I am a bit shocked about how often I meet people in their 30s or even their 20s who have worked for a few years in a certain industry or function and believe that their future lies in that same industry, forever.
Yes, if you are absolutely passionate about your industry or function, stick to it, and find ways to improve, learn more, and challenge existing assumptions. That path could be infinitely rewarding.
But remember: Your 5, 6, or 7 years of experience, pales in comparison to the 40, 50, or 60 years ahead!
If you are not passionate about what you do or if you are too comfortable doing what you know and don’t find yourself on the steep part of the learning curve then consider the infinite opportunities that the world presents!
The hesitation and mental blocks exist because it is hard for us to imagine starting again “from scratch” in a new field that we are not familiar with. But that’s the most exciting part! Continuously seeking the steepest learning curve is the most satisfying element of a career and a life. Otherwise, we remain inside our comfort zones, sometimes bored, usually uninspired, maybe a little dead on the inside.
We are continuously taught to be experts at one thing and that shifting careers doesn’t make sense. This is good advice if you are insanely passionate about your current career or you are building your own company/startup. But, when you specialize, most of the benefits accrue to the organization that employs you. Feel free to change careers, get exposed to new industries, functions, and, perspectives.
The most valuable investment you do is the investment in yourself and your learning path. Don’t underinvest or short your career because of what others expect of you or because of your fears of the unknown. All organic systems go through cycles of change and renewal and are destroyed by stasis.
Here’s a quote from Epictetus to give some Stoic creds to this rant:
“If thou wouldst make progress, be content to seem foolish and void of understanding with respect to outward things. Care not to be thought to know anything. If any should make account of thee, distrust thyself.” -Epictetus