A Chameleon Career

Published on June 10th, 2019

Before the information age, it was possible to have a 30, 40, even 50-year career working in a single company in a single industry. And in many situations, it was advantageous to do so because the world changed slowly enough such that a person's knowledge and expertise could adapt with the times. In doing so, they could retain their position of power and maximize the size of their paycheck.

Fast forward to 2019. We already exist in an age where companies and industries are being created, evolved, or destroyed with unprecedented speed. We live in the gig economy where people may work multiple, fractional jobs instead of having one full-time job.

In short, business and career environments are evolving so rapidly that we need to change with them. We can no longer assume that we will always be a specific role in a specific department at a specific company in a specific industry in a specific country. It's all moving. It's all changing.

Our careers can no longer be fixed trajectories on a fixed map that we created in HS and followed sequentially over a 40-year career. Instead, we need to be like chameleons, continually noticing and adapting to changes to our environment. This requires everything from a new mindset, skills, and a willingness to change.

The plus side to this is we can live multiple lifetimes inside a single one. I love this poster by SMBC illustrating this point, and I hung it on my wall for inspiration. One of the benefits of a chameleon career is we never have just one shot at finding our calling. Instead, we get multiple attempts to transform and explore other aspects of ourselves in this one life.

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.