Because There is No Crystal Ball
Because There is No Crystal Ball: Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans
By Christine A. Shelly
The situation I’m about to describe is probably one you’ve heard before. It could resemble your own story, that of one of your children, or perhaps you have a friend or two that fits the bill. Reflecting on college graduation day as if it happened only yesterday – a bright, energetic 22-year-old with an enviable grade point average and a respectable job offer already accepted, the young lady accepted her hard-earned diploma the same way she earned it: With determination. She had the next two years of her life planned almost to the day, and was poised for an exceptional career in public relations. Her path was calculated, precise, and meticulously planned.
Then, the adventure really began. Funding cuts. Layoffs. New relationships. Car accidents. New jobs. Breakups. The tide of life that carries you ever forward, until one day you look back and the shoreline is gone. This young lady, who had once known exactly what she wanted and how to go about achieving it, became adrift in a sea of indecision and uncertainty. Ten years after graduation day, she decided to pursue her online MBA and now owns and operates a health spa.
Her story is not uncommon. In fact, it’s rare for a career path to be neat and tidy, and even the most organized and well-crafted career plans can quickly get sidetracked. More often, the enjoyable places that we land are a result of a messy combination of hard work, life situations and surprising timing.
Most of us at one point or another find our career paths in the middle of the mess. As you consider your future path, your answers to these five questions can help you find your way:
- What types of jobs are available where I live now? Am I able to move?
- Is it possible for me to work odd hours (if you want to start something new and work your way up) or take on new responsibilities (required for leadership positions)?
- Are there degree or certification programs I will need, and are they well-suited for my financial/family/current employment situation?
- Is it reasonable for me to leave any of my current employment benefits? (pay, seniority, schedule, medical/dental, or others?)
- What would happen if I delayed making a change (either in career or educational pursuits)?
There’s no question that our life paths and career paths are intertwined, and that one can affect the other in numerous ways. The decisions that you make may require taking risks, but calculated risk and well informed decision making can lead to rewarding opportunities for success and accomplishing new goals.
What has helped you make life or career choices? Tell us in the comments below.
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