Career paths can be linear for some, but nonlinear and nontraditional for others. Sometimes, taking an alternate or unexpected path may prepare you for greater career growth down the road. Don’t be stuck in a lockstep rut, always consider other opportunities as well as traditional ones. Some find success by taking the path of most resistance early in their career. Others fail to realize they are in the wrong job and linger for too much time, foregoing other more fulfilling opportunities. As the legal hiring market starts to boom once again, consider all of your options.
“Early in my professional life, when I worked in merchandising and brand management for one of the world’s most recognizable global retailers, I was told that leaving would be the biggest mistake of my career. I am so glad that I didn’t listen. Years later, I am still reaping the benefits of sidestepping a “traditional” linear career path. A nontraditional career path isn’t always the most comfortable approach, but it’s one that can make job candidates more appealing to a smart recruiter or hiring manager. For example, in my experience, intentionally making myself uncomfortable has helped me develop a more holistic skill set. For some, a nontraditional career path can be too challenging to handle. But I have learned that you don’t need to stifle internal anxiety about making big career changes. It’s natural, and an opportunity to learn and grow personally and professionally. The key is to use that discomfort productively and ultimately master the situations that seem overwhelming at first. There are (at least) five lessons I have learned throughout my career in which taking the “easy” route would have been perfectly acceptable, but by taking the road less traveled I gained much bigger rewards….”
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