“Keep re-inventing yourself through self-education, because industries change quickly.”1

reinvent-super

That’s the essence of an article mentioned in the latest theladders.com newsletter, and I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes that means taking additional training/education that will make you self-sufficient in certain areas. If you are waiting for others to educate you when you can quickly & easily take the lead, the road ahead is long and slow.

What would a previous Harvard Business School’s class advise you after looking back at their careers?

“Keep re-inventing yourself through self-education, because industries change quickly.”

“Choosing the right career path was no trivial matter for Harvard Business School’s Class of 1963. They were members of one of the last generations that considered a lifelong career with a company as nothing out of the ordinary.

That’s a stark contrast to the results of a 35-year study conducted by Chuck Pierret, an economist with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. His report, released in 2010, found that the average American entering the workforce in 1979 held nearly 11 different jobs by the time she was 42 years old.”2

Today’s generation doesn’t want 40 years with a company, a retirement party and a gold watch.

So how do you keep re-inventing yourself?  Hopefully you’ve started by selecting a career that interests you. If it no longer does or the industry is changing to the point that your job is becoming irrelevant, don’t be afraid to change careers. Do you know what age Ray Kroc was when he joined McDonalds? 53! The market changes rapidly. Yesterday’s industries or jobs can be history in a “flash”. Rapid changes can make particular jobs go extinct before your eyes. But really, it doesn’t happen overnight. It just looks like it does. So set your “career machine” in motion early, look at it often, re-evaluate it constantly/realistically and always be ready with an action plan. Work as diligently for yourself as you do for your company.

Tips:

  • Keep up with the trends that are happening in your industry, not just your job. You don’t wake up one morning and find yourself already in the trench.
  • Keep your contacts and relationships fresh
  • If you are not actively on the market still be prepared to explore select job opportunities when they avail themselves.
  • Keep up on what’s happening in the industry and business in general. There may be emerging opportunities that you hadn’t thought about that may offer a more interesting challenge, opportunity and a brighter future, i.e. whoever would have thought of a career in “social media” 10 years ago?
  • Take the opportunity to self educate on new opportunities and how to get them.
  • Have an up to date resume available at all times that can easily be tweaked / customized to the opportunity you are interested in
  • Learn to interview in “today’s” market. It’s not the same as “yesterdays”. Tip: If you think the interview is about you, it’s not.
1,2 “If I Knew Then”, Harvard Business School’s Class of 1963, http://hbs1963.com/wisdom/careers/