You started to see them everywhere. A new type of people are disrupting traditional businesses or career paths despite their unusual background or insufficient experience in that area. I call them ‘’Hybrids’’. These people either come from unexpected career paths or combine unusual experiences together. Eventually, Hybrids tend to be more successful than others with usual backgrounds. Examples include: An employee in a corporation turning into an entrepreneur, a finance manager turning into a marketer or a local employee going abroad and coming back with hybrid experience. In most cases, hybrids take an unusual decision to disrupt themselves, often by changing their sphere. Sometimes, it’s driven by necessity such as being fired from a job, or out of curiosity to learn new skills in a new job. Whatever the reason is, we are living in a world which started to reward hybrids more than ever. Why? Because the definition of traditional careers are changing. Being a master in one function isn’t enough to have a stable job and income because almost every business function such as management, marketing, finance, HR, supply chain or sales are being disrupted due to technology. Secondly, the internet started to disrupt even the most traditional businesses such as real estate, banking, taxi ordering or individual transport. This is forcing the corporate people to act like entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs to learn the ways of the corporations to be efficient.And this is creating lots of opportunities for hybrids to take on bigger, important, key roles, jumping few steps together in their careers. So how can you hack your career? Become a hybrid. Here are some tips about how to do it:
Disrupt and re-invent yourself. Most people don’t want to change the profession or the industry because they want ‘’Stability’’ against volatility. For example, in Russia, where I live and work, business and economy were chaotic in the past 2 decades. But the greatest risk to ‘’Destabilize’’ one’s career is to ask for stability, because the world is changing at a speed that we never experienced before. In Moscow five years ago, it was common to take ‘’any car’’ on the way as taxi, by raising a hand. Now, we tap our screen to get a taxi in few minutes. This level of disruption will hit many industries and careers with it. 10 years ago, it was super cool and a well sought skill to be able to brief an agency and shoot TV advertising and manage a 200,000 $ budget production. Right now, the same cost is reduced by 10 times as we do it for digital and scrap it if it doesn’t work. So let me give you an example: One of my mentees left a promising FMCG marketing career and pursued a pure digital role in an e-commerce company despite the advise of everyone around her. While it was challenging to succeed in her first role, she was hired by a leading e-commerce company as Chief of Marketing, at the age of 28. Why? Because it’s very rare to find people who are experienced in both traditional and digital marketing at the same time. By taking on a big risk, she hacked her career to the top. In the long run, the more you learn, the more you earn.
Have an open mind. Try, fail, learn, repeat. One of the strongest foundations of Russia is its strong education system especially at university degree level. The emphasis is on functional expertise, therefore, Russia has traditionally been strong in engineering, technology and science. But the same education system (as anywhere else in the world), is not preparing people to take on risks to innovate. By extension to the business world, you are traditionally placed in leadership roles because of your knowledge, rather than your ability to adapt. To be a hybrid, you need to take some risks with your work and even your career. Instead of avoiding failure, you should seek failure in small ways so that you can learn a lot from them. Most successful business people say that they failed massively many times. So, here’s an idea: Imagine a good MBA program costs 50,000 $. It’s not cheap at all. But instead of investing this amount to MBA and learning things that you can learn on Google, I recommend investing to 10 start-ups with 5000 $ each and learn 10 different industries inside out. You may not have the fancy MBA title, but you might get something far more valuable: Failing 10 times, gives you super hero skills in business life. Because instead of learning ‘’knowledge’’ you should learn the ‘’skill to learn and adapt’’ which makes people more successful under any given circumstances. And who knows, maybe one of the start-ups might be successful.
Believe that it will all work out. No job is perfect. Because you need to balance between three things: Job Satisfaction, Money and Lifestyle when choosing a job. Often, you need to sacrifice one to get the others. My approach is to always go for stretch on two measures and then try to make the third one better with my creativity. Imagine you love your job and it pays well. But it doesn’t allow you much time with your family. Then you should take your family time as a project and treat it as business to improve your relationship, instead of sacrificing it. To be a hybrid, you need to constantly evaluate where you need to move next and which aspect (job satisfaction, money, lifestyle) you are ready to compromise. But going after what you want, makes you happier in the short run, which makes you successful in the long run. I haven’t met a person who left a job that they hated and regretted that. So be courageous to take the next step to re-invent yourself, because staying in the same place going after ‘’stability’’ is more dangerous in the ever changing world.
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