The One Where I Realize I Really Can Change

My wife made a very interesting statement last night. When referring to an individual we know, she said that regarding his life and his future he has an “employee mentality”, rather than an “ownership mentality”.

When pressed to elaborate, she explained that he does best when he has someone telling him what the next step is. OK, the next thing you need to do is X. And after that you’re going to go to Y.  If he doesn’t have a clear cut path to follow, he tends to wander, go nowhere, and do nothing.

THAT IS SO ME! I didn’t tell my wife this, but I figured the same thing out about myself several years ago.

I did well in school. I made good grades from kindergarten all through high school and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. I did well in college also. I never cut class, I did my assignments, and I graduated (almost) on time.

However, my life since college has been a different story.

In the years just after graduation, I held a number of different jobs in several different careers. One year I had five different jobs, having been fired from three of them (sales positions), and abruptly choosing to leave the other two (also sales positions). I guess it’s obvious what line of work I don’t need to pursue.

I finally found a decent career and have had the same position for a number of years. It’s comfortable and doesn’t stress me out most of the time, but it’s definitely not my dream job.

I’ve always felt like I’ve had a settle-for kind of life as an adult, at least as far as my career path goes – not too bad, but not great either.

I believe this is because I’ve never been proactive about my career. I’ve always expected that things would just fall into place. They always did throughout my school years. Surely, I could expect more of the same as an adult. Right?

Ahhh, but that’s not the way life works. After college, the path is wide open – at least for me it seemed it was. It was as if I’d reached the end of a narrow path through a dense forest, and suddenly before me lay a vast open stretch of virgin land. Untrodden, untouched. My choices were only limited by my desires and creativity.

Alas, I floundered. Having no clear direction laid out before me with step-by-step directions, I retreated as it were. Too many choices equaled no choice at all for me.

What is the lesson I’ve learned from all this?

Even though I “wasted” a good number of years in jobs I didn’t really want to do, I did pick up valuable career skills and a ton of experience in my specific industry.

At this point in my life I can parlay my skills and experience into a career I really want. I believe that the world once again offers me great opportunities. I need simply to transition my strongest skill – writing – into a marketable product. Perhaps easier said than done.

At any rate, this has become the focus of my mid-life career adjustment, and how I will at last embrace an “ownership mentality” of my life.

See you when I get there.

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