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Keep Your Day Job, Unless You Can’t

August 17, 2009

“Turns out not where but who you’re with that really matters.”

–Dave Matthews Band, “Best of What’s Around”

I was talking with a friend and former public relations classmate of mine about my current position with a non-profit that’s about to close up shop, and the two job interviews I have coming up. One company works in healthcare advocacy and the other works in online reputation management — two very different positions, each with great potential to carve out a career niche.

My friend works for a high-tech PR firm. She likes her job but is afraid she’ll be stuck in the tech industry as a result of her current position. That’s bogus.

Regardless of the puddle you step in to get your professional feet wet, it’s unlikely you’ll be “stuck” in one field for the rest of your life. Consider this when thinking about tomorrow’s job, today:

  • Skills acquired from your current position are applicable to future careers, regardless of the industry. This is especially true in public relations, given PR professionals need valuable research, pitching and story development skills when working with an organization’s stakeholders.
  • The industries of the future will evolve over time, even in the next five years (health informatics and green technologies being two that I find very interesting), so it’s farfetched to assume you’ll be stuck in the same field for the duration of your career when there are positions — even industries — that have yet to be created.

Given our current economic climate (I’m sick of that phrase, myself), value any job you can get that’s remotely related to your desired profession. Don’t quit your current job just because you don’t like it. If you’re not happy, look into volunteering for an important cause or revert to your 12-year-old-self and rekindle some of your favorite hobbies that have been gathering dust in the attic. Whatever you do, remember that you’re not stuck in your current profession forever, but now is not the best time to quit and see what happens. Give it a year.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Siri permalink
    August 17, 2009 10:26 pm

    I completely agree with this post. You’re never stuck, unless you choose not to progress. I still use skills I learned lifeguarding in my job today (criminal justice). I used to feel like I needed to figure out what I was going to do for the rest of my life so I could hurry up and get there, but I’ve since learned that it’s much more interesting and valuable to find my way in my own time.

    • Scott Lansing permalink*
      August 17, 2009 11:00 pm

      Point well taken, Siri. It’s a little outlandish to be in the mindset of trying to figure everything now, when there are some things we just have no control over, like a plagued economy. It’s easier to apply what you know for the time being and see what you learn along the way as a result.

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