I’ve recently been faced with a few career decisions. I’ve had some opportunities crop up that are tantalizing with a side of “I’m not sure this is really the right choice for me right now.” To be clear, they are really wonderful options – good pay, interesting work, nice people. But in each there is a key ingredient that makes me think I should pass. Either the flexibility in schedule isn’t there or the work doesn’t feel like the best use of my time.
These decisions feel like the textbook definition of “the fork in the road.” It would be easy on some level to take these jobs and I’d be good at them. Here’s the morbid, though quite helpful, question I keep coming back to: what if this is it? Post-Sandy, we’re hearing about people who lost their lives despite following all directions and making good decisions. This grim idea gives me pause. I’m not any different from these people. That could have been me, and perhaps a bit too easily.
These are the tough questions, ones that don’t have any right or wrong answers. Isn’t it now, on the tail end of youth prior to solidly moving into middle age, that I can really take every chance to firmly commit to joy in my work? And isn’t that the choice that could have an expiration date? Down the line, won’t there be some job that I could do that feels a bit less like joy and a bit more like selling out that I could take if I really needed to?
This is the hero’s journey and I am in the midst of the “challenges and temptations” portion of the trip. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where character is formed and tested. Revelation and transformation lie in wait just around the bend. And it is not easy.