In this week’s column “J.T. and Dale Talk Jobs,” J.T. referenced yours truly when answering a reader’s question about the right career path for him. J.T. suggested the reader might be, what I call, a Renaissance Personality, and mentioned a hybrid career to him; basically two separate careers, simultaneously.
Here’s a link to one of the outlets that published the column.
A hybrid career is indeed a great way to satisfy a multi-passionate personality’s craving for variety and new experiences. But there are other ways of shaping your life and your career if you’re wired like a Renaissance man or woman.
If you’re someone who gets bored fast, then project-based work could be a god sent.
However, if you’re able to stay interested in a topic or field for quite some time – say several years – you could pursue work in this field, stay in it for as long as you like, and whenever you hit your X-year itch, switch!
How to just switch without going back to school for another 4 years, you wonder?
By volunteering in the field while still employed in your other job, or by taking on part-time jobs or projects in this field to start out with. You can get a feel for a new field by shadowing someone.
And, you want to be strategic about your choices. See if you can use and hone skills in your current job that you know will be of value in your next endeavor – provided you already know what that will be. You probably know more than you give yourself credit for.
Another option for Renaissance Personalities is to pursue your many interests and passions in your free time and pick a day job that provides stable income and suits your needs. For example; one with no to very little stress and overtime so you’ll have enough time and energy to enjoy your off-time activities.
Also, be strategic about the industry you pick for your day job. If traveling is one of your passions, might as well try to get a job with an airline or travel company. The husband of a friend of mine works in IT for a travel agency and the family enjoys 20% off their family vacations! Not bad.
Another option could be a teaching job where you enjoy crazy time off! This will give you time to travel, create your art, set up your personal projects, build a house, or do whatever it is you need time for.
So try to match the perks your day job offers you with your other interests, whenever possible.
Yet another way to create a Renaissance life is to hunt for an umbrella career; satisfying multiple passions in one job. These are harder to get by, but worthwhile. An example would be a foreign correspondent if you love to write, travel, and are into politics. Or a food critic if you love to write, love food, and can’t stand the idea of sitting in a cubicle all day.
The one thing all of these jobs – other than the day jobs – have in common is that it requires creativity on your part. You have to carve out your own path and dare to ask for unconventional arrangements.
Start by making a list of all the things – activities, hobbies, work, fields – you’re interested in and want to experience.
Next, narrow your list down to the things you want to do professionally. If you’re not sure…just add them. You’re not committing for life here!
Then make a list of your values and narrow it down to the top three. What’s most important to you in life? Stability? Money? Freedom? Adventure? Family? Team work? Harmony? Exploration? Pioneering? The list goes on. Find out what really matters to you.
Now take your top three values and see how they match up with your list of interests. Find the ones that overlap. After all, if your values are at odds with your daily activities, you won’t be happy for long.
Make a new list with only the activities/interests that overlap with your values and prioritize them – if this is easy for you. Is there something you are just dying to do first? Put it at the top. If you don’t have clear preferences, this is ok, as long as you don’t get stuck in overanalyzing things. Instead of just picking one, pick two or three. One or two you can start doing for money, and another you’ll do in your free time.
You’re almost there!
Take a close look at everything you’ve done in your life; professionally and for fun. Write down all the skills and knowledge you may have taken for granted. Warning: for most Renaissance Personalities, this may take some time!
Try to see where you have skills and abilities that you could transfer into a new field or job.
And, most importantly; get out there! Talk to people about what you want, what you’re looking for, and ask them what they do and how they got there. Never try doing it on your own.
There you have it – a crash course in career planning, Renaissance style. Of course there’s a lot more to it, depending on your particular type of Renaissance Personality. But hopefully this got you started – and that’s half the battle…truly!
If you want to read real-life stories of Renaissance Personalities who have done this – and other posts on this topic, please browse my blog.
(You can sign up for J.T. and Dale’s question column here: http://www.jtanddale.com/)