I posted earlier today on my Working Mother magazine blog “Walking Zombie” about this interesting dynamic in what we want as a young professional and the reality of what needs to happen to get there.
By the way, there are so many neat blogs on Working Mother magazine’s website! I hope you can go over there to check them out sometime: www.workingmother.com.
Here’s the full blog post:
I was at dinner last night with Dave and two of our lifelong friends Joe and Rebecca. Joe, who has an amazing job in the medical field, was sharing a story about a mother who asked if he would let her son shadow a case he was working on. The goal was to expose her son to Joe’s field of work in hopes that he might follow suit.
The day came and Joe happily took this young man under his wing, showing him the ins and outs of his job. In short, he sells heart stints to heart surgeons, participates in surgeries, showing Doctors how to use his product properly upon purchase and spends lots of time “after work” forging lasting relationships as it’s a highly competitive field.
At the end of the day together, the young man looked at Joe and exclaimed, “Wow, I want to do this! How do I get started?” Joe sat him down and said, “Well you don’t actually start here. Let me take you back to the beginning, twenty years ago, with my first pharmaceutical sales job.” He went on to trace his career path, which wondered down many roads…some good, some not so good… but that ultimately ended with the amazing position he holds today. When he finished sharing his story, the boy looked at Joe and said, “Wow, you had to do all that to get to this? Can’t I just start here? That’s going to take a long time!”
Don’t we all wish we could start at the end, with the dream job or highly successful business? Yet rarely if ever does one just end up in the job of a lifetime. Great jobs require lots of knowledge, experience and confidence; they are earned. Sitting with Joe, Rebecca, and Dave, there was an unspoken level of respect for one another as we all started out with nothing but strong work ethic, determination and huge dreams for our futures.
While we are all very successful today, living what some might consider “The good life,” each of us still works as if we never caught that dream– we are consistently pushing ourselves harder, striving to learn, grow and achieve more. Each of the positions that led us to the place we are today was important. One job led to another and in most cases some sort of promotion and increase in responsibility and income. None of us imagined those steps would move us to the careers we have today. In Joe’s case, he didn’t even know the job existed…he was a finance major in college…and today he is teaching surgeons how to use his product in real surgeries! How crazy is that? And Dave- out of all his friends in college, he and one other guy are still in the business. The path to becoming a Captain at a major airline is so difficult that most just pursued other fields. I’m so proud of him because he stayed the course and kept his eye on the big dream.
Some of us, like Dave, have a set path that is well mapped out and lands at a certain position- such as a doctor, lawyer or other professional career position. Others, like Joe, Rebecca and I ended up in unexpected, surprising places that far exceeded what we had planned for our lives. The point is that you are where you are for a reason. What might seem remedial today is providing you with skills that will be vital to the next step in your career tomorrow. What matters is that you are moving forward, advancing toward the future, being challenged, growing, learning and allowing life to deliver those unexpected, but blissful surprises you couldn’t possibly imagine for yourself.
The other thing to keep in mind is that you must have patience. No matter where you are right now, do what you do with passion and give it 110% so long as it is moving you in the direction of your dreams. Set goals and push to go to the next level in your life and when the timing is right, you will get there! Also know that there is no real “there.” Once you land at what you thought was your dream job, odds are you will have another in mind- that’s good because it means you are growing, learning and pushing to the next glorious level in life and when you do that, you are alive!
While you may feel at times like the young man Joe mentored, wondering if you have what it takes to walk the long road to your dreams, realize that if the dream burns deep in your heart, it will be worth every step. Just put one foot in front of the other and keep walking!
Written by Traci Bild, work-life balance expert and Founder of the Get Your Girl Back movement. Follow us on Facebook (Get Your Girl Back movement) for more inspiration and ideas to live a life of adventure, fun and sheer bliss! To download the first chapter of Traci’s forthcoming book, Get Your Girl Back, visit http://gygb.com/the-book/.
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