I recently had reason to remember a moment in my life. A time when I seemed be stuck in a rut.
It was near the end of an era in this country. An era the sustained employer/employee loyalty and devotion for a life’s career. A time when you left college and began a career, not just a job. Today, so many people just hop from job to job, looking for new challenges, primarily because employers no longer support employee loyalty. I was near the end of the era that still looked to loyalty, and I stayed for 33 years. I might have stayed longer, but things came together, doors opened (or closed, as the case may be) and so I retired, only to play a support role on contract for another six years.
But there in the mid-point of my career, and on my third and probably my final job function, I noticed a dead end before me I had moved out of state, away from my employers headquarters and there seemed to be no new function available. Frustration mounted, repetitiveness bred boredom, which bred dissatisfaction. Sure, my employer offered me lower-management positions, but then an across the country move was required.
Surely, I knew enough people in large corporate upper midwest America that something would develop here, but no, I couldn’t get an opportunity to open up. I fretted on my situation for a long time, finally I made a decision. I would reposition myself. I needed to obtain some professional credits, establish certain accreditation, look for a small (7-10 person) service firm, start on the ground floor and then buy it in 7 years. I was elated, I had a plan, a new goal. A modest drop in pay initially would have to be absorbed, but in the long run it would be better. It would take about 2-3 years to position myself for the initial step. Did I mention that age was a concern in the back of my mind? Let’s not be fooled, THERE IS AGED DISCRIMMINATION in all of corporate America. I began my re-positioning at age 42. I needed to find a new employer by age 45, or be stuck forever!
I had barely begun my course of action, when the phone rang in the middle of the night. There had been a change in my employers leadership, I was being called back for an interview! Interview, dang, I already had my plans in motion.
Stuck! Stuck I was, between two avenues, my planned new direction or instantaneously promoted to something bigger!
I flew in for the interview, yes I did. I might as well listen. Interestingly, I was never told what I was being interviewed for, but that many positions were available.
Ok, so I didn’t listen! Rather I arrived with an agenda. I explained what directions needed to be taken, what position I wanted, what I expected to be paid and what it would take to bring me back. (Whew, getting back on the plane, I knew I was safe, they could never meet my demands)
Two weeks later in the middle of the night, I got a call, “when can you be here?” Stuck I was, with a direction I hadn’t really wanted to go, but I would be moved past lower management, past middle managed up to Department head.
I hadn’t asked for enough!!!
Sometimes life seems like a rut. Sometimes you feel like your wheels are spinning. Sometimes you think you need to set a course, or drown. But sometimes you’re just waiting to be re-directed.
There is a plan, guided by someone greater than you and you are a part of it.