Once upon a time there was a person who wanted to be in the business side of fashion. They graduated from college and got accepted into the executive training program of a well known department store. This was a highly coveted slot- they only accepted  about 2% of the applicants. The program had you rotate through departments for a year so you could learn about all the different aspects of a department store, and then you choose which area you would like to work in. Sounds like a great idea to get to know the industry, plus the pay wasn’t bad, and you had benefits and employee discount.

But, you  know, it’s a job….

From the beginning person A was dissatisfied with the job. It was boring. A already knew everything they were teaching them. A had talents that were being underutilized.  So less than a year about securing this coveted spot, A quit.

A went to work for a clothing manufacturer, figuring that it was a smaller operation, so the skills that A had would be utilized. This new company would see the star that A was meant to be. Of course, this was a lateral move, because it was still entry level, and it’s a smaller company so the pay would be less, but that’s ok because the pay will increase as soon as the company see’s what an asset A is.

Eight months till A quit.

And another entry level job. Boring.

Nine months. A quit.

Next job.

Not utilizing me.

Eight months. Quit.

You get the pattern. A made a series of basically lateral moves because A didn’t feel any of these jobs were the right fit. It is now twelve years and I think twelve jobs later (I lost count after people stopped using business cards) A is making less money, and at a job that is just slightly above entry level. A also has three roommates, and drives a car bought with parental funds.

When do you realize that you are no longer chasing a dream, but trying to live in a fantasy world?

When do you learn that sometimes jobs are boring?

When do you learn that there is always something more to learn, no matter how much you think you know?

It would be lovely if the world just handed you things. But alas, it doesn’t work like that. Sometimes a dream job requires real work. Most people pay their dues. Yes, it’s a lot of hours, it’s repetitive, it’s boring, but that’s usually the way to learn. Very few successful people were successful the first time out. They were frustrated, bored, annoyed….feel free to enter in any descriptive word that you want, because everything has good and bad.

Sometimes you have to give things a shot. Sometimes you need to work. That’s just life.

Happily ever after?



39 thoughts on “Laterally Thinking

      1. I totally agree. My kids worked at Arby’s and people were leaving all the time. I know it’s a first job for teens a lot but still. They had people quit after the first week or less than a week. Just ridiculous!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. One of the most important lessons–that some people never learn–is that in one’s career, how well you do the routine and boring and even downright unpleasant aspects of the job is just as important as how well you do the creative, fun, and challenging parts. It’s easy to do the fun parts well, but if you slack off on the boring parts (and EVERY job will have boring parts), then you can’t be relied upon and will never truly succeed. The sooner young people learn and accept this, the sooner they will advance. Some people never learn it, and, like your example, never enjoy success or satisfaction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s just it….who ever said that every aspect of life is a joy? I certainly don’t like cleaning my sink at night, yet the results are worth it!! Looking fir instant gratification is a problem!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree. You can’t walk into a job thinking you know everything. I’m thinking those jobs had room for advancement and the person didnt are that because she wanted to get to the top right away. You have to work your way to the top. It’s just not handed to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Did no one ever step in and tell A that a college degree isn’t the end to learning, or that you have to be open to, and interested enough to move your career forward by seeking out and expressing a desire to learn and do more?
    Or is A just self-centered enough to believe success is going to be handed their way?
    You asked when does a person learn that actual work is involved in success…perhaps never if they have been handed things all their life. It may be too much to expect them to handle things themselves. Their fear of failure, of the unknown, of responsibility for themselves may run deep because they have no expectations that they can or will do more.

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    1. All very valid points. We need to make sure kids learn that not everything comes easy….we often need to push ourselves. Everything good involves work, whether it’s a relationship, a job, or getting good at a hobby

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My head goes to helicopter parenting somewhat with this post. What levels of involvement in our kids lives may predetermine how they see and conduct themselves as adults. Just more guilt to deal with as a parent!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s a quote that goes “There is no glory in practice, but without practice, there is no glory”. I think so much of what we see in successful people looks “fun”. But we never see the quiet moments that produced it.

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  5. An excellent post LA! I especially like the comment about living in a fantasy world. I’ was unable to like your post, because a list of other people who liked it flashes up and blocks the way – is this some new feature WP came out with in my absence?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Tonight I was able to Like it on Reader – it brought up the list of fellow likees but it was not obstructing the star, whereas if I try and like it when I clicked on it and am inside the post reading it, the list is in the way? I haven’t been able to read much on here lately, so don’t know if this is new?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. A less attractive side of coaching is when you have to help someone get real. But it’s important to do it. Not everyone has what it takes to be A Star in whatever their chosen field is. Confidence in one’s own ability is necessary, but it has to be balanced with a good grasp of reality. There’s a huge number of talented people out there and you have to have a special X-factor to be noticed.

    My niece’s boyfriend absolutely believed he was heading straight from his degree to a job earning mega-bucks. I tried to counsel that he still needed to network & to seek out holiday jobs or internships while he was studying in order to gain an edge. He refused to do so saying he found it too hard to do anything other than attend college – oh & go to Comicons all over the country. He’s since graduated. He’s still struggling to find work in his field (cyber security) & has finally got a poorly paid run-of-the-mill IT job. Thing is, I know someone who’s a bit of a star in the cyber security field. My Mum asked why I wasn’t offering to give this young man an intro. I felt mean, but how could I push him forward when he wasn’t willing to make the least bit of effort himself?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It all comes down to personal responsibility. Own whatever it is that you want to do, and do what it takes to achieve it. You are the only person who can make you who you want to be…comes internally

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Executive training program, that was so competitive to be on those programs and they worked those people so hard! They burned out! You are so right! 2 percent accepted! Yes, I agree that dreams die hard but sometimes you have to give it a go of at least a couple of years and that job did pay well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I served a four year (low paid) engineering apprenticeship, I don’t earn ‘loadsamoney’ 37years later and neither have I risen any further up the employment ladder but I do enjoy the work I do.

    The point being I know for certain that I could have earnt a great deal more working IN industry, so did I cop out and take the easy route? With age lol comes wisdom, all these years later I’m convinced I made the correct choice taking the lower paid low pressure route, and my advise to youngsters is? If the work you do is on the whole fulfilling, and you enjoy the working environment you’re in then be happy knowing you’ve made the right choice staying, especially if it’s your very first job!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve never been a career-minded person, but not exactly a job-hopper, either. Mostly the work was a means to achieve a level of peace of mind and comfort: owning a car, a house, and having furry friends to live with. I worked hard and sometimes in management (not fun). I guess each person has their own track, but I get what you’re saying about people who expect instant success or thinking they have some special talent that negates learning the ropes. It really does come down to doing the hard work. That, I was willing to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I remember when I finished law school, I started off in a position that paid substantially less than I was making as an RN. But of course, I realized, it takes a certain number of years to build a career. I had already logged 24 in health care and 12 as an RN when I left that field. It would take me another 12 years to build up my career in law. And I chose my moves carefully, but also only had to pick from what was available in the market. Patience. It takes patience. And as fate would have it, when I finally achieved the highest status position I would reach, internal and external politics would cut that one a bit short . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “Very few successful people were successful the first time out. They were frustrated, bored, annoyed….feel free to enter in any descriptive word that you want, because everything has good and bad.”- very true. I think as long as you know what area you want to work in, then sometimes you’ve got to suck it up a little, cos no job is going to be fun all the time. (of course, I think you mentioned this in your next post, that’s provided you’re even working in the right field/doing a job you vaguely want to do- because life’s too short to keep doing something you hate).

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