I just came across this article about how to figure out what the “power second act” in your career can be. One key tip is to keep cultivating your network and benefiting from mentorship. Indeed, networking and mentorship continue to be important throughout your career, even as you become more senior.
Some of my own work also highlights the impact of networking and mentorship throughout your career. We studied developmental networks—the set of usually four to five individuals you see as taking an active interest in and making a concerted effort to help you in your career—throughout your career. We found that people’s developmental networks actually change in terms of the amount of support they provide and they ways in which they are structured over time. What’s most important in determining these changes isn’t anything about you, such as your gender or the industry you work in; rather, it’s the size of your network. Although you may think that “more is better” when it comes to networks, we actually found that, over time, smaller developmental networks can provide you with more career and psychosocial support; can be more diverse in terms of providing you with beneficial access to a wider range of information and ideas; and can be made up of stronger ties.
So, if you’re contemplating what’s next in your career, keep in mind the power of your developmental network—and that more is not necessarily better. Even if your developmental network isn’t exactly as you would like it to be today, it can and will change.