Very few people have a single-minded career focus these days. This is caused by a variety of factors, including detailed television portrayals of jobs, broad-based school curricula, and a general growth in entrepreneurism. Whatever the cause, you may find yourself at a bit of a crossroads, with two (or more!) fields in mind and a tough challenge in choosing between them. Perhaps all those years of enjoying celebrity chefs on television have spurred an interest in the culinary arts. The idea of becoming a professional chef may be very appealing to you. But at the same time, you don’t mind to crunch some numbers along with crunching some celery. You enjoy greeting customers and making small talk with them. As a result, you find yourself at the intersection of Cooking Street and Management Boulevard, wondering which way to turn. The answer: Take them both. Get training in both the cooking side and the hospitality management side, and work your way toward owning a restaurant of your own.
There are many similar careers out there. Dismiss the image of factory workers racking up eight hours of monotony per day. There are lots of intersections similar to our example that can get you into two separate but potentially very satisfying fields simultaneously–without having to work two jobs! Here are a few of the common junctions.
Science Drive & Logistics Avenue
Most scientific processes don’t just involve stuff coming in and stuff coming out. You don’t just count out Mr. Smith’s heart pills, then Mrs. Garcia’s arthritis capsules. The inputs and outputs you handle have to get from Point A to Point B. They must be stored, catalogued, inventoried, and monitored. And that work takes people who not only understand the science of the work being done, but also like to organize, plan, and document what is being done.
For example, cryogenics labs store massive quantities of important evidence, tissue samples, and countless other biological items. As bio-storage facilities are upgraded and expanded, there is considerable lab moving work that must be done. If you’re a scientific organizer–or an organized scientist–jobs like these are right up your alley.
Medical Road & People Place
Medical care these days is far broader than it’s ever been. For decades, the general philosophy was that if you felt bad, you went to a doctor and got a cure. But as time has gone on, we have learned more about prevention and avoidance of many different medical problems. Heading off those issues takes action years in advance of the onset of symptoms. So you don’t see a doctor after you have a heart attack, you visit one regularly for years to make sure you never actually have one.
If you have a bedside manner suitable for more than just a single patient, yet you love the inner workings of the human body, this could be your calling. Health educators are experienced practitioners of various types who also enjoy interacting with groups at companies, families, civic groups, and so forth. Their job is to make people better caretakers of their own health. And they get the enjoyment of not just helping people learn, but of helping them learn something that could save their lives.
Action Alley & Investigation Heights
Now we’re talking television stuff here. Law enforcement, firefighting, and even the military are the place you want to be if you like a nice slice of adrenaline with your gumshoe tendencies. TV has given us the impression that it’s all car chases and gunplay, which could steer some people away from it. Realistically, the average cop never fires a shot in an entire career and spends a lot more time on paperwork, collecting evidence, and talking to people than on squealing down narrow city streets chasing an international drug kingpin.
Exiting Route Role Player & Merging Onto Management Highway
One key to remember is that there is the potential to diversify over time as you gain knowledge on the job. It’s much like being a professional athlete. In your earliest seasons, you know your role and you go out there and execute. Then you spend a little time on the sidelines, eavesdropping on coaches and spying clipboards. You begin to follow the drafting and personnel process. You catch yourself wondering about salary cap room. and before long, you have retired as a player and landed a role in coaching. You didn’t major in Coaching Science during college. You just listened, learned, and asked questions, and it has paid rewards.
So it is in any job. How many executives started in the mailroom? Did your state senator get a start stuffing envelopes on somebody else’s campaign? Formal or informal, on-the-job training can multiply the value of your classroom education and let it take you places that you may have never expected.