Can you launch a new career without betraying the old one?
Do you use your current work as a launching point for “the next thing”? Penelope Trunk has a great article about something I have believed in for a long time—people who specialize in a niche area become more valuable over time (on the whole), but I wonder about how to best do that? She says,
A specialist in a large company can demand flexibility, but a specialist also has an ability to leave corporate life and succeed on her own, which is something generalists can’t easily do…When you are wondering why anyone would go work for a big company, the answer is to learn a specialty. Think of corporate life as an apprenticeship so that you can start your own company. Big companies are crawling with mentors and training programs that will help you narrow your focus effectively.
Gen Y is known for moving quickly among organizations with little loyalty, an attitude that I think is reflected in the above quote. But is there somewhere we can land in the middle? A place where we can use corporate life as an apprenticeship for our next step while retaining a commitment—even a fidelity—to our current tasks and relationships?
Max De Pree writes, “Leaders often betray followers and vice versa. Most betrayals come to life after the fact, after one party silently abandons a goal or a commitment.” I believe one of these betrayals occurs when an employee is so focused on the next step in their career, the next job, the next promotion, that they abandon the commitment they made to perform in the place where they have. I think to realize our potential we must learn to fulfill our potential in the momentary tasks as well as the long-term.
Is it possible that we can both give all that we can to our current tasks and relationships while intentionally preparing for our futures?
Are our workplaces conducive to this kind of work?
By: Joanna Stanberry
Photo by: Dene Miles
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