The best stories have twists and turns. I recently looked at my college transcript and realized that I took so many classes that had nothing to do with my major.
I remember each and every one of the professors and several books we read in literature, film studies, and religion classes. These shaped me and my ideas far more than econometrics.
My career has been similar. I have explored a few industries and was open to snagging random opportunities as they came up. This led me across state lines a few times at various companies and organizations. It made no sense at the time and I felt pressure to thread it all together.
Now I have a different perspective. The more I read and reflect, the more I realize how important exposure to different types of people and situations is. The opportunities that undoubtedly impacted me the most were in the service industry.
I think all young people should wait tables or work in a kitchen at some point during their youth – few jobs are are more humbling. These jobs also pushed me to my physical limits, and helped me realize how strong and resilient I was, which ended up helping me in management roles.
I've been reading a lot about the "whole self" in various leadership books lately. A whole has many parts. The more disparate the parts, the more rich and varied the connections between them are.
I like to think of these liminal spaces between disparate experiences as the story fields of who we are. The are the grounds upon which we discover our true selves, as different experiences bring our likes and dislikes to bear.
So don't be afraid of taking on various jobs and exploring what's out there. Don't be obsessed with your job choices and career decisions looking neat and making sense on paper. Follow your interests and keep an open mind. Have faith in yourself as a strong connector.
My resume is all over the place and I'm the better for it. I'm proud of its kinks and the diverse array of memories it invokes. Most importantly, I enjoy talking about it, which is the strongest interviewing skill to hone.