This week’s episode of “Future-Proof” is all about your career path. If you’re new to the profession, and even if you’re not, I’m not going to lie to you – things are going to get weird.
It’s just the nature of work today. Things are changing at an exponential pace, and that means your career will change considerably as well. So you have to be ready with new skills, a flexible career path, and the ability to shift on a dime when the time comes. More than ever, we all have to be more nimble, more flexible, and more willing to learn new skills. Our careers, our futures, and those of our customers and clients depend on it more now than ever.
We can’t do anything about the twists and turns coming our way, but we can prepare ourselves to take those twists and turns without spinning out or flipping the car.
This week’s guest puts an inspiring twist on the long, strange trip that is your career – and your life.
Tony Nitti is a partner in RubinBrown’s Tax Services Group, a well-known contributor of tax content to Forbes, and a frequent speaker and trainer at seminars and webcasts across the country. What’s clear when you hear him talk, though, is that he’s just a guy trying to figure out his way in the world. But his journey has been amazing, and it’s something that all of us can learn from.
Rather than expand on that, we’re going to let Tony tell his story. Tony’s journey is our journey. Learn from what he’s done and apply it to your own journey – because this is amazing stuff.
In this conversation, we cover:
- Professional non-negotiables.
- What you need to be getting out of any job, regardless of where you are in your career.
- Why you need to be investing in yourself, and how to start.
- Saying yes to opportunity.
Career advice for a changing world
There’s no shortage of people out there ready to offer career advice. Just Google “career advice for new graduates.” No, really – go ahead and Google it. I’ll wait.
See? There’s a lot of really solid career advice for our age of complexity and uncertainty.
Some of my favorite advice comes from an article written my BLI colleague, Rebekah Brown, titled “Three things I want accounting students to know: The career path.”
Brown writes, “The typical career path isn’t a nice, well-lit, straight, flat street. It’s more like Lombard Street in San Francisco — in the dark.”
If you’re not familiar with Lombard Street, it has a reputation as the most crooked street in the world. The 1000 block of Lombard Street has eight sharp turns, which are actually a necessity, Rebekah says, “to reduce the hill’s natural 27 percent grade, which [is] too steep for most vehicles.” (A little bonus trivia: Lombard Street is not the most crooked street in the world. It’s not even the most crooked street in San Francisco. That title goes to Vermont Street between 20th and 22nd streets. But I digress).
Your career is like Lombard and Vermont streets. You can’t get to your final destination in a straight line – and if you try, you’ll end up careening out of control. You need to build in a series of twists and turns that will help you remain relevant in a changing and complex world. Rebekah offers a few bits of advice:
First, make contacts, with social media being a great tool that will put you in contact with thought leaders and mentors who can help you take your career to the next level.
Second, learn new skills. Nothing’s more important, given the pace of change today. Or, as Fast Company editor Robert Safian puts it, the most important skill we must master going forward is the ability to learn new skills.
Finally, learn the real you. She recommends that new graduates take a strengths assessment like Strengths Finder 2.0 or the VIA Survey of Character Strengths to understand more about yourself and the type of career and life you’re suited for.
More than that, you have to stay true to what you’re passionate about. In Simon Sinek’s terms, you need to identify your “why.” Why do you do what you do? Figure that out, and almost everything else will fall into place.