It’s nice to have one in mind, but sometimes Plan A just doesn’t work out.
The first option might be the best in your head at the time, but maybe you’re meant to experience a little tough love, a bit of character-building until it’s your time. Really your time.
A friend of mine is in a career that is not loved (by Friend). It is, in fact, hated. Despised. Loathed. Friend took the job because the world requires a paycheck, so a paycheck Friend set off to seek.
Lacking the love, Friend could easily throw in the towel and skip town, move in with a parent, other relative or a buddy, but Friend’s head is down and focused — focused on getting back to a more ideal place. Friend knows that what they say is true — nothing lasts forever. But Friend is not content to be complacent and wants the current situation to be in the rearview mirror as quickly as possible. It is in the best interest of Friend’s spirit, outlook and ability to be worth anything to the next employer to move on.
Plan A didn’t work for Friend. So Plan B was dabbled in, which led to a better option. Enter: Plan C — also ultimately a no-go. By this time — probably about seven years ago, Friend was cognizant of the years piling up and acutely aware of society’s expectations: achieve X by a certain age, have Y by the next decade, be on your way to Z shortly thereafter. Friend is on something of a Plan W. Fortunately, Friend is not a box-checker — society be damned! Sure, there are wants and needs, some materialistic and other things truly necessary. But Friend is getting there, slowly but surely.
What Friend often fails to realize during the journey is that the path, while trying and anything but easy, is one that has provided test after test, trial after trial and — interestingly — Friend is now poised to move. Literally. A less than desirable location is about to be in the past and, while the job is still in place, moving is surely a catalyst that will help Friend find a more ideal fit, professionally-speaking. I can practically hear the sigh of relief in emails, and I can feel the weight of the world being lifted off of Friend’s shoulders.
I don’t think Friend realizes the opportunity that will surely present itself someday. Picture it: someone 20 years Friend’s junior, going through the same things: feeling like they’re wasting away, feeling like things won’t happen for them. They’re banging their head against a wall and thinking there’s no end in sight. No professional endeavor has worked out, and they feel as though they’re being left behind. But Friend has something only obtained by being in this person’s position back in the day. What’s it called? Perspective.
Earlier a colleague and I were discussing people who insist on being the victim versus the victor. The former is exhausting — who has the time to consistently be defeated? The latter, while hard, promises a reward often times more valuable than gold, more treasured than riches and more grounding than giving up. The reward? It’s multi-faceted. It speaks to a sort of stick-to-it-ness that a lot of people lack these days, it speaks of humility, of character gained by standing on one’s own two feet and it blesses someone with the ability to be empathetic. What an honor in a me-world full of people who subscribe to “every man for himself.” Friend has, in fact, emerged as the victor.
Today I am thankful for Friend’s determination and for not letting the disappearance of Plan A translate into the end of further alphabet exploration. I am proud of Friend. It may take another step or maybe it’s another 23 — but whatever plan we end up on, it’s a plan that was meant for us all along.