I am enjoying my third career (#3) as a marketing professor, researching innovation and sales of service. I was a financial futures and bond salesperson and sales manager in career #1. For career #2 I was head of sales and marketing for a series of online startups to serve the needs of sophisticated online traders.
I enjoyed all three careers. The careers have definitely been complementary: my trading experience and contacts were valuable in the online startups; and my experience in selling and innovating service fuels my current research. But my jobs clearly line up in three distinct groupings.
Many of my former colleagues that I have discussed this with acknowledge 2-3 separate careers also. (More true of my business colleagues than my academic colleagues — maybe “path” retains some meaning in professions such as law, education and medicine.) There have been books written about this phenomena, such as “Life 2.0.”
Career path is so 1980…
I believe that this paradigm, “career portfolio”, has replaced the old model, “career path.” I am not even sure that “career path” existed even in the 1980′s. Whenever I heard someone recount their path, it sounded like an ad-hoc rationalization of what had occurred, not a planned and executed journey.
Everyone should have an answer to “what do you want to do in 5 years?”, but should not take it too seriously. As the yiddish proverb translates: Man plans – God laughs.
Keep building human capital – including skills such as sales skills — and your opportunity awareness.
I seek thoughts from my readership on this proposed paradigm! Please comment.