I’ve heard the argument many times.
Specialists are the ones who earn great money. The more you distance yourself from the crowd, the less of a commodity you become.
And the more money you’ll cost.
I get it, and it’s a sound line of reasoning. It makes sense, and if that’s your bag, then go get it.
But don’t use it as an argument against Career Motion.
If you make less money as a Career Nomad than as a specialist, then that’s a decision you’ve made. Because if you are applying the same effort and the same creativity to changing careers as to learning a single field, then you should be earning at least as much, if not more.
Remember that transitioning from job to job every couple of years, is not only a lot of fun – but it’s also the beginning of a way of life.
That first set of horizontal moves – maybe for more money, maybe just for the challenge – set you up for a new phase in your career and life.
That phase can be grouped into three categories, each more lucrative than the one before it.
The higher you go in an organization, the further removed you from the expertise that got you there. Think of it as the Peter Principle, without the limitations.
When you’re managing a team of 200 people, can you honestly expect to deliver the same kind of volume as all of them put together? Of course not: that’s why you’re managing them.
The people. While you used to feed the plants, now you’re telling people when to feed them and how much. Then, at another level, you’re deciding what kinds of foods to feed them. Ultimately, you’ll be deciding whether you want the organization to be growing plants at all.
And when you march up the “plant” ladder, your one-on-one connection with the product is gone. You have to be able to know how to schedule hundreds of moving pieces, motivate people to deliver, manage finances so that you can afford to spend what you need, monitor trends so that you know where the company will be down the road.
Need I go on?
Those are all vastly different competencies, and few people possess them. Maybe you work in an organization that has a management develop program, and they’ll be pushing you from one faculty to another. Great! For most people, though, they have to undertake that process themselves.
And when you do, you’ll be executive ready.
Oh, and the compensation for executives? For any decent-sized company, bare minimum should be low six figures – with a ceiling of hundreds of millions.
Eventually you might tire of working for one company at a time (even if you’ve been bouncing around town for the past ten years).
What about working for several – at the same time?
Either with a consulting firm or on your own, the beauty of being a consultant is that you’ll rarely get bored. You could work on ten different projects in a single day, each requiring different sets of attention.
Just like with becoming an executive, those different projects require different competencies. And where you can really add value as a Career Nomad is in your different sets of experiences. You’ve seen more successes, you’ve seen more failures. You’ve seen strategies that were abandoned, you’ve seen different people management concepts in practice.
You’ve built an encyclopedia, and you carry it with you at all times.
And not only can you expect to receive a 25-200% rate increase the moment you become a consultant, but you can take on as many clients as you can handle. So if you feel like slogging away with crazy hours to build a nice nest egg, you can build it waaaaay faster as a consultant.
After working over 60 jobs by age 39, this natural “next phase” became closest to my heart. Maybe I’d just had enough of employers, having had so many of them!
There were other options, such as being a consultant in project management, audit, or government leadership.
But while I’m good in those areas and there is demand for all of them, what really lit up my eyes was the tie that bound them (and many more!) together:
Becoming an entrepreneur deviates from the straight line of the previous two options, which – in a way – make it more consistent with being a Career Nomad. You take the collection of skills and experience you’ve built, and then you take the elements you like, and mold them how you see fit.
My jobs have developed me into a writer, and a coach, and a speaker, and a whole bunch of other things that I will be launching over the next three years.
I’ve made more money this year than in any other year of my life, and I project it rise exponentially over the next 24-36 months.
Pick any option you like
Okay, so I exposed a little bit of bias in that last one – sorry! Once you’ve adopted a wavy, passion-based plan, it’s hard to back to a straight line!
But all three of those next phases await the successful Career Nomad. All of them can earn you wealth, and none of them come with repetition, routine, or boredom. (Sorry, is that another bias that creeped in? I guess you can tell I’m not made to be a specialist.)
Keep at your career motion, and keep giving it your all for as long as you feel contented by it.
Then, when you’re ready, move into the next phase.
Your passion – and your bank account – will be richer for it.
Are there any other “next phases” that await the Career Nomad? Where are you driving your career? Tell us in the comments!