I've been thinking a lot about career lately.
Particularly, how we come up with options for ourselves. This job, that vertical, this industry, that location. So many options; billions of possibilities. How do we narrow it down?
Career Experiments is a term I heard on a great podcast recently. I encourage you to go and take a listen. The co-host, Conor, discusses how he managed to have conversations with 100+ professionals from different backgrounds, as an experiment to learn more about potential career options.
At its core, experimentation is a mindset. To admit you don't yet have the answers, and being open to finding them.
From my perspective, experimentation is the best mindset to have as a student entering the workforce.
Coffee chats, work experience, internships, summer jobs, working holidays are all quicker, cheaper ways of discovering if you really like a job than doing a year (or three) at university.
Take a more practical example. I was speaking to a good friend today who's interested in learning a trade. He's interested in becoming an electrician, but isn't 100% sure it's the right trade for him.
Fortunately, his father is a bit of an all-rounder and is getting my friend involved in renovating their investment property.
He's been able to try some electrical, carpentry, plumbing and bricklaying work, some architecture, interior designing, and even landscaping.
He tells me he's still keen on being an electrician, but has much more clarity on that choice of focus.
We might not all have a renovation project to work on with a handy father. But the point of a career experiment is to find some way to explore your options further.
Get in touch with a friend of a friend who runs that business. Reach out to someone on LinkedIn working on a project near you.
Even if it's a YouTube vlog from a space engineer talking you through her "day in the life of", job perspectives have never been more accessible.
When I reflect on my own journey till now, it may seem like a hodge-podge of disconnected, unrelated pursuits with little theme or common thread. But in reality, it was just a series of experiments.
Following curiosities and road testing them.
Getting past the "honeymoon phase" of a novel hobby, or a Hollywood-glamorised pursuit.
Running with them far enough to really experience them.
Talking to experienced people who know the realities, their day-to-day, of whatever it is.
Our career journey is never over. So let's keep experimenting.
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