5 Awesome Career Lessons Learned from David Bowie

Career lessons from David BowieOne of the career lessons I learned from “American Idol” is that you can’t magically sing just because you want to be a rock star.

Music is also a good metaphor for career choices, and a whole lot of interesting lessons can be learned from the rock scene.

With the recent passing of David Bowie, it had me thinking about what we could all learn from his career.

1. Create Your Own Brand

Be you a celebrity or not, nothing is quite as valuable as your own brand. You need to stand out and make a difference. That means creating a brand for yourself and being clear on what this brand represents.

This doesn’t mean doing a world tour (though if you could get away with that, go for it, because it would be awesome). But it can establish you as a unique personality with a specific skills set. It can mean knowing your strong skills that make you stand out from every other run-of-the-mill, struggling college graduate.

2. Have Flexibility 

David Bowie was popular in the 70s because he had something to offer that crowd, and he was popular until his death because he had something completely different to offer the modern crowd. His career changed radically throughout his life because staying current is crazy important. As a young professional, take a page from his book and embrace flexibility.

Maybe you wanted to major in something back in high school, or you changed your passions three times during your senior year – the important point to remember is circumstances do change, and YOU evolve, grow and embrace new dreams. Good for you! You’re a kick-ass young professional who has the ability to reinvent yourself to match the new environment.

3. Be a Go-Getter

One does not stay as popular as David Bowie without getting out there and getting things done. His persistence to keep his career hot and relevant is what made two whole generations know and love him.

And guess what! It will not always be a walk in the park, but if you want to chase your career dreams, chase them down hard. If you want to build your own thing, grab a glass of wine and start up your own Facebook. Get excited about accomplishing things and get persistent.

4. Take Risks

Oh man, anyone who ever opened up a tabloid knew about David Bowie’s risks. But while some of them paid off and some of them didn’t, risks were not something he stopped taking. And you as a young professional you shouldn’t either. Yes, it can get bumpy along the way.

But when those risks pay off, that’s what you’ll be remembered for.

5. Have an Open Mind

Anyone who’s ever stepped out of their comfort zone knows you have to be open for new opportunities to arise and to accept a different way of thinking. Bowie sure didn’t shy away from those.

The principle applies to starting your professional life as well. It’s vital to be open to “weird” changes, unexpected mistakes, and even some fun opportunities you never expected to knock. Not only will this keep you sane, but it’ll give you tons of awesome experiences.

David Bowie’s legacy is built on quality work and some crazy experiences. Who doesn’t want that? By taking a page from his book and applying some of the weirdest and best tactics to your professional journey, who knows, maybe someone will write an article about you some day.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Campus to Career!


Campus to Career


About the author: Rita Golstein-Galperin is a Career Makeover Strategist® for expat women and the founder of Renaissance Career Impact. She is also an author, entrepreneur, career and leadership coach and sought-after speaker. Rita speaks four languages and dreams traveling the entire world. Her message is meant to inspire and evoke change among fellow expat women. 



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