I sat beside a really great guy on my flight back to Toronto from Santiago, Chile. Raymond is law student who was returning from a one-week school exchange.
We had brief conversations throughout the first 11 hours of our 12 hour flight–how was your meal, how was the movie, did you get any sleep? Pleasant, but not life altering.
For the last hour we had a great conversation about his career options after law school. It wasn’t clear what his career path should be or the criteria how should use to make this decision.
These are life altering decisions. I have found that most people don’t have the self awareness or information required to make these decisions after school.
I shared with Raymond the following observations and insights I had gained when I held a Global HR role at Cadbury:
- Many people don’t know what they want to do professionally until they are in their forties (some never do)
- Career paths are rarely linear
- People’s stories about their careers sound more planful than they were
- Most people fall into career opportunities versus plan for them
- Those who take these opportunities are the most successful and happy
- Those who help others to be successful have the most career opportunities
- Most people motivated by status don’t get enough of it to be satisfied—the same goes for money
- Some choose professions they are good at that they are not passionate about or enjoy
- Many people build careers that are different from their education major or first job
- People with the most diverse careers tend to have the broadest perspectives
- A career or role choice that didn’t work out can provide the best lessons and compelling story that demonstrates self awareness and capability
- Many people find meaning in their work—it’s a good criterion for career and role selection
- It’s never too late to change your career (but most people don’t think so)
I hope my views are helpful for Raymond. I gave him a copy of Change with Confidence as a parting gift. It felt like the right thing to do for someone I know will figure out the best path for him.