In Praise of Rambling . . .

Posted: September 20, 2011 in career
Tags: , , , , , ,

I was recently “chatting” with a client via the Internet. This person was in the process of considering career alternatives based on some assessment work we had done for some general identification of what I like to call one’s “Best Stuff.” As he was recounting some of the potential options coming up, his email opined, “Here I go again… rambling…”

You could argue that this was true, but my response was, “I like ‘rambling’… it’s when you get to see the most scenery.” The more I thought about my response, the more I liked it! (Scott Ginsberg once said, “If you don’t quote yourself, no one else will!”)

I’d like to make some brief comments on the advantages of rambling.

1.   You DO get to see more “scenery.”

A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it also reduces the field of your peripheral vision. If your travel is a bit more meandering, including switchbacks, occasional detours and winding roads, you may not get “there” (wherever THERE is!) as quickly, but you will certainly have a lot more to look at. I see this as a good thing. The more scenery that you see, the more opportunity you have to discover a marvelous “destination” that you never knew existed.

2.   It bucks the traditional vocational system.

I feel for the job seekers and careerists who invest almost all of their time and energy in newspapers, the Internet, employment agencies and other “traditional” resources. To be sure, these methods all represent possibilities for success and may even hold clues to their career development or next position. The problem is: they are investigating the smallest number of opportunities in direct competition with the largest number of candidates. My statistics training goes back a few years, but these don’t sound like good odds to me! Rambling can get you beyond “the smell of the greasepaint and roar of the crowd” and may actually be the shortest distance to get to the better career destinations, whether you are seeking or new job or wish to grow in your present position.

3.   It starts the “trip” sooner instead of later.

If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, You’ll Probably End Up Somewhere Else, an excellent book by Dr. David Campbell, makes some strong points supporting a targeted career process. The problem is, I’ve had many clients who were loathe to even start a Career Road Trip until they could describe their final destination in clear, concise almost meticulous detail. Since they couldn’t do so, they remained parked in their vocational driveway, never even backing out onto the road. With apologies to Dr. Campbell, I may rephrase his title to “If You Wait to Figure Out Exactly Where You’re Going, You May End Up Staying Right Where You Are.”

4.   It increases the possibility of “luck” showing up.

Luck, serendipity or delightful surprises are hardly ever planned, but they have a greater opportunity to show up for the Rambler than the Laser-Guided Careerist. To requote one of my favorite authors, Barbara Sher, “The amount of good luck that comes your way depends on your willingness to act.” (From I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was). Rambling creates the dynamics for serendipity to show up.

Allow me to “ramble” just a bit more on this subject. Here’s what you should do:

  • Get a general idea of where your trip is headed.
  • Unplug the GPS.
  • Pull out of your driveway, take off and keep your eyes open.

You may be surprised by what you drive by.

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Comments
  1. Averie says:

    I can’t imagine my life without all the incredible experiences and people I’ve encountered thanks to rambling.

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