Author Barbara Sher is known for coining the term “Scanner” to refer to people who wish to incorporate more than one interest in their careers or who wish to have multiple careers in a lifetime.
Through her books, including Refuse to Choose, Ms. Sher has helped to shift a paradigm for a number of people. The one which sticks out to me lately is the eating analogy.
When you wish to change careers, says Ms. Sher, you are not necessarily a quitter.
You are like someone at dinner. Discontinuing an interest is like putting down your utensils and pushing back the plate; you have had your fill and you are ready for the next course. Others might not understand this. “Why would you stop working for that company before retirement?,” they may ask, puzzling at your decision. Well, others have their appetites and you have yours.
I would further add to the analogy that this dinner, this career path that fits your appetite, does not always come with a waiter. Often your career path – especially the entrepreneurial career path- is like a buffet. When you’re ready for the next thing, you’ll have to put in more effort than just sitting there. You’ll have to get up and get it yourself.
Going to the buffet is understandably frightening; many of us are not accustomed to that. What if there is not enough there to sustain me and I starve? (e.g. An industry niche that is too small to be profitable) What if the buffet is overcrowded with other people? (Over-saturated market) What if I can’t even find the buffet table? (How do I find my career niche?)
It’s true. Entrepreneurial consultants cannot guarantee your success (any more than an employer can guarantee you that he or she will still be in business next year). But they can understand your needs and point to an appropriate banquet; it’s up to you to eat.