We may think of choosing a career path like choosing a train to ride.
We arrive at the station when we graduate from college,
We study the train map and schedule, to decide which is the ‘right’ train to get on.
This decision is agonizing, we strive to absorb as much information as possible and figure out ‘where we want to go’.
We decide, then wait on the platform for the train – the one that is destined for greatness – to arrive.
When it arrives, we board it optimistically, feeling certain that the train and tracks will conspire to carry us to the exact destination we selected, at the time that was promised on the schedule.
Our responsibility is to evaluate the train, and then choose to stay on the this one, or to get off and board another.
But a career path is not a train we board to enjoy a ride. Imagine a career path like going hiking.
When we graduate from college, we carry with us a backpack full of book knowledge and street smarts, warm blankets and extra socks.
We approach the uncharted woods, and consider what direction to head in.
To the right is a patch of evergreen trees, to the left a rocky downhill with a rushing river at the base. In the center, is flat land, with a mountain in the distance.
We choose an initial direction, and then take a step, and another and another.
Within each path, there are opportunities to shape your journey.
After walking for a bit, perhaps we come upon a new clearing, a smaller hill, a field of flowers, or a lookout point.
I suggest we pause to reflect and adjust based on our learnings and new visions.
We walk not in straight lines, but in zig zags and pivots, climbing at times and descending at other times.
We walk, hopefully enjoying the path as much as where we’re headed, and preserving our health and energy for what we hope will be a long and fruitful journey.