Be a multi-class character
In Dungeons & Dragons, a multi-class character is someone who has more than one character classes (basically, occupations) -- and the corresponding skills. A Fighter-Cleric, for example: you have Fighter skills and abilities, plus those of a Cleric. Handy -- although the trade-off is a slower advancement in either of those two occupations.
For a number of reasons, I've jumped around in occupations. So I've done a little of food service, some movie theatre work, crating and shipping, and academia. In addition, I have an oddball mix of hobbies and interests (musical instruments, recording, martial arts, woodworking, computers...).
The disadvantage is that it took me a long while to get into my chosen vocation.
But the **ad**-vantage is that I have a unique combination of skills. These have come in handy in job interviews, and on the job.
So: different paths (linear vs. circuitous). But I tend to think that it's better to have a broad base of skills and knowledge. You never know when your oddball ninja skills will come in handy.