Saturday, May 1, 2010

How I Optimized My Career Path

Over lunch, I thought about assigning variables to a career search. Here's what I came up with:
    I want make money as an X.
    I want to live in Y.
    I want to work at a Z.

In 2002, I wanted to change careers. My old job looked like this:
    I make money as a QA ENGINEER living in SANTA CLARA, CA working for a SEMICONDUCTOR STARTUP.

And this is what I was looking for in my next position:
    I want to make money DOING ANYTHING BUT QA WORK living ANYWHERE working for ANY COMPANY.

Do you know how depressing it is to want a career change, but have no direction? It sucks! So what did I do? The worst thing possible. I went to graduate school for an MBA, got a high powered education, buried myself in student loan debt, and still had no idea what I wanted to do. Things only started to turn around for me when I picked a direction. In May of 2004 as I prepared to graduate from grad school, I forced myself to pick this direction:
    I want to make money in SALES working living in A BIG CITY at a COMPANY THAT PROVIDES TRAINING.

It wasn't a super specific plan, but it was good enough to get me going. I started off selling insurance for Farmers, and then for a great company called SelectQuote, and then moved onto recruiting. Now my plan looks like this:

Whatever your status is, it helps to know how much direction (or lack there of) you have. You don't have to know everything about what you want to do, where you want to do it, or who you want to do it for. However, the more you avoid defining your own career path, the more fate/others/luck/any-force-but-you decides for you.

1 comment:

  1. I like this model because it's straightforward. Another supplemental piece of advice is to always keep in mind that in order to achieve your goals that which surrounds you must be in order as well. Think of your surroundings like an airstrip. Your surroundings are constantly moving and changing with time. If you also move in time don't you want to clear the obstacles that lay in front of you? I'm talking about long term thinking. Use it or lose big.