But guess what, yes it is possible! Not every day has to be butterflies and cupcakes but waking up feeling drained just thinking of the workday ahead is not a good life plan!
And that means spicing it up, too. Having a routine is good, changing it up is even better!
That’s what we love about taking extended breaks! It changes the whole dynamic – it gives us motivation and a goal beforehand, it helps us enjoy it all while doing it, and it reenergizes us afterward.
A multi-faceted career is possible
We’ve been conditioned to specialize in one interest for the rest of our lives, but now is the time to open our minds to other opportunities. Yes, you can embrace the different aspects, interests, and facets of your life and translate them into your career path.
They even have a name for it now: “slasher”. Emilie Wapnick explains it as “those of us with many interests, many jobs over a lifetime, and many interlocking potentials.”
So to answer your question… is it crazy to follow a non-traditional career path? We say no! If you have the desire for something new, if you have the urge to change things up, first know that you are not alone, that you are not crazy, and that we need more people like you to bring fresh ideas and keep the world progressing too!
We are here to support you! We’ve made non-traditional career paths and sabbatical breaks our specialty! As financial experts, we help you save smartly and use your resources to support your dreams.
If you are interested in learning more, contact us today.
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