Tradition is great.
It shapes our cultures and the lens in which we see the world around us.
Traditions weave our families and societies together for several generations. It creates best practices in our industries and sets standards in our institutions.
Tradition can also be the single most detrimental factor in our career endeavors.
Traditionally, most people apply to jobs online. Traditionally, you go to school, get a degree and land a great job. Traditionally, you find mentors within your great network of professionals.
But what if you’ve been applying to jobs online for two years and still haven’t landed so much as an interview? What if you can’t afford to go to school for your degree? What if you don’t have an awesome network of professionals to tap into?
In 2008, I was forced to leave my university because I could no longer afford the tuition payments. In dropping out of college, I also left behind my on-campus job. I was in an faltering economy with little work experience, no degree and no access to my official transcripts.
Rule #1: Break the Rules
Every single one of them. This has been my mantra for succeeding in my career path and it has taken me from 3 years of job temping to a full-time permanent position with a full company-paid grant for my undergraduate degree.
Become a Rebel
Everything you were ever taught about the goal at hand, FORGET ABOUT IT!
What is working for your peers, may not work for you. Stay mindful of standard practice, but don’t let it confine you! I couldn’t afford my undergraduate degree and I didn’t have the resume to land a job.
My resume was being devoured by ATS Tracking Systems (Google that!) and although I’d managed to whip up an impressive resume, it rarely made it in the hands of a decision maker.
Instead, I’d began freelancing through staffing agencies and managed to build my network and rapport with a group of recruiters and hiring managers.
Go Back to the Drawing Board
Only this time create your own rules. Take time to reevaluate. What haven’t you done? What can you do differently?
Reach out to leaders in your field for advice. Check out She Takes On The World Blog Founder Natalie MacNeil’s 5 Minute Rule for Finding a Mentor. Constantly update your strategy. What you’re learning from reading, research, internships, mentorships, conferences, and professional organizations should be reflected in your plan.
In real life, real things happen.
Students become parents before they’d planned to. Someone you love dearly may pass on or you may have to take time off to care for a loved one. You may have a sudden change of heart about your career goals and decide to finally pursue what you love.
Sometimes you simply don’t have the means to accomplish the goal at hand. Don’t give up, just take a different route.
Break the rules!