Author: Mike Scaletti
I love my job. The company I work for is great, my boss is wonderful, the work is rewarding and I get to do it from home. I couldn't imagine a better position. But it wasn't a straight path to get here.
Before I was in the position I currently am, I sold hats. Before that, I was a construction worker. Before that, I was a barista. My career path has been anything but traditional. I got a degree in Film. I attended school for Video Game Art Design prior to focussing on Film. I have wandered and meandered to the fantastic position I'm in now, and the truth is I'm not unusual.
Frankly, most people don't know what they want to do when they turn 18. Not really. They may think they do (I did), but they have no experience to know what doing that thing actually entails. For example, when I first went to school for Video Game Art Design, I imagined sitting in a collaborative environment designing levels, coming up with concept art, and writing stories. After a few semesters and talking with some of the people I'd met who had graduated and were working in the industry I realized that the reality was I would be working 12 hour days alone behind a computer cranking out digital art before I got anywhere near the type of environment I wanted. That wasn't for me.
I had taken a couple of film classes and had taken a couple of classes, so thought I would pursue that. I threw myself into it, attending 4 years of classes and attaining a degree, but by the time I graduated I realized that pursuing the types of roles I wanted in the film industry I would need to move away to LA. I wasn't prepared to do that.
While working maintaining the online presence and digital sales for a hat store in the East Bay, a position that I had taken simply to pay the bills, I realized I liked what I was doing, but that there was no room for growth with the company I was at. I began looking for other work, and on the recommendation of a friend I signed up with The Job Shop. In a stroke of good luck, they were looking for someone to take over managing their social media presence. I jumped at the chance.
Here's my point. By letting life take you where it will and not focussing on one set career path, you give yourself the opportunity to arrive at the place that is right for you. I took the hat store position because the construction project I was working on had shut down, and I needed work. When the person who had previously handled their online business left, I volunteered to take over, being relatively tech-savvy. The skills I acquired doing that ended landing me in the best job I've ever had.
A winding path allows you to build a diverse set of skills, as well as teaches you to work in many different environments with many different groups of people (let me tell you, my coworkers at the hat store were VERY different from my coworkers at the construction company). This insight, experience, and perspective cannot be overvalued.
One great way to build your experience, as well as simply experiment with different fields and environments, is to sign up with a temp agency, like I did!
The Job Shop is great, and the recruiters here will be thrilled to work with you to tailor your resume and brush up your career skills, as well as listening to you to identify your needs and priorities.
Take the Winding Path. I did, and I couldn't be happier.