Look Up From the Trees and See the Forest
A former classmate from Florida A&M University connected with me on LinkedIn out of the blue. I hadn’t spoken to him since graduation. I checked out his profile to see what he’d been up to. He had a message on his wall, “Life has brought me to this point” and his most recent job ended a year prior. He explained that he had struggled to find a job after college.
Reconnecting with him made me look up from the trees I had been staring at lately. My job was boring me to tears and new doors kept getting closed in my face. I was struggling to climb the corporate ladder wondering if I even wanted to anymore.
Yet, my career took a different path than my former classmate. I wasn’t one of those lucky few who had 5 job offers each paying six figures BEFORE graduation. However, I did manage one job offer shortly before graduation. I was interning at Continental Airlines. The last requirement for graduation was an internship. One day my boss’ boss called me into his office. He and my boss were both sitting there. “We’d like to offer you a job,” he said.
“Okay, is that it?” I asked wondering where the money part of the conversation was.
And from there my corporate career was born. I had no long bouts of unemployment. Even getting fired only left me unemployed for a few weeks. I’ve traveled the country and the world. I’ve purchased real estate with my corporate income. I’ve made crazy money with crazy good bonuses. I’ve met a ton of great people, worked under truly inspiring bosses, and learned a lot over the years. When I look at the forest my career has been extremely good to me.
Yet, if you heard me talk about my career when I was staring at the trees I would have told you about the excel sheets to hell, the pointless assignments, the unnecessary meetings, the times I felt I was a professional formatter (Charlene change this pink to red and update these page margins) despite having an MBA, or the days I had to pretend I didn’t finish my work at 2 pm, because it was frowned upon to leave work before 5.
Sometimes when we look at the details everything looks wrong. Everything is bad. Nothing’s right and we’re in the worst predicament ever. But if we change our vantage point and position ourselves to see the forest, the view is beautiful. Sometimes we just need to step back and see the bigger picture. I imagine the same could be said for my classmate despite his own career challenges.
If something is plaguing you right now, look up from the trees and see the forest. Find the view that is beautiful.
“When you can’t see the forest for the trees- go for a walk IN the forest.” – Gail Lynne Goodwin