I just got the sobering Social Security Statement that shows my lifetime history of work and how much I made each year; kind of like “This is Your Life” through a financial lens. A couple of very interesting data points jumped out at me…
First, I made only $413 in the first year of my first high school job, working as a dishwasher at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor at Castleton Square Mall. That was enough to put gas in my ’62 VW Beetle and buy a few comic books. Also worth noting – I took my first $32 paycheck right down to Chess King and bought a brown leather vest. I saw someone wearing one on American Bandstand and thought it would make me look cool too. The jury is still out on that one.
More importantly, the biggest jumps in my yearly earnings came right after I took the biggest career risks in my life; moving to other cities, changing industries or taking on new challenges I wasn’t totally prepared for. Now that I look back with my 20/20 hindsight, I wish I had jumped sooner.
Whatever you are doing right now is preparing you for what comes next. Sometimes the change is thrust upon you (like a layoff, reorganization or acquisition) and sometimes you thrust yourself into the change (like my last career move from start-up to large company.) You can also make lateral changes within your current company, by asking for more or different responsibilities.
There are elements of risk and “crisis” in all of these scenarios, but so what? Crisis brings change. Change brings opportunity. Opportunity, properly seized, brings great reward.