Your Career Path: Never a Straight Line

NASCAR team owner Roger Penske said this about luck. “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” [1] Finding the right career or landing that prized job is rarely luck, but when one is prepared and the opportunity arises; positive things happen. You may never know where the next opportunity will take you or alter the path of your career. In life, knowledge is the best preparation for success. And knowledge is the result of education honed by experience. The journey of life is a winding road where one encounters obstacles, and a career is rarely a straight path. The decision to alter our path is seldom our decision, but important to not lose one’s bearing, and be prepared for change.


Build on What You Learn

Pieces of a puzzle have little in common when compared side-by-side. But when the pieces are assembled, they create the complete work. The same can be said for job skills. A particular skill may have nothing in common with another skill, but all are essential for a well-rounded employee or job-seeker. On most job sites, workers are required to have OSHA certifications, knowledge of basic first-aid skills, and safety training. No matter if you are an electrician, welder, carpenter, or a pipefitter, you will be expected to maintain these skills. All persons on a site will have these, and many other, basic skills in common. Having these skills will make you more marketable to a prospective employer.


Do a Little More

One should not limit themselves by being reluctant to learn new things or having the mindset to only do their job description. An electrician that is trained in various low voltage systems would have more opportunity than someone that just knew one area such as fire alarm or CCTV. The same can be said of businesses. Successful corporations have programs in place to ensure business continuity by having cross-trained employees. Cross-training also creates promotion opportunities. Chris Cancialos, an entrepreneurship contributor with Forbes, writes that some organizations cross-train to prepare an employee to move up [2]. Individuals can do the same by cross-training themselves with online courses or other training.

A career is a journey, and one rarely stays on the path where they began. Life is not a straight line between two points, and one must focus on creating opportunity. Education provides knowledge, and knowledge equals opportunity. To expand one’s knowledge is to make yourself more marketable and create opportunities.



[1] – Matt Yocum. (June 8). Tracking the Intimidator’s two-year plan [Online]. Available FTP:


[2] – Chris Cancialosi. (September 2014). Cross-Training: Your Best Defense Against Indispensable Employees [Online]. Available FTP: