For most of my working career, I had to commute and therefore I spent a lot of time driving. One summer, my daughter commuted with me as she had a summer position with the same company where I was employed. On our way to work one day she asked: “Why do you always take this winding road? It’s longer and slower. Why don’t you just take the Highway?” This made me think. I told her that I preferred taking the scenic route because there was always something new to see. Even though the Highway is faster, the scenic route runs through a conservation area and the scenery is always changing. It was also relaxing for me to drive along this scenic winding road.
My daughter’s comment stuck with me. Recently, I realized that given a choice, I always took the scenic route. This made me draw parallels to my career choices. When it came to my career, I always wanted to be in an environment that is nurturing, relaxing, and dynamic, but enjoyable at the same time. I always chose the scenic route!
When I look around me, I see people who always took the Highway over a longer scenic route. There are also people who mix it up depending on their situation, and then there are always the few who choose to take a scenic route in their career.
Taking the scenic route requires you to have some traits. You have to be flexible and a lifelong learner. You have to adjust to changes by constantly learning new skills and upgrading others. You have to be fearless in your pursuit of opportunities. You have to look at setbacks as a chance to do something else. Sometimes you need to shift gears totally or turn onto a road you’ve never driven on before. You have to open minded about delays and detours. You have to be patient with yourself and most importantly enjoy the road!
Organizations require all three types of people: people who prefer the Highway, people who prefer the scenic road and people who mix it up.
Which type are you? Where has your career road taken you?