The Spoon In The Road

We all know Yogi Berra’s famous quote, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” As I’ve progressed in my career, and in life really, I’m more and more aware that real life isn’t quite so linear.

Most of us graduate and expect to move up the career ladder. I started as a Coordinator, got promoted to Manager, then Director, etc., etc. I’m Gen X so this is what I expected to happen for me and I made sure it did. That’s all well and good when you stick to one career path and purpose, and for many that works. I, however, have found that I wanted more and continuing in that linear path wasn’t always conducive to the work/life balance that I craved.

In order to assess what you really want (and can afford in life), you have to ask yourself a series of questions. The answer may not be to go right or left at that proverbial fork, but to go around like a spoon. Here are a few that have worked for me:

  1. Do I love what I do? Are you just doing what you do for the paycheck or do you think it’s your true calling?   If not, what can you do to get yourself there?
  2. Am I still learning? I truly believe in being a lifelong learner. If you’re not always learning, how are you growing?
  3. Do I feel fulfilled professionally and personally? There’s never a perfect balance here, but on most days do you feel good about your life?
  4. Do I feel valued at work and am I providing value to my work? For me, this is one of the most important things that drives my engagement. When I know that I am contributing to the business, I am driven to do more.
  5. Can I sleep at night? Being up in the middle of the night, rehashing my day, is my first sign that something is out of balance.

So think about it. Your path doesn’t have to be left, right, or straight up the ladder. You can go around and still get to where you are meant to be.

Jen Klotz is the VP of Human Resources at Consultants 2 Go.