By: Matt Coulthard
If hired for some of the positions I applied for, I could have experienced the following:
- Loss of Income: A long time ago, my grandmother said to me, “Never let anyone tell you what you’re worth—only you can determine that.” As I think back, too many times I’ve allowed someone else to determine my worth. In some of the jobs I didn’t get, I would have been forced to accept pay that was not suitable for what I wanted to achieve, all because the company determined my worth. That would have meant missing out on potential income in other positions that recognized my true value.
- Being an Absent Parent: Baseball, basketball, soccer, scouts, parent teacher meetings, and field trips are all things I could have experienced missing due to scheduling. Being a parent is a gift, not one I take lightly. While any job demands sacrifices, some jobs demand too much. You have to find the right balance between work and family.
- Missing a Pay Raise/Promotion: Numerous times I have heard stories about individuals missing out on or being passed over for promotions. Now, whether this is merited or not is another topic, but why leave it to chance? If you’re the most deserving, you should be able to prove it and move up in your career. But unfortunately in a lot of jobs, no matter how hard you work, you never get that much-desired raise or promotion. How frustrating!
- Not Realizing Your Full Potential: Many hit the “glass ceiling” at a company and get dragged into a monotonous life that they regret later. Lucille Ball once said, “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” If you’re at a job where you quickly max out your opportunities and have no further room for growth, how can you realize your full potential in your career? If you’re at a job that doesn’t pay enough or demands all of your time without significant benefits, how can you realize your full potential in life?
- Negative Associations: Some positions have a unique ability to corrupt the minds of those performing the tasks. Just look at how many people are miserable in their jobs and blame all their problems on the boss or workplace. When you hate your job, it has seriously negative impacts on your entire life.
Because of the opportunities I “missed” due to my lack of experience, I’ve had time to think about what experiences I really want out of life:
- Travel: I often ask people why they don’t travel more. The most common answer is lack of time and money. If you’re in a job that doesn’t pay well, doesn’t offer travel benefits, and takes up all your time, then chances are you’re going to miss out on some awesome travel experiences. But the world is amazing, and I want to see it all! With the right job, world travel is possible. Where would you want to go? Europe, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Australia, Asia—or maybe there’s a place you didn’t even know existed that you’ll end up visiting.
- Family: Time is something we can never get back. I want to spend my time with those I care for most. To see my son cross home plate with the winning run is priceless. My wife and I eating lunch together mid-week is irreplaceable. I don’t want to take a moment with them for granted. The right career has to allow me time for my loved ones.
- Fulfillment: I need to know that what I do matters and adds value to others’ lives. If I can improve another’s life in any fashion, I want to do it. Living a relevant life is what I seek, in both my personal life and my career.
- Relationships: In addition to spending time with family, I want to have time to communicate and connect with individuals. I want to see in others what they do not see in themselves and help them achieve success.
- Faith: A lot of times, work gets in the way of our relationship with a higher power. This might be because we’re too tired to connect with our faith at the end of the day or because we work through our important holy days. I don’t want to have to worry about getting time off to practice what is important to me and my family. I want to be able to visit the Vatican and other religious wonders. In short, I want to be the man God made me to be, and I don’t want my job to keep me from that.
I’ve chosen carefully who I should listen to, but one of the most relevant messages I’ve received is this: “If it’s important to you, why leave it in the hands of another?” Why leave where I live, how much I earn, who I spend my time with, and ultimately everything I do up to someone who really has no vested interest in what I want? Everything in life comes down to choices and who is making them. I seek options—the option to do as I choose, with the people I choose, when I choose.
Steve Jobs said in a commencement address, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
So now, I would like to thank those individuals who once told me that I didn’t have enough experience, because they were right: I didn’t have enough experience back then doing the things I most want to do, and I still haven’t gotten enough of that experience. I don’t have enough experience spending my time with those I care about most. I don’t have enough experience seeing all the world has to offer. I don’t have enough experience earning a dream income. Because I didn’t have the experience those jobs would have chosen for me, now I’ll have all the experiences I choose for myself.