Embarking on a new employment journey is equal parts exhilarating and exhausting. Like an improv comedian, the temptation is to “yes, and” in response to all questions from potential employers or clients, rather than telling the truth when a role probably is not a good fit. We get anxious to prove our worth, rather than remaining patient enough to wait out a better opportunity.
Unfortunately, taking on a challenge outside of one’s capabilities can be a recipe for failure. If you over-promise but under-deliver, you will not only harm your reputation, but you will probably be miserable in your new job, as well.
The challenge is deciding when the time is right for the old dog to learn new tricks by enhancing the core skills that led to your early-career success. Career development requires risks to be taken, but usually within the limits of your core competencies. The top salesperson in an organization probably lacks the personality type to become a good programmer, but experienced field sales folks may be able to become excellent managers, given the right training, guidance, and maturity.
As I embark on my new career path as an independent content producer, I’m excited by the opportunity to try new things. Yet I realize that the skill set that has carried me this far will remain at the core of every new project and partnership in my future endeavors. I’ve always made my living writing and communicating, so I will continue to explore jobs that require those skills. Along the way, I’m learning to use new tools and find new outlets for expression, but only as they serve my core competencies.
What are you doing to broaden your own horizons, while remaining true to who you are at your core?