Professional Pathways: The 7-Career Myth Dispelled
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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If you’ve never heard of the seven-year career myth, you’re not alone. Apparently it’s a theory that each person will have seven careers in their lives, and its a common saying among career counselors and advisers.

This common saying has been found to be a myth, with publications and institutions like The Wall Street Journal and the Bureau of Labor statistics supporting the notion that one can’t be sure how many professional paths they may take in their lifetime.

Career strategist Tyler Waye further explores this myth via Brazen Careerist detailing how you can make the most of your career path, whether you change seven times or 70. He writes:

Although you’ll have several jobs during your lifetime, you’ll only have one career
You’ll only have one body of work to shape, create and leave behind. Grandiose as it may sound, it’s true. The belief that we’ll have seven careers during our working lifetime leads us astray because it’s the wrong way to think about work. …

By jumping from career to career, it’s easy to develop a  mentality that says, “I’ll just go do what is asked of me.” In some ways, there’s nothing wrong with that mentality. We all need to learn on the job. But our career learning needs a purpose. It needs a goal that ties it all together.

Successful careers are not built by jumping from one thing to the next without building off previous work. Rather, success comes from becoming good at something.

Waye further advises young professionals to “block out the noise. Jobs can be quickly changed, yet true skill takes time to build. Success doesn’t come any other way.”

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.


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