Your Career and You: “The Road Not Taken”


Publication1Okay, I’ll confess. I “borrowed” that title from poet Robert Frost. But it really fits my thoughts for today after having had a fascinating conversation with a cab driver on my way to the airport.

He and I got into a reminiscing mode, talking about and comparing our respective career paths. Seems that neither of us, at this stage in our lives, is doing what we initially thought we would do.

My students at Curry College hear the tales all the time…how I started out as an engineering major, graduated with a degree in English, and wound up spending a career as a public relations professional…now public relations professor.

Stuff happens.

I’m often asked by various students as well as young professionals, “What should I be doing?” To which I usually respond, “What do you want to be doing?”

My main point in that conversation is that, for young people either just starting out or very early in their careers, there are no “wrong” decisions.

The wrong decision, in my opinion, is that of not acting at all…of being afraid to head down a particular path.

Granted, at some point in your life, you need to have a focus. But not in the beginning. If you do have a particular interest or skillset that “feels” right, good for you! But don’t obsess about it.

Life is about trying new things…exploring new ideas.

As Ken (the cab driver) and I agreed, maybe we’re not gazillionaires, but we don’t regret a single decision that we made in the course of our lives. We did fun stuff. We were/are pretty good at what we’re doing now. And we both are now asking ourselves, “What’s next?”

You see, that’s the fun thing about being willing to follow our dreams and take chances. Sometimes it works out; sometimes it doesn’t. But you don’t stop trying.

And…at the end of the day…you have both the experiences and the memories…of things that were flat out awesome, as well as of things that burst merrily into flames.

What you don’t have is that gnawing, nagging question in the back of your mind, “What if…?”

I, for one, am preparing for that next transition from full-time employment to semi-retirement. I have no clue what that “next” is going to be. And I can’t wait to find out!

I do know, without a doubt, that what I won’t do is look back with regret on “the road not taken.”

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About kirkhazlett

35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience followed by more than 10 years' undergraduate and graduate college teaching experience. Community and media relations expertise, as well as a fanaticism for quality service and customer satisfaction. PR for healthcare and member services organizations ranging from Blood Bank of Hawaii to Medical Area Service Corporation to Boston Harborfest. Consulting services for Manila and Singapore Red Cross.
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