What would you do if you were in your mid-twenties and had to choose between two awesome job opportunities? What if one was located in Boston and the other one was in Orlando? What if one left you standing on the field next to Randy Moss during an NFL football game, while the other had you working on computer security for the Presidential Helicopter? What if one required you to give up 55 hours of your life every week, but the other one monotonously made you feel like you had worked 55 hours a week? What if one filled your time with exotic intangible benefits, while the other promoted paid education and promotion? What if one permitted you to interact with clients in a t-shirt and jeans, while the other made you dress up to sit in an office chair for 8 hours? What if colleague camaraderie was packaged with industry instability and tedious work environment was tied to elite job title? What if one made sense right now, but the other one was more practical in the long term? Would you live for now or prepare for later? We flew from Orlando to Boston in a desperate attempt to answer these questions. We will be in Boston for the next 48 hours…
Have you ever felt unappreciated? Have you ever felt like all your efforts are taken for granted? I know I’ve been down that road a time or two, and until recently I wasn’t sure my labors would pay off. But they did. Last week I was contacted by my previous employer. They basically told me I was a valuable asset, they were upset when I left, and that they are prepared to make me a substantial offer.
This caught me way off guard, and I’m truly struggling to assess my options. The catch 22 to their offer involves relocation. Angel and I would have to relocate to Boston. However, the offer is substantial. The money makes sense, they’re offering a management position, and I always enjoyed the intangible excitement associated with my old work environment. But my current employer is good too, and I’m in a position to move up the ladder there as well… not to mention the reluctance of relocating. It’s a tough one! Angel and I feel inundated with feelings of enthusiasm, fear, and change. So no decision has been made just yet.
Regardless of what we decide, one thing is certain… when I was out on the field giving it 110% and feeling like nobody noticed, I was wrong. They were aware of my efforts. They were watching from a distance. They have expressed their appreciation, and are now offering me the position I once yearned for. If nothing else, this has served as a life lesson. Be honest, be passionate, and put heart into whatever you’re working on. It won’t go unnoticed. Someday your name will be subliminally stamped on all your past efforts. When the time comes, make sure you’ll be proud to own up to them.
Regardless of whether or not you’re satisfied with your daily routine, you always have the choice to adjust it. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to decipher the right choice from the wrong one. Good could be cloaked behind bad, or bad behind good. Once the decision has been made, the moment is gone. That decision will alter your path in one way or another. The repercussions to some choices may ripple throughout the remainder of your life, while others may be easily altered. The level of severity you’re dealing with is not always obvious. While not foolproof, squinting deeper into the hazy grey fog of tomorrow is probably your best bet. Ask yourself: “Where does this path lead?” There really is a certain degree of irony in one’s liberty to choose. Having “the choice” is freedom, but you can easily become a slave to the decisions you make.
Angel and I had an interesting conversation the other day regarding the natural uncertainty of life. We discussed the ever-changing fluctuations in our attitude toward past decisions and future goals. Some days it feels certain that we’re headed down the right path, and other times we feel completely misplaced. It’s a continual evolution of highs and lows characterized by the balancing of family, friends, work, desires, and aspirations. Dancing around this immeasurable playground, our thoughts, dreams, and ingenuity create the groundwork for our forward drive. There’s a long string of experiences and ideas that design a lifestyle we persistently attempt to reconcile in an effort to make more significant. As we react over the past and dream about our future together, we begin to understand who we are and where we intend to go. Our life presses forth as we stumble over the balance of simplicity and extravagant ambition.
Everyone is on the endless quest for utopia. We all want the perfect relationship, the perfect home, or the perfect job. It’s pretty common to hear someone spit out a canned phrase like: “You should be grateful for what you’ve been given!” I believe this statement holds truth… and I’m grateful. I know the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and things could always be a lot worst. Yet somehow I still got caught off guard.
I recently made a career change, and I’m not saying I made a mistake, because I didn’t. My new career is pushing me in a positive direction. However, there has been a faint void in certain areas that used to be whole. These voids came unexpectedly because I never stepped back to absorb the big picture. I worked in a fast paced environment where the phones were always ringing, week long business trips for a Wednesday morning departure were planned on Tuesday night, and the deadline was always 10 minutes ago. Work weeks typically hit 55 hours… this wasn’t just a job, it was a lifestyle. I felt overworked and underpaid… the sentiment of being a day late and a buck short 99% of the time.
My colleagues and I yearned for a break and dreamed of a job that wasn’t so demanding. We unanimously agreed on a framework for the perfect job. Daily tasks would be based on extremely long term goals, only 15% travel time, the phones would rarely ring, no more working weekends, a 20% raise, and the job should consume a whopping 38 hours each week. This all seemed far fetched… Of course, that was until I landed a new job that fit the sketch of our dream.
I’m not dreaming. I’ve been working at my new job for 3 months now and it fits the sketch to a T. It meets all the bullet points of our “perfect job” framework. At first I was ecstatic… life seemed blissful. But then a subtle irk arose, a slight feeling of stress and discomfort. Certainly I couldn’t be feeling overworked and underpaid. So what was it? The phones don’t ever ring. I’ve been sitting in the same chair for 3 months and receiving praise from my superiors. I’ve never been told to work over the weekend. There haven’t been any major business trips. And every Monday morning I know exactly what needs to be accomplished for the remainder of the week. Then it hit me… the bullet points to the “perfect job” were starting work against me and I actually missed the unpredictability of my old job.
This irking feeling is directly related to my new work environment, but it’s not because the new job is bad, it’s because I expected it to be perfect. The source of the problem really lies in the fact that my old colleagues and I dreamed of a job environment that represented the exact opposite of what we currently had. We were drenched in Black and eager to dive head first into White. We knew Black wasn’t perfect, but we failed to recognize that White wasn’t either. As with anything in life, “perfect” usually rests somewhere between the extremes. This may seem like common sense, and in retrospect I agree. Yet somehow while I was cruising down the fast lane of life I didn’t see it coming. I guess it’s true, hindsight is always 20/20… and perfect is the enemy of good.