Stepping Stones

Life is understood looking backward but lived looking forward. True, isn’t it? We seldom see the path before us and where, over time, the myriad of branches leads, but opportunities are nevertheless around every twist and corner. Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief, is credited with aptly saying, “…one opportunity leads directly to another, just as risk leads to more risk, life to more life, and death to more death.” All month we’ve focused on appearances—in social media, in the meet & greet, in first impressions and in the handling of finances.

Let’s take it a step further this last week of April and talk about opportunities. They are often masked as problems or hard work, and thereby are not recognized. Don’t look for the glamorized idea of silver platters…scams promising quick and easy money dot everyday life with a host of disappointments. Look instead at the people you meet, the relationships you forge, the skill sets you develop. These stepping stones lead to success

Many of you see yourself on the pathway to a dream job, but you need side gigs, and here’s why. Your resume needs to be dotted with entries showcasing a wide range of abilities. Take a friend of mine, Bill. He went to college to become an electrical engineer. The job market grew tight and he ended up working in a variety of other jobs: as a school teacher, as a store clerk for an electronic company, as a building contractor in construction. His dream job was the result of his total background: managing facilities for a huge corporation. They wanted him because he knew about construction, could explain issues to employees, understood the large and small aspects of electronics, and had a degree. Fresh out of college he’d never have gotten the job. His opportunity dropped into his lap because of the side gigs he’d had through hard times.

Side gigs also added discretionary income to a tight budget. Bill appreciated the opportunity to pad the budget with funds that didn’t require a commitment. Think about it. Many a suit in HR looks for someone who promises longevity. They look for someone who says, “Oh no, I don’t want a family” so they don’t have to deal with maternity leave. They look for someone who says, “Move? Never! I love it here,” so they don’t have to retrain new employees all over again. A side gig comes with fewer strings attached. It offers greater flexibility. The opportunity of a side gig pads your wallet with some extra money each month.

If your stepping stones feel like baby steps, remember that they lead to a glorious finish. It doesn’t matter where you are in the process. What matters is achieving your objectives. The Muse offers seven reasons why a side gig is a great opportunity. Think about it: You broaden your appeal to future employers and you increase your bottom line. When you put your best foot forward and look for it, opportunity will fall into place.

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