How to Change Your Career: Why It’s a Good Idea to Try Different Things Professionally
There’s a common idea out there that the path to success in any field is always to become as specialized as possible.
To perpetually acquire additional experience with regards to one or two narrow areas of focus.
To that end, many people are incredibly nervous about the idea of ever retraining or switching careers, as they feel as though all their past work experience has essentially been “wasted.”
Though, there’s plenty of reason to think that it’s a good idea to try different things professionally.
In his book, “Range,” David Epstein looks at many examples of cases where success has been driven by the fact that people have had a variety of skills and experiences to draw from, as opposed to being specialists.
So, maybe you’re working on reprographics today, or maybe you are handling marketing for a large company.
In any case, here’s why you shouldn’t be afraid of doing different things and expanding your “range.
Because life is more interesting that way
The old saying that “variety is the spice of life” seems to hold.
The majority of people crave some degree of variety and novelty in their lives to feel as though they are thriving.
Life is just more interesting when you are trying out different things on a fairly regular basis, and are expanding your skill sets and understandings of different domains.
After all, the best stories and anecdotes typically come from a broad range of overall experiences.
Because a greater degree of “range” may help you to succeed more in life
In addition to David Epstein’s book, the idea of “range” leading to success has been argued by the Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams.
Significantly, Adam’s autobiography is titled “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.”
The basic idea of the book, as you could guess, is that trying many different things, and acquiring many different insights and experiences, leads to the creation of “skill stacks.”
This can be leveraged to enhance the chance of success in any given venture significantly.
Focus all your professional efforts on a very particular role in a specific sector.
It might be the case that a greater degree of “range” leads to significantly greater chances of success in life as a whole.
Because you never know when you will stumble across your dream job
It might be that you love your current job, and wouldn’t change it for anything.
But, statistically, it seems to be the case that most people don’t feel anywhere near quite so positively about their day jobs.
When you are continually trying new things out professionally, maybe as side hustles, maybe as mini career reinventions, you always hold the door open for your dream job.
Or, more accurately, you keep the possibility open that you will stumble across your dream job.
It might be that the first professional full-time job you get will be significant and satisfying to you, as long as you put the work in.
If not, though, maybe you should keep looking and learn how to change your career.