Are you a wide-eyed fresh graduate looking to become a productive member of society? Or perhaps you are someone who made a wrong career choice and now wants to start anew? It’s going to be a tough ride since you are only limited to your degree, skills, and level of experience, right?
Wrong! There were times when such a notion could have been true, but not anymore. We are in an age where your degree, skills, experience, and location no longer matters.
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The only limit is yourself, and we are about to break down these concepts that many people still hold about a professional career – concepts which were once true, but not anymore. Let’s start.
1. Career & salary will always start from the bottom
Everyone has to start and be content with receiving minimum pay, right? This is the standard for everyone who is starting their career in any industry. It doesn’t matter if you have years of experience in a different field, if you enter a new field the words "Pay is depending on experience” is always on the fine print.
Note that in this context, the experience is a blurred combination of years spent working in that field plus actual working skills. And of course, that’s true, having several years of experience in a given field means you are more skilled. Or is it? At least some decades ago this was true.
Not anymore. Nowadays you can spend anywhere from a month to half a year polishing your skills in web or mobile app development from scratch without actual work experience and still land a job that pays double or triple of what you are expecting to get. This means you no longer have to start from the bottom.
Starting from the bottom and climbing your way up the ladder is an old concept, it no longer applies – at least in the non-corporate setting. With today’s bustling startup scene, you don’t have to start in an entry-level position or take in the lowest paying job in your profession. Status doesn’t matter, only skills. No bureaucracy, no office politics.
The number of years no longer count, but what counts most is your skills. Head over to RemoteOK and see for yourself if the jobs posted there fit your skills – usually the pay starts anywhere from $20,000 per year to $100,000 depending on the level. But you get the idea – it’s all about what skills you can offer, not years.
2. Big companies mean better opportunities
It was my dream to wake up in the morning, wear my suit and tie, and work in a corner office at the top floor of a big company. Today I’m writing this article in my pajamas and I’m the happiest man alive. But I digress.
Working for big companies means there is a lot of space for growth, many opportunities to discover, right? Logically speaking that is how it should be since big companies have the resources to do that. But that is way too far from the truth.
When you work for a large corporation, a multi-billion multi-national company, there is very little room for growth. Every position is filled and you can’t hope to get a promotion in just a year or two or three, simply because the people who are in those positions that you may covet, have been there for several years to a couple of decades themselves.
But of course I’m not saying that there aren’t any chances of growing, I only mean to say that it is significantly slower, by a lot.
Now consider this, if you work for a startup with a rapid exponential growth, and if you are one of its first employees, wouldn’t that only mean that you’ll be propelled with them to the top as you help them grow?
On that note, why not aim to be a person who is worthy to be a co-founder of a startup?
3. Best jobs can only be found within your niche
Fresh graduates aren’t the only ones who fall into this myth, even people with years of experience somehow spiral down this thinking that they should only work within their niche, industry or degree.
I, for one, know three registered nurses who work in web design and development. I studied information technology and yet here I am writing articles for blogs and on the side working as a marketing consultant.
Many people would say that it’s a waste to work on a different field since they spent years studying something else, hence they spend several months to years looking for their "dream job”.
The idea that you should work based on the things you studied during college or based on your work experience, will only isolate you to a very small world that you know. As I said above, what matters is your skillset and your willingness to learn, not what your degree or actual experience is in different industries.
4. Being a jack of all trades is bad, you should be a master of one
Mastering only one trade will be your funeral. The saying "jack of all trades, master of none” implies that a person is useful in many areas, but only on the basic level. This also implies that there is little room for growth as compared to those who are experts in a particular field or skill.
And it is true. Being the best in one thing means businesses will want you on their side. Say, for example, programming. Many software companies would want you in their team, and that is absolutely alright.
However, who’s saying you can’t be a master of several trades? If you are thinking that it is impossible, then you have already condemned yourself to not become one.
In today’s fast-paced environment, those who are fluid enough in their skills are valued higher as opposed to those who only know one thing. If you know web design and development, marketing, sales, and the rest of the bundle, what’s stopping a web startup from reaching out to you – you who know how everything works?
5. Going over and beyond is good
When you work for a company and dedicate yourself to it, even spending several hours a week working beyond normal hours, taking work to your home, and spending your rest days and holidays, it makes you into a team player who loves your company, right? And that’s true, at least to you.
The truth is, you are only hurting yourself. Some months ago I wrote an article titled Why You Should Avoid Being Overworked which outlines why this is so. In summary of it:
- No one is going to die if you stop working today. And it’s true. You can always continue working tomorrow. Clock out when it’s time, go meet with friends, call your parents, walk your dog, watch a movie, relax. It’s your life anyway.
- The company you work for is a business. It’s not your family, definitely not your friend. All it cares about is money no matter how much they tell you that they care for you. In the end, if they don’t make money from you, you’ll be cast aside.
- You are, eventually, an expendable resource. There are literally millions of people looking for work and your company won’t think twice to replace you or lay you off if it means they can save money from doing so.
The Japanese are particularly bad at this culture of overworking. This is an extreme form of it, of course, but you get the idea. You work for yourself, not for the company. Remember that.
The world is rapidly changing and the way working works does too. What was true years ago is no longer particularly applicable today. You don’t have to follow the "rules” of the game anymore, you can skip the lines, build something for yourself, experiment, and just do what you want to do. The only limit is yourself.