The education Vs career dilemma
The average employee tenure continues to move steadily down. The median number of years that employed people stay in a role in the USA is down to 4.2 years in January 2016, from 4.6 years in January 2012. That might not seem like a lot, but it’s a change of 9.5% in only two years. The current employment trends indicate more temporary work assignments and increased transience in the workforce overall.
The USA stats are typical for many western countries in an increasingly globalised world. Do you remember having to choose whether to get a job or stay on in education and go to college? The decision was probably relatively easy at 16 years old, but perhaps a bit harder at 18? It was undoubtedly an either/or scenario, and it was one that had substantial implications. You knew that it would be difficult to get back into the educational system later in life. Or that 3-4 years staying in education could be wasted as well if the path you followed didn’t require a degree.
The educational choices were huge decisions, meaning that years could get wasted, or you could embark on the wrong career.
We can now enjoy education AND career freedom
Now, we stay in jobs for shorter periods of time. It’s quite acceptable to an employer for us to change careers throughout our life; educational decisions are less career-threatening. The smartest and most successful people of the future are likely to continue their education throughout their lives. If we look at a daily activity schedule, career losers might be spending time watching reality TV. The winners will be spending the same time studying online. We all have the same amount of time in the day (24hrs). The same food choices (vegetables vs cake, gym vs game console). We have an equal opportunity to expand our knowledge and skills.
Embrace the future
As a regular reader of this blog, you are likely to be either: An employee who’s exploring ways to improve their lives through online marketing of some sort. Or a business owner who’s actively searching for ways to improve their online presence and create situations where more clients are finding them.
Either way, you’re taking the personal initiative to discover new information that you don’t already know. You’re open to change and opportunity and are happy to create situations where this is more likely to happen.
This behaviour is how all successful people will act one day. (Perhaps this is already true in most cases?) They’ll work in mini careers that allow them to experience pleasure, and grow in character. When the happiness and rewards slow down, a new challenge will be a positive event, from their point of view, and for those around them.
How will we know what new career to embark on? No one ever suddenly shifts directions without a catalyst. A truck driver doesn’t suddenly decide to be a doctor and vice-versa. What happens is a process and series of experiences and clues that lead us in a new direction. These factors include push and pull circumstances. Examples of push circumstances:
- Your current company closes down
- The whole industry crashes with no sign of revival
- A physical ailment or injury stops your ability to perform your current role
- Your current job doesn’t pay enough money to cover family expenses, so a new post is taken for a higher salary but lower non-financial rewards
Examples of pull circumstances:
- A mentor helps you believe that you can achieve a dream that you had lacked confidence in
- A romantic partner convinces you to follow your passion despite potential challenges
- You develop skills or relationships related to a hobby and discover that you can make a living from them
- You get an opportunity in a similar industry, but one which is more exciting to you
Which set of circumstances would you prefer to be prevalent when making career changes? Do you want to be pushed? Or feel pulled? Can you influence the likelihood of which will dictate your life? The answer is a resounding YES! The difference is simple, and it’s the difference between being a pro-active person and a reactive one. How can you proactively create pull opportunities in your life? Just as health and fitness changes involve substitution, so do career trajectories.
Be a perpetual student, AND a serial career winner, with online education
Imagine if you were to decide right now, that you’ll be a permanent student, for the rest of your life. It’s almost sure that this decision will be just as life-changing as losing 100 pounds or going from being sedentary to being fit. Unlike previous generations that had to choose between work or education, you’ve many choices. Rather than compromising by having to travel to ‘evening classes’ for a limited number of skills, you can study anywhere, anytime and any way you like.
There are online courses about everything imaginable. If the skills have a commercial or personal benefit, there’ll be some great ones available. Most are modular and can get studied at your own pace, motivation and progress speed. Want to study while working out on the cross trainer? While soaking in a hot tub? You can do both. Sat in traffic? No problem. There has never been a better time or more opportunity for lifelong part-time education.
If you think that you don’t have the time, or are too busy, create an activity diary and write down everything that you do for a week. Take a look and see what can either be substituted or turned into an educational multi-tasking opportunity.
If you can’t think of anything, then it means that you don’t want to take the pro-active route in life. Your next few career changes are likely to be push events. If you’re wondering where you can find some of these online educational course providers, here are a few that we can recommend: