The Realities of Sticking With One Profession Your Whole Life

The Positives of Gaining Valuable Experience

Sticking with a single profession for one’s whole working life is in some sense the “traditional,” tried-and-true model. It’s what many of our parents did, and did successfully—and it’s worth remembering that there are good reasons for that. In fact, for many workers today, it is still the most attractive lifestyle choice. For one thing, it can make you more employable. Should you ever want to change companies, even within the same profession, potential employers often value the fact that you’ve put in the time learning a specific business. It demonstrates persistence and means you probably have considerable expertise in your field.

In addition, if you stick to one area, you will be able to gain seniority and leadership roles in that area, instead of having to prove yourself anew in every job you take on. Some people complain that sticking with one profession is boring, but if it’s a good fit, the routine will be better described as stable. If your work life is relatively predictable, it will leave more time for you to explore and experiment with other parts of your life. Instead of switching careers to pursue your changing interests, you can instead develop your new interests as hobbies.

The Limitations of a Lifetime Career

Of course, sticking with a single profession does not work for everyone. Changing professions is increasingly common as workers begin to recognize the potential pitfalls of sticking to just one. Though a single career could mean stability, it could also translate to “putting your eggs in one basket.” The job market is uncertain, and if your skills are not transferable, you may find yourself in a lurch if you do lose your job mid-career. In this day and age, having a guaranteed lifetime career isn’t always realistic, so it’s important to have at least another option on the backburner. You could also become disabled, and lose the capacity to do the single specific job you’re trained to do—though in this case, say J.B. Bieske and Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law, you may be entitled to Social Security benefits.

In the personal realm, you simply may not find it rewarding to stay with a single career forever. When you consider your career holistically, as just one part of your whole life, you may find that changing careers is motivating and energizing. We all change as we get older, and there’s nothing wrong with that; what worked for us at age 25 may not work for us at age 35, and our priorities might be different again at 45.

Giving yourself the chance to try different things may lead to real personal growth and development. Each new opportunity will teach you new skills, connect you to more people, and make you more flexible. As employers also begin to appreciate this, they are more and more accepting of career changes on a résumé. Doggedly sticking to one profession may even prevent you from taking advantage of a great opportunity that comes your way.