Chutes and Ladders: The New Career Game

Back in “the good old days” people went to school, graduated with a great job, climbed the corporate ladder, retired with a pension, and lived happily ever after. Those days are long gone; and if you’re like me, your career trajectory has been more like a game of chutes and ladders than an upward trek. Since graduating from law school, I’ve held entry-level jobs in fintech, mid-level jobs in compliance, law, and healthcare, and I’ve been unemployed twice. Here’s what these various experiences taught me:

1. Make Yourself Known

I hate to break it to you, but it really doesn’t matter how many shiny new degrees you have (not even if you’re an ivy league law grad). In today’s economy, it’s not so much what you know or even who you know as much as who knows you. Most jobs are filled internally or externally through someone internal. This means that your network is super important when it comes to getting a job. Work your network by letting people know you’re looking for a new position. And offer to help people who could benefit from your skills. Someone’s bound to think of you when an opportunity comes up.

2. Be flexible

Most people have a “dream job” or at least an idea of how their lives should be. But we can’t always get what we want. Sometimes we’ve got to compromise and take what is being offered to us (because our bills don’t pay themselves). It doesn’t hurt to take on a less than ideal job while you work on getting your dream job, especially if you’re still trying to figure out what you want to do.  You never know where these opportunities will take you; and you might even learn some skills that you can transfer to another job down the line.

3. Embrace entrepreneurship

There’s no such thing as guaranteed job security anymore. As more jobs are being replaced by technology, we’re losing out on traditional employment opportunities so we have to be creative. Try to find another source of income, like a side hustle. Maybe you can create a product to sell, or offer a service in your community. The extra income will come in handy if you ever find yourself in between jobs, or just want to supplement your income.

Bianca Gay is a lawyer, boxer, pathological reader, and spreader of good vibes. Feel free to reach out to her on Twitter @BJGEsq.


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Be prepared and do a career assessment before you look for a new job!