THE BLOG
08/04/2014 10:20 am ET | Updated Oct 04, 2014

Diversity Can Save Your Career

So you think you've found your dream job? Great coworkers, great company, and interesting work can make a job seem like you've "made it". But what do you do now? Do you settle for where you're at in the name of stability, or do you "risk" trying something else in the name of diversity? In many cases, the job you consider your dream job might only be a precursor to something bigger and better, but if you stop now, you might never find that out. And in some cases, being known as a "one horse show" can make you vulnerable to being laid off if things get slow. So why diversify your career background?

In the last few years, many employers have been finding added benefit in hiring workers who come with diverse backgrounds. In the past, someone with a varied background might of been considered lacking focus or even chaotic. Employers wanted square pegs to drop into square holes. But this was when there were plenty of jobs to go around, and employers could afford to have a guy or gal who did nothing more than make Xerox copies for a living. The availability of jobs meant that it was acceptable for a person to be hired to do just one simple thing and be paid for it. It became apparent that there were millions of jobs like this.

The onset of the recession had an effect of weeding out many of these simple jobs out of companies. Many people who lost their jobs realized just how expendable their jobs were. Part of the expedability came from the fact that many people were only good at one thing and one thing only. Being that specialized meant that you became a target as soon as the economy slowed down.

The new paradigm is the "Swiss Army Knife" employee. If you have multiple talents, you become an asterisk on many hiring manager's lists. A worker who can do many things is an employee who can cover many jobs. Of course there can be a down side to this. Talented employees tend to be come "go to" employees, which means that everyone will probably got to you when they need something. But we got to work to do work and make money, and in the big picture if you're working, you're not looking for a job, and that's a good thing.

In many cases, employees with multiple talents will find themselves turning down jobs. Companies have realized that workers like these are few and far between, so talented employees are always in demand because they are able to offer more to their employers.

So as you develop your career, it may benefit you to find jobs that allow you to do more than one thing. Diversifying your career background can lay the groundwork for your future as a sought-after employee -- one who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his or her work, enhancing both your company and your coworkers. Be willing to learn everything that you can about different jobs.

Because a one horse show doesn't sell very many tickets, and making Xerox copies for a living isn't a real career...