My dad worked for the same company from age 19 to age 60. For many baby boomers, a job with certain companies like IBM grew into a lifelong tenure with the same organization.
It doesn’t work that way now. A permanent job is a rare thing. Anyone who works for someone else knows that her/his job can disappear. Anyone who works for someone else knows that it’s wise to listen when another offer is discussed.
Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, a metaphor for choices we make in life, hints that it may be good to take the one less traveled. Sometimes we choose not to accept opportunities that are not appealing or immediately rewarding. We may be intimidated because the road is unfamiliar.
But, as the song says, one thing leads to another. Maybe we should give these less attractive opportunities more consideration. I think sometimes about jobs I turned down because of location, money or extenuating circumstances. While not second guessing my career decisions, I know that certain opportunities might’ve opened new doors for me, leading to desirable situations further down the line.
If you accept something new and different and it doesn’t work out as planned (or doesn’t directly lead to something better), you try to move on to something that offers more promise. There are no more lifelong work commitments. (Although there are contracts and non-compete agreements.)
Physical roads not taken can now be seen on Google Street View. And metaphorical untraveled roads can often be scoped out via online reviews and forums.
Whichever roads you choose, think beyond immediate outcomes. Look ahead to those destinations further down the road.