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3 Pillars to a Long and Successful Career

Expect to have a long career. Now figure out how to build a successful and fulfilling one.

Carol Yang

It’s in our human nature to choose instant gratification over long-term rewards. So not surprisingly, we also make career decisions that favour immediate rewards over long-term success. But as a typical career lasts over 45 years, we need to rethink how we build a long and successful career.

With increasing life expectancy, most of us can expect to have longer careers. In his book, The Long View, Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Worldwide Chief Talent Officer of The Ogilvy Group, suggests that we think of our career more like a marathon, rather than a sprint. 

Running a marathon means that we need to pace ourselves, and ensure that we have the right plan for each phase of the journey. To ensure that we can leverage opportunities at every stage of our career, we should focus on these three pillars –

Build transferable skills

Identifying your innate talents is just the starting point. What’s even better is shoring up on skills that are in demand and transferable regardless of industry or profession. Invest in yourself to strengthen transferable skills like leadership, communication and emotional intelligence. That way, you will stay ahead of the pack in a job market that is rapidly changing.

Seek out diverse experiences

Take some risk to step out of your comfort zone. Round out your experience by working in different industries, or abroad in a different country. The learning and experience you gain is priceless and will be highly valued by future prospective employers.

Develop enduring relationships

It’s not about the numbers. It’s about developing the right network that can support you on your career journey. Among them will be influencers and champions who can help you achieve your long-term career goals.

When we take the long view, it’s easy to see that accumulating wealth is only just one aspect of a successful career. We can never forget our health, relationships and long-term happiness. 

What we also quickly realise is that it’s worth investing the time to figure out how to be an expert at something we truly enjoy doing. If not, we might find ourselves stuck doing something we hate for the next 40 years. Now that’s a sobering thought.





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