The Road Not Taken 

The famous poem, “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost ends with this stanza: 

I shall be telling this with a sigh 
Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference. 

I think most people who have been through a job transition can easily relate to these words. As we seek out where God may be leading us, amidst whatever financial pressures exist, amidst the uncertainty of networking, amidst the sometimes confusing world of determining our strengths, passions, and abilities, and amidst the tedious nature of working on resumes for the 42nd time…wow, I’m already tired! 🙂   

Suffice it to say – job transition is very difficult. And most of us desire to be able to say, when we finally arrive at a decision point, the decision point has led us to a path “that has made all the difference.”

A Time For Reflection

This past weekend, I had the privilege of hosting four of my high school buddies. We’ve met annually together now for five years, with the exception of 2020 due to Covid19. We enjoy good food and fellowship, and what I think most of us take away from the weekend is a wonderful blend of 40-year old high school camaraderie, infused with the renewed strength of ‘iron sharpening iron’ as we share together our individual and family’s journey through life. 

This year, the question was posed, “What decision did you make that, upon looking back over your life, turned out to shape the trajectory of your life?” We took our marriages and our faith decision to follow Christ off the table to try to focus on a crucible event or decision we had made. 

The result? Each one of us had made a myriad of decisions over our careers, yet the one we each shared had very little to do with our individual choices. Rather, the circumstances that existed around those choices were what seemed to shape the eventual decisions each of us made. A couple of us acknowledged, “It seemed to be the right decision at the time” because there literally wasn’t another logical choice to be made. 

Keep Moving

So, what’s the point? I want to encourage anyone in transition or wrestling with career choices to simply make a decision. Keep moving! Don’t stall out and lose hope with what the future may bring. 

Now, I’m NOT saying you shouldn’t spend some time earnestly seeking out what God may be trying to tell you. In fact, here at Crossroads Career, we have an entire workbook designed to help you prayerfully work through that (Hear God Calling You workbook – Click Here).  I’m also not saying you shouldn’t appropriately deliberate, seek Godly counsel, and explore a variety of paths. 

But eventually we need to make a decision. That decision may be to pursue a different vocation. It may be to quit a job and move to another organization. It may be to shift to another team within your organization. It may be to take a part-time job to pay the bills while you pursue that “dream job.” Whatever it is, making decisions to keep moving is very important in your job transition, as in all aspects of your life. 

Nothing is Wasted With God

But what if we make a “wrong” decision? That might happen. Then you simply course correct. In fact, one of my high school buddies, Steve, shared that he knew one of the job decisions he made was wrong on the first day of his new employment. What did he do? 90 days later he left that organization and joined another one. And guess what? He learned a number of things through that experience that positively shaped his future decisions. 

You see, our God is amazing! Nothing is wasted with Him! He can even use our “bad” decisions for His glory. While our choices don’t always align with His sovereign plan or will, He can always use a person who desires to follow Him, no matter what past mistakes we may have made. Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” 

Let’s rest on that promise and keep moving!  Blessings! 

Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.

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