While I am known here as a career development blogger and executive resume writer, my day job is that of an English teacher, and what kind of English teacher would I be if I didn’t teach a little Shakespeare, right?
Every year I teach my students one Shakespearean play and this year it is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is a great play that is a lot of fun to act out in a class with teenagers, largely because it is light on theme and heavy on humor. But The Bard can not help but insert some pithy wisdom into even the most farcical material.
At one point early on he has the character of Lysander, who is in love with a girl whose father doesn’t like him, say the following:
“The course of true love never did run smooth.”
If you are over the age of 16, you know the truth of this statement. In the bloom youth we tend to think the roads of our love lives will be straight and clear- fall in love, get married, live happily ever after. But of course nothing in life is that smooth. This famous quote sheds light on the truth that the journey of love is bumpy. There are twists and turns and occasional detours.
Truth be told, I think this idea applies to more than simply affairs of the heart.
The often circuitous road our careers can travel is a lot like this. We want the road to success to be straight and clear, but it is not. There are diversions, obstacles and side roads all long the way. The first step in dealing with them is realizing that this is normal, natural, and to be expected. Things will most certainly come up, but you don’t have to let them completely derail your plans and goals.
While detours cannot be stopped, they can be planned for.
It is OK to embrace the occasional chaos that you meet on the road of your working life, but be prepared to right the ship when necessary. (I know I am mixing metaphors, but stay with me). The best way to do this is to have a clear sense of your calling. If you have a strong handle on who you are, and who you want to be, then you can always find your way.
No matter what distractions you may come across along the road to success, they will be nothing more than short detours, rather than catastrophic derailments.