Fork in the road

As young people we find a career and study to gain some insight as to its workings and basic theories.  We spend years studying and learning, all so that we can score that illustrious job.  There go the last of the teen years and early twenties.

Through the last half of our twenties (if we are not busy with a doctorate or a more involved degree) and into our thirties we are working hard at that job we scored.  The one we got to the loss of someone else, probably as experienced as us.  We work hard, long hours and prove that theory has nothing on experience and most of what we learn is for form anyway.

Years of work and establishing families and what we consider a career and we approach our forties.  Suddenly everything is not as clear cut as it was in our twenties. That illustrious job is proving to pay the bills but it no longer fires the imagination.  We can’t save the world. Hell we can’t even save ourselves!

Upskilling becomes the sought after phrase and so begins another round of learning and studying and applying theory to practice.  Eventually though there is a fork in the road and for those fortunate enough to face it, it is a difficult choice.

Fork Left

Stay on the current path.  The pinnacle of study is achieved for there is no higher skill to learn.  Straddle two worlds where possible – career choice and sideline business.  The possibility is that this will become 50/50 and afford some constant in a world of market uncertainty.  There is no guarantee on the sideline and this offers its own challenges in respect of economy and hours.  The first 5+ years of this will be hard just to get to a stable point.  But when was anything easy?

Fork Right

Use current experience and study up a new path.  The current career provides a good base from which to move forward.  Experience is a positive here even though it’s a complete tangent going forward.  Study though is more debt and loads more hours in books and related expenses.  Market is more stable but individuals are still subject to economy and hours.  No guarantee and still starting from the bottom.  But when was anything straight forward?

Somewhere in the Middle

Blend all of the above.  Stay in current career, build a small sideline for spending money and embark on new choices?  How many hours were there in a day again??

We spend our teen and high school years agonising over choices for a career.  No sooner do we finish high school then we are rushing off for university, tafe, technikon or the equivalent.  We spend all those young years looking for our passion and yet it eludes most of us.  We find ourselves with families, mortgages and debt and that choice becomes a necessity to keep our heads above water.  We have no other path.

Then the kids are gone, and suddenly the only thing facing us is our career.  Let’s be honest we spend anything from 9-12 hours a day between work and commuting.  It’s a large chunk of our lives.  Shouldn’t we be excited to get to work? Or at least be doing something not too mind-numbing.

That fork in the road shouldn’t be so daunting.

This is about the majority of us.  The ones who are finding that a midlife crisis is about your worth at work, your effort and whether or not you made the right choices 30 years ago.

It really shouldn’t be this hard … what is your fork?


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