“Up in the Air” – A Good Thing?

By Cynthia Sutherland

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan

(Michael Jordan Statue, United Center, by T.H. Shriver, from Wikimedia Commons, in the public domain)

(Michael Jordan Statue, United Center, by T.H. Shriver, from Wikimedia Commons, in the public domain)

I’m not really a professional team sports fan. But I’m from Chicago. So I learned a little about the talent and success of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. I was also fortunate to personally see Michael Jordan up in the air. I saw him play in person several times during his winning seasons.

There’s nothing like experiencing someone’s skills, and success, first hand – unless they’re your own.

And when I read Jordan’s quote I also thought of my current job search – and life planning – activities. My search is affecting my whole life (and my choices). It certainly makes me feel like I’m “up in the air.” Yet that’s been more positive than not.

I identify with Michael Jordan’s efforts to hone his skills AND his courage to follow his dream. Do many of us do that as we go along in life, or do we just adapt?

Jordan was told early in his career that he would never become a great basketball player. Like him in this way, I was striving to succeed and move forward with the career and life I wanted. But with a job change, I’m making voluntary shifts in my thinking and preferences.

At the beginning, I pursued professional education and certifications to update my human resources professional skills. As current as you may think you are, there’s always more to learn about your profession. It felt good to achieve that.

But being in job search provided more time, and the will, to plan what I really wanted next, not just seek my next job or sameness. For me, my job search effort has become more about the journey than the destination.

Yes, I am spending time re-tooling my job skills and competencies. And I’ve learned some necessary job search techniques. That’s a constant process. Beyond that, I’m re-calibrating my life goals, or maybe the timing. Change changes you.

Now I’m taking the opportunity to pursue a variety of jobs that I was drawn to previously but didn’t really consider, including working on my own. I’m also re-evaluating if/when I prefer to retire, how I can give back to my community, looking at short-term jobs, writing (always wanted to do that), and taking more time with key relationships. Re-invention is fun and invigorating.

It really is freeing to review your life in mid-stream. I’m sure that you’ve heard that once the job search is concluded, people say that “I’m in a better place than I was before.” Or they hope they are. Sometimes that’s a better or different job, small personal shifts, or it can mean deliberately jumping toward a different career or life choice. That’s what I’m doing now.

Cynthia Sutherland is a senior human resources professional, focusing primarily on diversity and inclusion and work-life.
© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved

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2 responses

  1. Michael Jordan’s story is truly about overcoming. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. It IS about overcoming. Also about being deliberate in focusing on what you want.

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