I came across this great quote from a US Statesman in the early part of the 20th century. It really got me thinking about how I struggle with expectations and obligations, and the choices that I make.
Jobs are great, but feeling a lot less secure than they used to. Society is changing – quickly – and nobody really knows what the right path is. That means that “security” is often just a temporary situation, and depends as much on luck as on your own behavior.
A job is just an exchange: You agree to change your behavior for a certain number of hours a week, in exchange for money in the short term and some kind of expectation of longer term security. That longer term might be a month, a year, or a decade, depending on your employer and the industry. But we’ve all come to recognize that images of long term security are often based more on wishes than anything absolute.
But that’s the way it’s always been, if you think about it. Fifty years ago, people might be able to stay with a single employer for an entire career, but that “security” was based on advances in technology, the whims of the market, the decisions of politicians, even the possibility of natural disasters.
What’s different now is that these things are changing at a much more rapid rate than before. Which means that NObody is able to make true long term commitments about your job.
What it comes down to, then, is making choices in your life. That’s what you DO control, but often leave up to other people.
Here’s a simple example: “I HAVE to go to work today!” Well, no, actually that’s not an absolute. It’s a choice. Which has impacts, of course, but let’s think about this. On the positive side, going to work will please some people, it will bring you some pay, and increase the likelihood of pay and “security” in the future. On the negative side, it takes you away from your family, and takes your time and energy away from other things you might be doing. Like taking steps toward your future career. Or helping people in need.
The reason for doing this exercise is to realize that even such a fundamental action is still a choice, one which you should make consciously. Not that every morning you’d get up and ponder your role in the universe – that’s a bit esoteric – but there’s a time and a place for questioning how you’re using your time, energy, and money.
William Jennings Bryan liked to frame this as working toward your Destiny, but perhaps you relate more to other ideas such as career and life goals. The quote is just as true: You’re not going to make significant progress in ANY direction of your choosing until you make some choices.
Some choices might be tough, but nobody said life was going to be easy.
|Carl Dierschow is a Certified Small Fish Business Coach and author of the career management guide, Mondays Stink! 23 Secrets to Rediscover Delight and Fulfillment in Your Work. He is a career coach for those going through interesting transitions, and works with small business owners who need to create breakthroughs in achieving their business goals. Find out more at www.Dierschow.com and www.SmallFish.us.
If you are interested in individual career coaching, group coaching, or other resources which might help you with difficult choices, please contact Carl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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