The Strings on your Bow: having more than one career option

The working world has changed so much in the last ten years. Clinging to one career at the expense of all others is not what it used to be. Firstly, millennials have changed the concept of one job for life, which is not surprising. Technology has refocused the way we work to such a degree that people are no sooner qualified than they discover their work has morphed into another discipline entirely; even the companies they hoped to work for, have altered beyond recognition.

So sticking to one ambition and foregoing all others is no longer a good idea. While you might make several job changes, you might not actually be changing your career or the job that you were trained to do. Nevertheless, problems that may strike in later years have to be acknowledged and catered for in earlier years, otherwise you may find your job has disappeared entirely. Therefore, sooner rather than later, you should be primed to step from one career to another, or at least on your way to learning new skills that will allow you to do so.

Generally, you should prepare yourself to switch careers at least once in your working life. And how you do that is quite complex, because it requires a more open mindset to a constantly evolving world. There are a number of factors you should consider no matter where you are in your career currently.


New working world career changes to get your head around

  • Working in one company or one job for the rest of your life is no longer important to your ability to access economic longevity.
  • There is no need to stay within your company for fear of losing your pension coverage. Today you can organise a transfer of your pension, and/or set up your own retirement plan that will roll with you wherever you go.
  • Today, careerists are more open to ensuring they are able to transfer skills from one profession to another where they are able to re-adjust or revise prior learning and experience to find application in another sphere.
  • Career change is no longer frowned upon, but is seen as a beneficial process. Being aware of options and opportunities is key. Comprehending the constantly changing landscape in the world of work, puts you in a good position to accept new challenges, helps you to become flexible to change and adaptable to new offers.
  • You can develop new interests and change lanes – all of which gives you broad experience and greater capability. Putting together a portfolio of possible careers that incorporates a variety of learning and skills may suit you far better than ploughing through the same steady route your parents envisioned for you.


How do you prepare for switching lanes?

You may want to wait until you feel you have gone as far as you can in your current situation, and there’s no further opportunity for you to develop your career. Or you may have become uncomfortable with long hours and a static salary. Alternatively, you may be very keen to reach a goal, and then move on to something more challenging where you will learn more and grow your value.

The key to moving your career into similar streams or even entirely different work, is to analyse the way you feel about your work. Sometimes new opportunities may come from entirely unexpected quarters, and so you should be mentally primed. Missing an opportunity is something many people regret because they weren’t ‘in the zone’ so to speak.

Know what you want ahead of time. Maybe go looking for something different – but more importantly, learn as much as you can about the type of work you would enjoy doing as an alternative to your current career. Do as many courses about as many subjects as may interest you, and which should present possibilities of different but lucrative employment.

Plan alternative careers by studying further, and across disciplines. Think about what you may be looking for: financial security; more challenge; something that will drive your sense of innovation and creativity? Pursue the qualifications that will make sense in the future, use them as a bulwark against changing economic landscapes, and keep them as a support system for any adversity that may lie ahead.

The joy of adding many strings to your bow, means you can make choices that suit you. Not only that, but you don’t have to stop with two career options, you can add as many as you like to your portfolio of skills.

Today, obtaining new qualifications is facilitated by online learning. If you need to upskill in order to make a significant career change, you can’t do much better than begin an online course. Online learning offers flexibility and the chance to see if you like a new field without sacrificing your current job or spending too much money. Alternatively, attend workshops and lectures, or engage with people who are already established in your fields of interest.

The benefits of playing those extra strings

 Having more strings to your bow means you can build a more secure foundation to your career ladder. The more you learn, the more you understand people, build relationships with people of diverse backgrounds, and grasp leadership skills. Any learning or experience is a building block for something else, and it may be helpful in moving you towards another career goal.

With more strings to your bow, you’ll open more doors. It’s a tough job market and the competition is huge. Having other options up your sleeve is more than helpful. Showing that you’re willing to learn and change can get you a new job, or extend the variety of jobs you are able to apply for.

With more than one string to your bow, you can mix up your careers. Use the basics of one career to complement another. You can have a day job, and start a side hustle. Whatever you chose, having more options at your fingertips means you can truly follow your dreams and find what makes you happy.

Many strings makes you more valuable internationally. Having a multitude of skills in different fields makes you more flexible when searching for a job globally. Different skill sets are valued differently in other countries. And a point to remember – most career paths are not linear. Each individual journey is different. Embrace all your learning, all your ambitions, mix and match, and bring together a unique portfolio. Be part of an exciting, evolving world.








Sep 15, 2021 | Vuk’uzenzele

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