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Does your career have a shelf life?

Lately, I've been having a conversation with several of my friends who range in age from their mid forties to their early sixties. All of us are working in some capacity. Some have been at corporate jobs their entire career while others like me are hustlers and adapt to changes in the economy or their industry by pivoting toward a new direction.

Shelf Life

I’ve been having a conversation lately with several of my friends who range in age from their mid forties to their early sixties. All of us are working in some capacity. Some have been at corporate jobs their entire career while others like me are hustlers and have adapted to changes in our industry by pivoting in a new direction whenever necessary.

I’ve seen top television producers become real estate agents. Publicists become teachers or adjunct professors. An advertising sales executive I know is now a successful dog walker and event planner. And my husband and his friend even ditched their finance jobs several years ago to open a sports facility for kids.

In all of these scenarios, my friends and family knew they had to make a change because there was a shelf life to their career. Today, there’s no such thing as having a stable job. Sometimes, you have to be the chef, the cook and the bottle washer to be successful and most of all, you have to accept the fact that change is actually good. 

I have struggled with that concept for a while now as I have contemplated whether my own career path has a shelf life too. I have even thought about switching gears so I could finally give up doing what I loathe and focus on the things I love. Sure, those things don’t always bring in a lot of money, but if it brings me joy, then I know that eventually, I’ll be headed in the right direction.

If you are feeling like your shelf life is approaching, it’s time to stop feeling bad that you may be ending a chapter in your life. You are not alone in feeling uncertain about your future, but don’t ever feel like you are going backwards. While it’s great to reminisce about those high points in your career, that doesn’t mean those achievements are going to end. Take chances. Be bold. Even though it might feel unsettling, embrace each change with the same sense of excitement you had when you landed that first big job or promotion. Change can be scary. Change can be good. But change never has a shelf life. 

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