Last month I wrote a blog entitled Which Career Version Are You In? I shared some of my thoughts about career patterns and a bit of my own story. Since then, I have heard from several of my readers and clients sharing their stories. Each story is a bit different, and yet, there are common themes. As I continue to explore these themes, I will be sharing them in this blog..

It seems the place to start is, of course, at the beginning. Career Version 1.0 is the stage where we are first trying to figure it all out. Some of us chose the traditional route, i.e., we graduated high school, went to college for four years, and then started in the work world.

For others, particularly it seems with entrepreneurs, the route may have been more circuitous. Those of us in this category may have attended college, maybe not right after graduating from high school, or perhaps skipped college, or left to start a business.

Whatever the preparatory part was, or not, we ended up in the work world on a path toward independence. What I am beginning to wonder is the path we choose toward Version 1.0, a predictor of when and what we choose for later versions?

It is this question that I am pursuing as I learn more about choices my clients have made and are making today.

For me, as I shared in my earlier blog on this topic, I chose, or perhaps more accurately, fell into, the circuitous path. As a young woman entering the workforce in the early seventies, there were few female role models. Only two women were in senior roles at my first company. One, who became a mentor, started her career at age 45 after raising her children; and the other was near the end of hers, having never married nor had children. While my mentor was someone, I admired and learned from, at age 16, neither story resonated. So, I watched and attempted to follow the male mentors and role models I had. I pursued a corporate career and went back to correct the education I had missed.

It wasn’t until I hit the early part of Version 2.0, where one begins to accumulate some savings/wealth, that choice became an option. And that led to becoming an entrepreneur. Ironically my father was an entrepreneur and he got there following the circuitous path. He, too, started in a corporate job, briefly joined his family business, and then a few years later founded his company.

When I think about stories of  leaders I know who followed the circuitous path, some founded their business early on, but many followed the traditional “get a large corporate job and work your way up” and then veered left. We may have departed the large-corporate world for a privately held company, started a business or some combination thereof.

I will share some of these stories in coming weeks as I begin to sort out whether there are patterns in our early choices that predict choices when we reach 2.0 and 3.0.

Let’s work together. You can learn more about my leadership coaching and peer advisory boards here.

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