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What’s Your Next but One Career?

I guess you just saw that Hulk Hogan was awarded $115 million for having his sex videos publicly uploaded by Gawker? My thought on this is I wonder whether this will form the basis for a new career. Celebrity litigant? Sexpert? Another reality show?

The Hulk has had a few careers so far, starting with his wrestling career. Naturally dropped out of school.  Then animal rights activist, athlete, reality television star. So it would be totally in character to have another.

Three million years ago the rule was you had one job, in one career in one lifetime. Nowadays the talk is about having 20 jobs in your career. I think that’s incredibly old-hat. More likely you will have 10-20 careers in your lifetime. I have had a few myself…

Whole industries and professions are going obsolete rapidly and without warning. Taxi drivers? Obsoleted by Uber and self-driving cars. Factory worker? The slag heap of history. Professor? How about those MOOCs with a million students in each class. So they’re history too.

The lesson is, prepare for your next career. And don’t assume that one will stick around either. Prepare for the one after that. And the one after.

That’s not to say that you can’t and shouldn’t fight back about jobs making you redundant. My colleague Dan Rust has written a book (“Workplace Poker: Are you Playing the Game or Just Getting Played”) showing you how to do that. Plenty of people have made a career just from staying on one job. But that’s getting increasingly uncommon.

If you want to prepare for multiple careers then read the book by Harvard Professor Todd Rose and his “The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World that Values Sameness.” In it he points out the deep flaws in higher education and the fetish with meeting social averages.

But his particular contribution is to show that none of us is average. We all have a hidden piece of je ne sais quoi. As he puts is “We all walk the road less traveled”. There’s no one right pathway. There’s different pathways for everyone. There’s no career ladders - just a web of development which looks different for everyone.

My take: it’s all about having a personal grail for your life. What’s a grail? Wikipedia defines it as “a thing that is being earnestly pursued or sought after? The idea underlying multiple careers is to get to your personal grail.

That path of web development will lead you to your own personal grail. Everyone should have a personal grail. If you don’t have one, you’re really missing out on giving ultimate meaning to your life.

When I coach people I want to know their age. That’s because I want to know how much working time they have left to achieve their personal grail. For me your whole life is your working time.

That means if you’re 35, you have another 50 years ahead of you to get to the personal grail. I tell my coachees that that’s a long time to be bored and not have any fun. So it’s important for people to think out what they’re gonna do with the rest of their life.

Sometimes mentors and coaches will tell their charges that they should make a plan for 5 years. For me it’s pointless to think out how to fill up the next 5 years. That 5 years will go by fast enough and then what do you do? Maybe that’s something that will be good for some people. I don’t think it’s the right thing for most.

You will likely only get to your personal grail in future through going through several careers. How do you choose them? I think the starting point is best summed up by Stephen Covey (of “The 7 Habits…” fame) “Start with the end I mind”.

Figure that one out and then it’s comparatively easy to formulate a plan. Not precise mind, just a general idea. But one that will tell you the sorts of things you should be doing next, the jobs you should move to, the learning you should achieve, the experiences you should have, all to get where you want to get to, your personal grail.

But what is the end? How do you figure it out? What are your good at? What you love? Something else? That’s really the $64 question.

If you’re going to have multiple careers you want to have a common thread, even if no-one else has a clue what it is. It’s got to be something you love doing, are good at, and has another something indefinable that grabs you. Maybe helping mankind? Animal welfare like the Hulk? Freedom of expression? There’s got to be something uplifting, at least for you. It’s the personal grail.

Where do you get that information on your likely personal grail from? Your brain probably knows it but usually you don’t. The good news is that there’s a way to figure it out. The bad news is not every coach understands the process. But you need to understand that it’s probably a very important thing for you so that you really achieve the full meaning for your life

Commonly we think that the aim of a career is to get to the top and/or do well in it.

I think we have to change this to talking about the aim of our life. How do you achieve your personal grail? How you can leverage several careers to achieve that magical end-point?

That’s what we need to think about when we talk of our future jobs and careers.

I wonder if the Hulk is doing that. I suspect so.









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