You may have moved to Hollywood with a very specific goal in mind – you wanted to be a screenwriter for half-hour comedies, a development executive at a premium cable network, or a high-powered agent. And setting a goal like that is a big deal, something that you’ve probably put a lot of pressure on yourself to achieve. If you’re able to achieve that goal and are totally happy in your career, great! But for many, that’s not the case. If your career isn’t going the way you’d planned, have you failed?
Sometimes you start down a path, and on the way, you discover something else that you’re really passionate about. But you haven’t reached your initial goal yet – do you give up? What if you’ve reached the goal and aren’t happy in your job – has all the time you’ve put into your current career been a waste? The decision of what to do next is entirely up to you, but don’t get down on yourself or feel like a failure because your career trajectory isn’t going as expected. Think about everything you’ve learned along the way and the people you’ve met. There are probably quite a few specific things you can identify that have had a profound impact on your life, and none of them would have happened if you hadn’t gone on this journey. And through this learning experience, you’ve also learned what you like and don’t like, and that can help you determine the next best step. Maybe you stick it out, make a few changes, and things will get better on your current path. Or maybe you pivot and find an entirely new job, maybe even in a new industry – that’s perfectly fine!
The most important thing to remember is that careers evolve. It’s rare to see someone advance on a linear trajectory that was technically “perfect” – there was likely an unpleasant job or departure from industry norms along the way, and it’s all a learning experience. Industries evolve as well – there are new types of roles popping up all the time, so something that didn’t even exist when you set your original goal could now be a possibility, which is exciting! Embrace it. If your career evolves away from your original goal, you’re not a failure. You’re a human with diverse interests and a range of capabilities, and that’s something to celebrate!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan