This is from the career blog, Dilbert:
“If you want an average successful life, it doesn’t take much planning. Just stay out of trouble, go to school, and apply for jobs you might like. But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths:
1. Become the best at one specific thing.
2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.
The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try.
The second strategy is fairly easy.”
I wish someone had said this to me about 30 years ago. (Would I have been smart enough to listen, though?) I spent the first 30 years of my work life (yes, I started working at 20!), either trying to improve the job I was in, looking for a new job or trying to develop a new career. I never felt settled in anything for long.
Now, for 25 of those years, chronic illness made what seemed to be simple moves for others, difficult for me. But I’m wondering if I just would have benefited from some good career advice.
So what about the above is especially valuable for you, when you live with a chronic illness? Because being really good (top 25% or so) at 2 things gives you tremendous flexibility and flexility is king when you have chronic illness.
And here’s an example. My client, a stockbroker with Fibromylgia, is struggling to multi-task under pressure when she’s not feeling well. Years ago, she started her career as a web designer but she didn’t keep up her skills. Now, she’s decided to retrain so she can get another job — at least for a while in the hope that her disease quiets – that will be less pressured (even if less money).
I found the 2nd nugget in a book (‘d mentioned in the post, Do you dare to have a career? ) written by Marci Alboher’s book, One Person/Multiple Careers: How the Slash Effect Can Work for You . I came across this line: “Thus having a slash career requires being comfortable with beginnings.” (p.16) We , with chronic illness, know about slash//multiple careers.
When I left multi media producing to go to the account side of the business, I knew nothing about managing a business or selling – but I learned. When I left the communications field, I trained as a mediator (4 careeer // slashes later). Beginnings were easy for me. Making the right choices for me – not so easy. Luckily, I finally got it right when I morphed into a coach for professionals – as in people committed to career building — with chronic illness. Just because it was so hard for me – I’m committed to making it easier for others.
Marci Alboher is interviewing me for her New York Times Column, Shifting Careers. She gave me these 2 questions to think about:
1. What do employers need to know regarding employees with chronic illness?
2. What do people with chronic illness need to know to encourage them to keep working- rather than go on disability?
Share your thoughts here — and I’ll pass it along.
Rosalind aka cicoach.com