Careers can be funny things. They often go in directions we never anticipate.
In college I was convinced I wanted to become a journalist. I took the appropriate classes, and after graduation applied to journalist jobs. I was excited when I found a job as the crime and government reporter at a small newspaper in a small city in Michigan.
It didn't take long (five months) for me to leave the profession. I liked the writing, I just didn't like the job itself and what it entailed. So I went back to school for an MBA and after graduation embarked on a career in recruitment. Today, I'm a resume writer and career coach.
For those of you counting at home, that's three different professions. And if you had asked me at the very beginning of my career if I wanted to be a staffing manager or a resume writer, I was so naïve and unaware of the world around me that I had no idea either such career path even existed.
The other day I stumbled across a fascinating article on Jalopnik, "How People Become Part of a NASCAR Pit Crew."
Performance cars need a lot of maintenance during a race. After so many laps around the track, the car will roll into the pit (maintenance) area. The pit crew swarms around the car. They jack up the car, change the tires, fill the gas tank, and make repairs. Then the car speeds off and continues the race.
I always thought race teams used mechanics as pit crew members. Some do. But consider this – the whole process takes no longer than 15 or 16 seconds (that's considered long). That's not much time for critical work that requires a great deal of speed and agility. And mechanics aren't always the right fit.
Enter athletes. Elite athletes spend an inordinate amount of time and effort developing their speed and agility. NASCAR got smart, realized that being in a pit crew was an athletic job, and that they could recruit and train athletes to be professional pit members.
Per the article:
"Amongst those 33 crew members [surveyed], more than half did college athletics and another 21 percent did amateur, semi-pro, Olympic or professional sports. Together, nearly three-fourths of the group came from some kind of serious sporting background outside of racing. Only 6 percent had racing backgrounds, and only 6 percent were listed with no athletic background at all."
Even more telling was that only six percent of crew members had a mechanical background, and that only 15 percent stated their "career goal was to be in racing."
Another 46 percent were recruited, scouted, introduced, or lived in the area of the work. In other words, they most likely either had no idea the job of a pit crew member existed or had no idea how they would break into it.
Bottom line: It's a big world out there, with countless vocational possibilities. You may not have found the right career. But don't lose hope - your career may find you!
Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the website,