When you think about your future career, what comes to mind? If you’re like many people, you might envision a steady stream of jobs in one industry, each one bringing you to the next level of success. Then, you hit retirement age and you most likely enjoy your golden years with your grandchildren.
Here’s the thing: that type of career, for the most part, doesn’t exist anymore.
In the Fortune article, “Sallie Krawcheck: This Is The Future of Work,” Krawcheck, an investment banker turned serial entrepreneur, draws upon her own business experiences to explain how careers will be crafted in the future.
If you’re looking to invest in your future, here are five steps to prepare for your future career.
1. Know the keys to success.
In the past, success came from sticking it out at one company for 30+ years until you retired. Not so anymore. Ditch the rigid way of thinking and adopt a more flexible-minded mentality, since future employers favor curiosity, genuine interest, and the ability to understand others’ perspectives. Being able to go with the flow will help you to better navigate the ever-changing world of business.
2. Embrace mistakes.
Ideally, your career will look like a string of carefully crafted job experiences, with each previous one providing a stepping stone to a better (and better paying) position. But real life doesn’t work that way, and there will be times that you make mistakes, either in picking a job, or even trying on a career that you thought that you would love—but don’t. Instead of beating yourself up about it, learn to embrace your mistakes and learn that in hindsight, mistakes are never truly mistakes after all.
3. Ignore the naysayers.
When you announce that you’re looking for a new job (or even planning on finding a new career), there are going to be those who cheer you on and are thrilled when you succeed. Unfortunately, these people are few and far between. You may find that most people are Negative Nancy’s and will try to squash your dreams. But if you’ve been dreaming about being a teacher all your life, you should without a doubt pursue your passion. The truth is that people sometimes feel threatened when someone else tries to go after their goals, so pay them no mind as you forge ahead in realizing your flexible work dreams!
4. Take your time.
The entirety of your career is based upon years and years of experience in various jobs and positions held. So there’s really no reason to rush into a job simply to have a job. If you want to have a career to be proud of, it’s important to take your time to really figure out what you’d like to do, particularly if you’ve held ho-hum jobs up until this point. Ask yourself what you’d like to do if money were no object, then look for ways to find work in that field or even incorporate various aspects of your passion into a profitable job—and a satisfying career.
5. Be prepared.
In today’s job market, it can sometimes feel like feast or famine—and that’s because sometimes it actually is. That’s why you need to make sure that you are prepared to ride out the lean times, both financially and emotionally. And even when you are employed, you should always be ready in case you lose your gig or you don’t get that raise you were hoping for (and counting on). So sock some money off to the side to get you through your job search, and be prepared to negotiate salary when you do get a job offer in hand. Your future (financial) self will thank you.
It’s always a good idea to be strategic in your job search, and that’s especially true when you’re planning your career. By making smart moves now, you’ll invest in yourself (and your career) for years to come!