I took a wrong turn somewhere

by Robb Sutton

I was listening in on a conversation the other day between some executives and I hear the comment “I made a wrong turn somewhere.” Apparently, this exec had gone to a conference where 90% of the people there loved what they did for a living. He started to question his decisions made over the course of his lifetime, and the prognosis was that he had made a wrong turn somewhere.

This phenomenon is actually incredibly common. You might actually be reading this article while having the exact same thoughts. To easily, time just slips away from us and we put off potential experiences and decisions that could lead our lives in a direction that is much happier. We are either living paycheck to paycheck dependent upon that job we hate so much to cover the bills or we lack the initiative and drive to take that chance at true happiness. Sometimes it is just complacency with what is “good enough for now”. After awhile, we turn around and look at our professional lives wondering what could have been. Often times, it is not until we run into a fortunate individual who took those necessary steps to professional life happiness until we really see our decisions for what they really are.

The beautiful thing about life and our decisions is that it is never too late. It is never too late to start doing what you have always wanted to. It is never too late to be happy and it is never too late to start your career over. I remember talking to a gentleman (he was actually the grandfather of a girl I was dating at the time) that was telling me how he started his business in his late 50’s early 60’s…I can’t remember the exact age. 5 years later, his new business was thriving and he was able to almost completely retire (he still plays in it from time to time) leaving his son and family with a multi-million dollar enterprise. It was at that point in my life that I realized that it is never too late for anything.

So what keeps people from taking that step? Fear…the fear of the unknown keeps many people from being successful. There are millions of hard working, intelligent individuals who could make it big and never do because they are unwilling to step outside of themselves and take that chance. I hear people say on a daily basis that it is “too late for me” when it is never too late.

So…are you going to be looking back at your life one day and say, “I took a wrong turn somewhere” or are you going to take your life into your own hands and find the road to professional happines? It is completely up to you…

Image above by sierraromeo [sarah-ji]

10 comments

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10 comments

Michael April 20, 2009 - 6:52 am

So did *you* take a wrong turn somewhere?

Personally, I haven’t figured it out yet. I don’t hate my job, I don’t dread going into work in the mornings. But would I say that I love what I do? Not really.

It’s a bit like answering the lottery question – If you had $50M in the bank and didn’t have to worry about where the paycheck comes from, what job would you have? (None of my answers have anything to do with IT software development!)

Thanks for the post.

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Robb Sutton April 20, 2009 - 7:27 am

@ Michael

I am in the process of turning wrong turns into right! The reference to the lottery question is dead on. Reminds me of that line in Office Space…

Peter Gibbons: Our high school guidance counselor used to ask us what you’d do if you had a million dollars and you didn’t have to work. And invariably what you’d say was supposed to be your career. So, if you wanted to fix old cars then you’re supposed to be an auto mechanic.
Samir: So what did you say?
Peter Gibbons: I never had an answer. I guess that’s why I’m working at Initech.
Michael Bolton: No, you’re working at Initech because that question is bullshit to begin with. If everyone listened to her, there’d be no janitors, because no one would clean shit up if they had a million dollars.
Samir: You know what I would do if I had a million dollars? I would invest half of it in low risk mutual funds and then take the other half over to my friend Asadulah who works in securities…
Michael Bolton: Samir, you’re missing the point. The point of the exercise is that you’re supposed to figure out what you would want to do if…
[printer starts beeping]
Michael Bolton: “PC Load Letter”? What the fuck does that mean?

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Sonya April 20, 2009 - 8:43 am

Great post Rob. It’s never to late to chase after what you want.

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RedRocker April 20, 2009 - 8:48 am

Well, I don’t know that I love my job but I know that it’s way better than most. Sure there’s headaches, things I roll my eyes at, and times that I have to just step back and look at the big picture.

The thing is that I took several distinct turns that I can point to and say that they got me here. The two bigger ones involved choices where I absolutely did not take the easier road. At this point in my life I can definitely say that it’s worth it though.

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Aaron April 20, 2009 - 9:22 am

this is SO relevant to my life right now. Thanks for the read.

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Mike April 20, 2009 - 7:54 pm

I’ve definitely been on that wrong road before. I was working in retail, thought I would be stuck there forever, but I started working on making money via blogging which turned into a 9-5 job doing online work related to blogging, marketing etc. It’s not my dream job yet, I’m still working for someone else, but I am getting a lot closer.

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Uberlib April 23, 2009 - 9:13 am

im definetly in the right track now, hopefully :). Do you believe in ‘The Secret’ ?

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Robb Sutton April 24, 2009 - 6:20 pm

@ Uberlib

Reading it now. Extremely interesting…I have been thinking that way for awhile! Just reminds me I need to be like that 100% of the time instead of 80%.

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Lance May 1, 2009 - 10:30 am

thanks Rob, great article,

Lance

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Being the Change I Wish to See - Sherri June 13, 2009 - 7:58 pm

I found if you don’t hold yourself back, others will. Your naysayers can do a lot to keep in line and in a position of unhappiness because it’s safe. They didn’t take chances so they think you shouldn’t either. Some will just continue to ask if you’re looking for a job or if you’ve found one. Some will outright beat you up verbally for being “stupid”, “lazy”, “unemployed” (what you’re doing doesn’t count), and “running around with your head in the clouds and you’ll end up living under an interstate”. I’ve heard a lot of it, and as time goes on, the naysayers have gotten nastier. I still haven’t followed what they think I should do and now they’re getting mad. Tough, it’s not their life.

Sherri

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