Career Advice

Your Career is not a Race

Rachael Bates Posted by Rachael
min read
Braden Collum 9 Hi8 Ujm Sd Za Unsplash

There is a bit of an old-fashioned view that your career development should be linear.

You take a job, get some experience and then step up for either more money or more responsibility. It’s a race to the finish line and retirement. Your career is more like the journey of hiking the Camino Trail as opposed to racing to the finish line in the London Marathon.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not poo-pooing ambition! Ambition is great, drive is amazing. You need these things, combined with skill and a little bit of “right place, right time” to get anywhere. Sitting on your couch in front of Netflix does not help you reach the peak of your ambition– unless your life’s goal is to binge all 500 seasons of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in one weekend. In which case, live your best life!

What I am saying is, don’t be afraid to go sideways… or hell, even take a step backward. Think about why you are looking and what you want to be doing long term. As recruiters, we often see people getting hung up on a job title or the salary. That can be a very short-sighted way to look at things. Long term, what is going to hold you in good stead is what you can offer a business in terms of expertise and “value add” – things that come with time and experience.

So, while a role might not have the right title or the leap in salary you were wanting, what does it give you exposure to? Will you have the opportunity to lead a team? Learn from well respected leaders and mentors? Be part of the implementation team on an exciting project or IPO? Move interstate or overseas? Move into an industry you are passionate about?  

It’s important to look for the opportunity and possibilities in a potential role and remember that moving for a similar role or same money isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Longer term, it may help you gain more skills, become more adaptable and most importantly… make you more attractive to future employers.