Be the car

"Be the Car" by Greg Alder

Some people look at a career like a firework rocket – once launched, there isn’t much you can do about it. You can’t change its direction. You can’t stop it. It travels through space and time until eventually its journey comes to an end. Usually it just fizzles out. Occasionally there’s a spectacular explosion.

For these people, they might regret their career choices after 10 or 20 or 30 years. Do they do anything about it? No.

Why? Some can’t think what else to do. Some just become acceptant of their lot in life. Some are afraid to try something new. Some forget that they have the power to change the direction their careers and their lives are going.

That’s stupid.

Better to think of yourself as a car manufacturer, and your career is your product.

Do car manufacturers launch a vehicle and leave it at that? No. They make constant technological improvements to it. They make their vehicles safer, lighter, faster, more economical, more comfortable, more reliable and recyclable.

They update their vehicle’s styling to keep it aligned with current fashions.

They incorporate technologies developed by other manufacturers. Rolls Royce and Range Rover incorporate adjustable air suspension invented by Citroën.

They get inspiration from other industries. Many cars today include touch screens inspired by smart phones and tablets.

They branch out into other fields – trucks, motorbikes, wrist watches, bicycles, clothing, hotels and saddles.

Lest you think you’re too old to change, remember Bugatti. The marque’s heyday was the 1930s. The brand disappeared in the middle of last century. When Volkswagen resurrected the name at the turn of the century, the new Bugatti stepped confidently into the limelight and was immediately accepted as the fastest, most luxurious car in the world. No questions asked.

Changing direction, staying relevant, improving your skills and adding to your knowledge are things that you can and should do constantly, right through your life.

* The car shown here is a 1950 Auto Union DKW F89. Although stylish, it is primitive next to today’s Audis.

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