Sunday, December 10, 2006

the road less traveled

There are those who are meant to be lifelong employees. You know them. They think in terms of "Company Benefits".

They like the illusion of belonging to a collective, an ensemble—not necessarily a team, but a group of similar beings cocooned in a common environment, working toward a common company goal.

They talk of established procedures and process improvement. They’re hooked into that Monday through Friday thing. Two, three, four-weeks paid vacation. Sick leave. Holiday pay.

They’re often more codependent than interdependent, feeding on bigger- better-brighter corner offices, and the occasional cluster recognition. And unless very ambitious, they are usually quite content to move ‘according to standard performance expectations’, within the constraints of the path already worn.

There are those who are not meant to be lifelong employees. You know them too.

They think in terms of the three P's: Passion, Potential, Possibilities. They might be drawn to more innovative projects and careers, seeking more responsibility, more creativity, more flexibility, more self-expression. They might be motivated by intrinsic values such as being their own boss or building an empire. They might simply choose to live life on their own terms, to gain broader life and career experiences.

Or they might be stoked, deep from within, by the desire to look life in the face.
To learn and stretch beyond prior successes; to create and serve a mission in life. They are change-makers, feeding on challenging themselves, on growing, on making a difference. Striving to earn the epitaph they want etched on their tombstone, they relinquish the path well-worn and tread their own.

Which road will you travel?

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (1874~1963)


Anonymous said...

If you've made some irreversible decisions out of immaturity, the complications can require that you become the company man.

The three P's sound wonderful, tho.

andrea said...

Which road for me? Guess! This was written by someone who 'gets it' from deep within ... Vicki!

Even within the parameters of the road less travelled there are main paths and side paths. For me, the main path of the gallery system seems too constraining, too rule-bound, too hierarchical right now. Before you know it, I'll be hacking through the undergrowth. God help me.

Bibi said...

Pamela...totally understand that. And sometimes it's all about timing, or finding the right balance at the right time. will get there. Your art work is awesome! Focus on your core genius ;-)

Anonymous said...

Miss Bibi. I have been reading your blog for while but never commented.

This almost made me cry because I spent the last 22 years in a career that my parents pushed me in. I'm a doctor, so it's not like it's a bad career but my heart would take me somewhere else. I wish I had taken the road less travelled but now I project my focus to 'when I retire'.

I will not do the same to my children. If they choose to be street musicians, that's fine with me and my wife. Maybe that was my path in life-to provide that choice for my children.

Thank you for your profound insights. I've printed this out in colour and put it above my desk. Hope that's okay?

MSU gal said...

thanks for reminding me i am working at a position that is not my last stop. when the right opportunity to move down the road comes, i'll recognize it.

Bibi said...

Anon, you're welcome to print. I hope you get to enjoy whatever it is you want to do soon! I have someone very close to me who didn't make it to retirement and that's so sad. You sound like a great dad!!

msugal86, yes, based on what you've said on your blog in the past, I think you and I have been in the same kind of situations at different times. There are stepping stones and tripping stones, and the challenge lies in identifying which is which ;-)

Anonymous said...

Oooh, the first one! The first one! Yeah, that sounds like the one for me... :o)

It's a sad irony that such beautiful and inspirational reflections such as those you've just given, are readily used by the marketeers for the promotion of things like "company benefits". (Collective Graduate Recruitment Interviews - one day I will blog about this evil experience in my history...)

But those pics are amazing...

chandra said...


which road will i travel? which path is mine?.. the road that leads me to spread laughter, to spred joy, spread happiness.. that road where there is compassion and love.

come, see me on that road at :

warm wishes


WithinWithout said...

Hmmm. Fascinating and very thought provoking.

There are people who want the steady 9-to-5, the benefits, the security of that income, the corner office.

They want to be part of a worker bees, just content to live and do their jobs and basically, survive.

The worst of them, the totally unthinking automatons, we call deadheads...just putting in their time, doing the minimum to keep that position, til they can retire on their pension.

The other end of the spectrum, which is the one you obviously believe in, and which Frost writes about, is of course the way to be much more alive, IF that's what you want to do and if that's in your comfort zone.

But the road less travelled is the road less travelled for a reason. Most people want to be safe and secure.

I think there is an in-between there somewhere, a collective that does encourage life and creativity where everyone can not just survive but flourish.

They may not be willing or able to risk being self-employed or to take a year off work to visit China, but they're contributors, thinkers, feelers and they care.

Together, they all make the world go round.

Keshi said...

I will travel the road I've been given. Cos that's all we can do :)


John Ivey said...

I've been down a few roads less traveled one of them quite ugly and another due to a consequence not of my making. But I've always been drawn to creativity, and now I travel a road not unlike the one you described. And I love it.

Bibi said...

Ant ... you're so right on the marketing! They term it 'golden handcuffs' and let's be honest, it's hard to turn down or walk away from.

Chandra ... that sounds like a great road to me too. Let me know where it is!!

Within Without ...yep! It's all about doing what works for the individual. Most of us prefer to keep a roof over our heads so that obviously drives many choices.

There are people at both extremes, and the majority probably flourish somewhere around center, based on their current goals and comfort levels.

I've been a copr'manager in a couple of really dynamic orgs, that I absolutely thrived at and loved working for. And I've had a few freelance projects that were totally dull. Both paths can be fulfilling IF one makes the right connection.

What makes me wince, is when people are simply 'hanging out for retirement'. Waste of life.

John ... good for you! That ugly stuff happens, and even the path well-trodden can get ugly; sounds as though you came through it successfully in the end though.

Keep loving life ;-)

Bibi said...

Keshi ... we all do what we can ;-)

Kiyotoe said...

Damn, I needed that.

In my heart I know that I want to travel the latter path. Unfortunately, my economic status dictates that I follow the first one.

But I'm definitely working on jumping tracks. One screenplay, one short story, that's all i need to get me closer to jumping to the other "side".

Bibi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bibi said...

Kiyotoe ... they say we teach what we need to learn/and I think that sometimes we write what we need to hear or reaffirm (I needed to hear it too!). And you're already paving the way until you can jump tracks. Keep going! ;-)

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I'll take the money earned from the latter with the work ethic of the former.

Bibi said...

A good work ethic is crucial, either side of the trail. Sounds like a winner to me!!

comingaroundagain said...

I know I am very late in commenting (just found your blog!) - but I love this post. It is just what I needed to read.