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Boomer Career Path Choices

Posted Oct 23 2008 6:12pm

Business_intelligenceBoomers define ourselves bywhat we do for a living.

Our career reflects innate abilities, goals, creativity, attitudes toward others and a host of other mysterious variables. In the skewed path to fulfillment, it's human nature to taste many jobs and experiment with new careers before we settle on something we are passionate about. The best we can strive for is finding something we love doing early on so we can devote the rest of our lives to excelling at it.

Job and career changes reflect not only the times but also, more importantly, a natural inclination to dabble and learn—so says career coach John Agno.  Looking back upon how his own life and career fell into place, Agno discovered this fact of life firsthand.  He changed jobs every seven years before settling into a career he was passionate about: coaching senior technology executives—CTOs, CIOs and CEOs.

Along with a growing number of workplace advisers, Agno concurs that there is no defined path to any professional career.

"More commonly, most people will travel several paths in the course of their lifetime," says Agno. "Typically, our early years are spent gravitating toward professions or vocations that are in tune with our personalities. Career adjustments, whether they happen early or in mid-career, are normal and natural.  Every accomplishment and failure prepares you for what's ahead."

While growing up, Agno was strongly influenced by his parents’ wishes.  Pressured to become an accountant, he pursued a degree in business. While in school, he discovered that accounting didn’t fire his imagination because it wasn’t challenging enough.  “I found that I would rather make things happen than account for them after they had happened,” he says. “So I continued studying business administration, but switched from accounting to marketing.  My new focus was driven by what I call my ’developer’ personality --a need to build concepts that achieved business and project goals.”
Agno discovered that once he developed something, it was time to move on to the next project that challenged him.  For that reason he wound up changing jobs every seven years.  As a coach, Agno observes that around age 40, many of his clients become discontented with their lives and look for new challenges. He understands why.

Management consultant, author and motivational speaker Tom Peters says, "There is no single path to success." 

And Buddha said: "Carpenters bend wood. Fletchers bend arrows. Wise men fashion themselves."  It sounds a little vague, but the message is on the money: There is no telling how your life will work itself out, because there are so many things that are beyond your control.

Sources: Bob Weinstein'sAre Career Paths the Best for Professional Advancement?in CIO magazine, February 4, 2008 and Passion of a Career, July 23, 2007

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