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How To Manage Your Career Path: Inspirational Career Lessons From My Dad

My Dad has had quite the career path, so I've decided to tell his story and share some important lessons we can glean from it - jump to the lessons.

My Dad, an entrepreneur and leader, took ownership of his career path

When I was a sophomore in college, I remember calling home one day and hearing two very unusual things for that time of day. First, my Dad answered the phone and second, I heard a puppy barking in the background.

Those may not sound very strange, but the problem was - my Dad should have been at work, and we didn't have a dog. I come to find out that my Dad had been let go from his job, and in the meantime, we had gotten a puppy - what a way to find out!

My Dad's career path is a windy one, so I'll spare you the details of why he was no longer in that position. What I can tell you is that while his path had led him towards what seemed to be a dead-end in his career, he quickly sprung into action mode. After all, he had one child and college and three more on their way there.

So as he hustled, he landed his next job as an HR manager job with an Anheuser-Busch affiliate. However, his career path again swerved, as that opportunity was a short-lived one. 18 months later, the plant where he worked was sold.

Owning His Career Path

Many people would be distraught at even the thought of being out of work twice in 24 months. But for my Dad, the second time was the lynch pin. Inactivity was hardly an option for him (wonder where I get it). He always had an entrepreneurial spirit, a big believer in controlling your future and becoming your own boss.

So what did he do?

He tapped into that entrepreneurial spirit, and he started an entirely new career at the age of 49. He set forth on a new career path, working his way to become a CFP (Certified Financial Planner).

Ending his career path

Today, my Dad is happily retired and has finally stepped off the career path, but not before building a very lucrative business from humble beginnings which he then sold. Many Saturdays were spent networking, and many evenings were spent combing through the yellow pages. In the end, he had chosen to take control of his own path.

And what a path he's had - a math major in college, a Marine, an HR Manager, a Plant Manager; he was and is without a doubt a natural leader who always was reinventing himself. (And today he uses his skills and expertise volunteering.)

What can we learn from his career path?

There are a number of lessons to pull from my Dad's long career, but I'd like to highlight these 4 for you.

Stay resilient:

My Dad succeed because of his grit and determination. He has always refused to let uncertainty hold back from what he wanted to do. My Dad has always been and always will be the definition of resilience.

Careers can be fulfilling, but they can be SO draining. We lose jobs, we find jobs, we lose them again, all while trying to provide for our families and pursue our dreams. I'm not saying it won't be difficult - it will. But staying resilient is your only option.

Know your timing:

It is never too late to pursue your dreams. Think of my Dad - mid 50s with no job and 4 kids, one in college and a wife teaching in Catholic school. There was so much riding on his decision to switch career paths.

However, he didn't let that stop him - he knew that there was no other option for him. When I say "know your timing," I don't mean he waited for the right time. I mean that he made NOW his time.

Don't play it safe:

My Dad depended on "safe" corporate jobs, thinking that they wouldn't fail him, but they did. He was let go. Then the plant closed down. The "safe" career path doesn't always deliver.

Just because it's the "safe" option doesn't mean it won't let you down. So, you might as well take a risk. Pursue your dream job, commit yourself to learning everything you can, stay resilient. Make your dream career your only option.

Use your failures:

If you were to speak with my Dad today, he would certainly tell you he has no regrets - that getting let go from his job and then having the plant close were some of the best things that ever happened to him.

If you’re faithful like I am, you may be familiar with the saying: "You plan and God laughs." This saying means that God often put things in front of us that we don’t and can't plan for. You have to accept that everything won't go according to your plan.

However, it is how you shape that failure into an opportunity that can shape your future into something better than you ever imagined or planned for.

Allow yourself to be sad. Allow yourself to be mad. But don't stay there. Someone out there really needs what you have to offer. You’re not done yet. Relax a bit, but then set your focus back on your career path because your talents are needed, and people are waiting for you.

Looking to level up your career or explore career options? Schedule your (FREE) career strategy session today.


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