Taking Your Foot Off the Pedal

Taking Your Foot Off the Pedal

“Why bother?” That was the retort recently from an unemployed person. Out of work for over a year, this individual was so discouraged he had given up. He wasn’t even looking for a job any more.

Such a point of view is certainly understandable, but it makes about as much sense as taking your foot off the pedal in bumper cards. As it will on that carnival ride, bringing yourself to a dead stop in today’s job market is a surefire way to subject yourself to even more battering and body slams in your career.

There’s no doubt that looking for a job these days is a jarring, gut wrenching experience. The lack of opportunities and the constant rejection can leave even the most optimistic of people feeling down on themselves and on the American Dream. Surrendering to that despair, however, doesn’t make it go away or even less painful.

That’s a lesson we all learn soon enough in bumper cars. Everyone gets thumped around a bit on that ride, but those who quickly turn the wheel and set off in a new direction are able to avoid the worst of the bumps and do a little bumping of their own. They adjust their course to adapt to the ever-changing situation, and that flexibility protects them. It makes them the master of the changes in their journey, rather than their victim.

So, if you’ve been unemployed for what seems like forever. If you’re beginning to doubt whether you’ll ever be able to find a job in today’s world of work. If you’ve started to ask yourself “Why bother?”, here’s the answer. Your survival and self-respect depend on it.

You may not be able to follow the course you’ve always followed. You may have to embark on a new heading with all of the risk and uncertainty that involves. But the one thing you can be sure of is that you have both the freedom and the ability to do so. Unlike any other country on the planet, there are many different paths to your version of the American Dream, and your opportunity to select one path or another is guaranteed. It’s a right called “the pursuit of Happiness.”

What’s not guaranteed, however, is a predetermined or set course for you to follow. And thank goodness for that! In the United States of America, there is no one prescribed path to success. You aren’t locked into a single fixed way forward that may not be right for you. You aren’t locked into one employer’s career ladder with one way up and no alternatives. You don’t have to stick with something that no longer feels right or serves you well.

You have choices. And the most important choice you can make is not to give up. You can choose, instead, to draw on the pride, the talent, the determination with which you have been blessed. You can decide to use those extraordinary attributes—your American attributes—to turn the wheel and head off in a new direction. You can elect to set out again on the road, a road that you select, the one you pick for your future.

Make that choice, and all you have to do is put the pedal to the metal and get going to wherever you want to go.

Thanks for reading,
Peter