While most of us have this idea that a career should move in one direction only, forward; the truth is, that sometimes, your career will move sideways, backwards and around in circles. That is just a fact of life for many people and the best way to handle that reality, is to look at the time in between career jumps as bridging jobs. These bridging jobs are something that gets you from one place to another, even if the bridge seems to be well out of your way and on the path to no where, it will help you get where you want to go eventually. It may not be putting you on exactly the right road at the moment but if you stay the course and have an overall goal in mind, this bridging job may turn out to be the best decision you ever made.
Lately, it seems like every Twitter post I read and every time I go into an article on LinkedIn, all I seem to hear about is Generation Y (Millenials) and Generation Z (those born since 1995) and how they will go through as many as ten (at last count) careers in their lifetime. That is a lot of twists and turns and very different from Generation X (those born from 1961 to 1980) and the Baby Boomers, who by and large would have gone into a career after leaving school or college and expected to stay in that job until retirement. The job for life is long since gone for most people, so regardless of whether you are a Generation X, Y, Z or whatever, getting into the mode of thinking that allows you to make the jump from one job and career to another, is going to make your ability to adapt and survive so much easier.
What is a bridging job really for most people, except something that pays the bills and keeps you going until something better comes along. However, if you only look at these jobs with such a narrow focus, you could be missing out on not just the chance to update your skills but also on maybe the next career move for you. Taking a job in a fast food restaurant or working in a call centre may not be what you have dreamed off, particularly if you have spent a considerable number of years pursuing a college degree or Craft Trade but what you get out of it is what you put into it. If it isn't part of your overall career plan and it is important to plan your career and then manage it accordingly, then get what you can out of it, even if that is just a wage and move on as soon as you can. The time is rarely perfect to make that move and the danger with not having a plan when you take a bridging job is one day, five, ten or twenty years later, you could look up and say, hang on a minute, how did this happen, one minute I was on a career path, I took a slight detour and somehow or other I am still here and now I'm stuck.
So how do you avoid the pitfalls of a bridging job.
1. Make a career plan for the next five to ten years and ensure the bridging job is part of
2. Set a definite amount of time that you will stay in the bridging job and then make sure
you stick to that.
3. Look at the skills and training you get from your bridging job and ask yourself which
ones are transferable skills and which ones are job specific. Work on building up the
transferable skills so that you have more to offer the next employer on your career
4. Take a positive and proactive approach to your job search while in your Bridging Job
and stay focused on the prize, a move up the rung on your career ladder.
Bridging jobs are a necessary part of most peoples lives today, it is how you look at them and plan around them, that will make the difference between success or not so much success on your career journey.