My dad and father-in-law had careers where they had pretty much one job for decades. After they retired they both got another job. They were young, and why not work for another 10 years?
My career has been quite different. I’ve had a host of jobs, and have owned my own business for almost 13 years now. Jobs have come and gone in a way that they couldn’t have imagined back in their day. While many things about my career have been fun and exciting, it’s been frustrating not knowing that I’d continue to have a certain job for the next few weeks, or months, or years… much less until the end of my career.
The stress of not knowing, and worrying about, and spending time actively pursuing career management, is not one of my favorite things about the careers of today.
But I’ve had to have Plan B, and Plan C, and Plan D, and when those don’t work out, Plan E, F, G, H, etc.
I refuse to sit by and think that my Plan A is my employer’s Plan A, because when they pull the plug I’m left with no income but I still have all of my bills. It is on me to make sure that I’m financially ready and able for changes to my income and my main job.
That is why I’m so big on “multiple streams of revenue.” When I got laid off back in January of 2006 my boss and the board of directors effectively took away 100% of my income. When I started JibberJobber I hoped that I could generate maybe $100 a month so that when I had a job again, and got laid off, the person who did it could not take away 100% of my income.
That was almost thirteen years ago. Right now I have multiple streams of income. My job is one of them. I also have JibberJobber, my Pluralsight royalties, and two rental units. It has taken a lot of work to get to this point. It has taken serious investment, strategy, and luck and risk. But here we are… multiple streams of income. This is my Plan B, Plan C, etc.
Life, and careers, is not easy. But we must be strategic about it.
Here’s an idea for those of you who are not ready for, or haven’t figured out, multiple streams of income: consider one of your income streams your career management efforts. That is, if you can’t figure out a side hustle, or a business, or rentals or investments or whatever, then spend time networking. Not once a month, but more often. Network strategically. Network on purpose. Network for real.
Your network should help you get solid in your revenue streams. Maybe that means that for the rest of your career, you’ll have a strong network that will keep your unemployment times down. Maybe “getting solid” means that your network will introduce revenue streams and opportunities. My message is that I want you to not worry about creating a revenue stream if that seems impossible right now… in place of that, ramp up your networking! It might be the most important thing you do for your career management.