Career stages lessons from Dali and BTS
Learn from Dali and BTS how to have career stages

Save your soul like Dali and BTS

Career stages planning is even for Korean Boy (now men) Band, BTS who are now taking a “sabbatical”. The seven of them are sort of the Korean Beatles, but with possibly more influence amongst their followers, the BTS Army. They say they are taking a break to explore their individual “voices”. But some members are more vocal, pun intended, that they have run out of things to say. Celebrity leaves no time to mature as an individual. The issues that are important to you ten years ago may not be the same later.  Success may have made you happy. As RM one of the BTS members says in an interview the purpose of BTS was to find happiness. And now that he’s got it, does he have to do BTS for the next 100 years?

That’s a clarity that many of us struggle with. If we aren’t born with a golden spoon, we work in order to fund our happiness. If we are happy and have sufficient money to maintain that happiness, do we have to continue to work? Now if BTS were a bot they could go on forever singing whatever the audience wanted to hear. But as they are not, they have to do some career stages planning. In their case from band to solo artists.  

The career stages of BTS

The perils of being strongly identified with a target audience is that you grow old along with them. And that cohort may not be as lucrative to marketers as their younger versions were. As they move from boy band to man band – in other words career stages – BTS has realised that challenge – it’s hard to talk about issues that are no longer yours. Its easy to croon about lost love as a happily married adult with kids.  Ditto musicians appealing to pre-teens – it’s hard to keep writing songs about that theme when you have grown up. It’s doable but not fun.

Artists thus start as bands, then become soloists, and then, if they are lucky and do proper career stages planning become “pop icons” and have a voice on issues they care about.  Those who don’t often crash and burn. 

The Purpose of Work

Back to that home truth from BTS. If the object of working was to make money and buy yourself some happiness, why continue when you’ve got your loot sorted? Why not just sing your own song instead? Or outsource the trouble to a bot? I recently did a podcast with my former colleague from Wipro, Kapil Khandelwal who has moved from consulting to entrepreneur to investor investment and does podcasting for fun. We talked about influencer marketing and my book, but also about how we should keep doing different things.

(I wrote about the Queen’s ability to do the same role for 70 years in an earlier newsletter.)

As life expectancy rises we need to think beyond just a single career and use the privilege of our extended life spans to live multiple lives.

We could think of career stages as follows:

the first gig is for money, the second for fame, the third for influence, and the fourth for joy. 

Write in and tell me what you think!

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Jessie Paul is the Founder and CEO of Paul Writer, a firm she founded in early 2010 to raise the bar for marketing in India. Previously, as Chief Marketing Officer of Wipro’s IT business and as Global Brand Manager at Infosys, Jessie has been recognized for her contribution towards putting the Indian IT industry on the global map. With over 18 years in services marketing, including a stint with Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Jessie is considered an expert in brand globalization and has been named one of the most influential business women in the Indian IT industry.


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