Work

The New Nomads

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by
September 21st, 2012

There is a topic of conversation that is relentlessly going around my circles lately: the discussion of life goals and how they’ve merged with career and survival. (Forget concepts like ambition and success, at this point those are best left to the saccharin vocabularies of life coaches and gurus.)

Our generation was supposed to have moved beyond consideration of career and survival by our 30s. To have reached mid-life and still struggle with career choices, alternate careers, or even just how to pay our car loan or mortgage seems a surprising dilemma.

Given the state of the economy and rapidly evolving technology, people of all ages need to reset their career buttons almost as regularly as they do their computers or cell phones. A reset could require simple flexibility, or could require a full reinvention. Reinvention — a term previously reserved for pop icons like Madonna or Cher (often requiring little more than a clothing change) — is now a common occurrence among us non-iconic, regular folks.

In my own world, this almost nomadic perspective on survival developed due to a rough childhood. My first job was picking apples with migrant workers when I ran away from home at 13. My ambition then was simply hunger. Over the years, this experience has served me well. I’ve had every job from selling hot dogs out of a truck to producing rap music videos, being a secretary, creating a candle line, and even being a phone psychic.

In some freak way, maybe there is a “Get Out of Jail Free” card in this pile of uncertainty. Many folks forge onward in stagnant careers or have mistakenly worshiped that “bitch-goddess success” (D.H. Lawrence’s term), while making the ultimate sacrifice of sanity or being true to themselves. But ultimately, change can be very healthy.

In assessing your surroundings and career, be aware of the big picture. Your strongest skills are ultimately where your passions lie. The internet is buzzing with articles on this phenomenon, like this one: “Career Reinvention: Rules of the Road.”

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