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The Added Value of My Non-Linear Career Path

By: Ned Khatrichettri, Internship Coordinator for the College of Humanities

Megan Randall

Megan Randall

Within the past thirty years in the United States, there has been a significant shift away from the ‘work one job until retirement’ career structure. Substantial changes in the global economy, advancements in travel and communication technology, an increase in contractual and online employment and evolving attitudes and values associated with work are factors which have contributed to this change. Now it is the norm to have an average of five to seven jobs in unrelated areas throughout one’s lifespan.

Megan Randall, M.A. is an undergraduate career coach in the Career Professional Development Center. Her professional trajectory has been nonlinear, which is more common now than it has ever been. Randall’s experiences underscore the importance of remaining flexible, having realistic expectations and making the best of one’s situation throughout their career. Food caterer, blueberry picker, dining hall server, undergraduate research assistant, residential life staff, English language instructor in Tanzania and Boston, barista, on-site study abroad program assistant in Nicaragua and crêpe maker are just some of the many roles Megan held prior to getting her first position at the U as a Learning Abroad Coordinator.

“I’m grateful for my varied career path,” said Randall. “The connections I’ve made with individuals who have identities, cultures and upbringings unlike my own have helped me learn so much about myself and the world. Even with the many short-term customer service jobs I held just to make ends meet at certain times in my life, I’ve realized how much they gave me the space and time I needed then to reflect on and decide what I wanted to do next in my career. These transitional moments and the relationships I built along the way prepared me to leverage my transferable knowledge and skills and discuss my accomplishments with employers in an engaging way that highlights the unique value I bring.”

Job change can be dauting and can upend our sense of routine and stability. Fear, doubt  and/or stress are perfectly normal reactions to uncertainty. On the other hand, excitement can also ensue when you start something new.

“It’s okay to figure out your career one step at a time, like I have, especially when you aren’t sure what career you want to have in the end. Most people have no idea either, myself included! Be open to change, trust yourself and the process. Know that all of the transferable knowledge and skills you gain along the way, no matter which jobs you hold, will help you learn more about yourself and inform your next steps in your career journey,” said Randall.

Book an Appointment and Learn More

Please book an appointment with the College of Humanities Internship Coordinator, Ned Khatrichettri, to discuss your respective situation. Ned is available to meet with you online through Zoom.


Last Updated: 2/22/22