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My Nashville Trip, And Getting What I Want

August 22nd, 2008

This is a story about wasting a bunch of time, thinking I knew what I was doing.  It’s kind of like chasing after career bliss… read on.

I’m in Tennessee.  On Tuesday night I decided to go look for a Chinese restaurant, and hit Wal-Mart while I was out.  I asked the front desk if there was a Wal-Mart close by (had to buy some stuff) and figured I’d find some restaurants near the Wal-Mart.  They said it was kind of far away, and instead of getting directions, I figured I’d just use my GPS.  I knew exactly what I wanted (shaving cream & Chinese food (not together)), where I should go (Wal-Mart), and how to get there (with “The Lady,” aka, my Magellan GPS).

I got on the highway, obedient to The Lady, and quickly found myself in some of the worst traffic I’ve ever been in.  About an hour later I got to the Wal-Mart that was only 10 minutes away, but decided to look for a Chinese restaurant before going to Wal-Mart.  I drove around aimlessly for quite a while, got frustrated and decided to just go into a Walgreens to get the shaving cream.

About 90 minutes had passed by this point, I was hungry and tired.

As I got close to my hotel I found a Chinese restaurant.  Only 2 blocks from my hotel.

And I found a Walgreens close to the Chinese restaurant.

I had spent almost two hours driving around, looking, chasing my dream, getting hungrier and more frustrated as time went on… and everything I wanted was just a minute or two from my hotel.

I think it’s kind of like our careers.  We have this plan… this idea of how things are supposed to go, and we chase it for years, maybe decades, only to find what we really wanted was right under our nose.

I hope your career bliss doesn’t take the same path my Wal-Mart trip took ;)

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5 Responses to “My Nashville Trip, And Getting What I Want”

  1. Anemone says:

    I think what’s interesting in your anecdote was that, in a sense, you knew too much: you knew you had to get the shaving cream at Wal-Mart, and that you could locate it with your GPS. If you had been dealing with less information (“I need shaving cream and I want to eat dinner at a Chinese restaurant”), you would probably have asked for more assistance at the front desk. That’s pretty similar to “I have a great resume, lots of experience, and a network; I’ll find work pretty soon.”

    My initial reaction to JibberJobber was similar: “I’m good at information management and I have a system to track my job search activities.” I’m glad I looked further and decided to give JJ a whirl anyway; I can’t say that I wouldn’t have found a good job without it, but I’m certain I would have missed at least some opportunities without this great tool.

    Career-wise, I am blessed with a lack of what is generally described as ambition, by which I mean I have never planned my career in terms of specific markers to reach by a certain period (salary, title, etc.) I’m one of those people who agree that “how you get there is the worthier part.” (geek reference!) So when I look at new jobs, I am always more concerned about how interesting the projects will be, who the clients are, how much chance I will have for growth and mentoring, etc.

  2. Dawn Mular says:

    Today’s “Abraham Hicks” thought of the day is on this topic, GREAT story about how we ask, and manifest results, Jason! :D

    When we are navigating the creative process it is important to remember that in the “asking” we are more often in the “thing that we want” than “vibrational” match to the thing we want.. And thus in “asking” it is more often in the beginning about the absence of the need, than the alignment to the ‘want” (how delicious that Chinese meal will be when we trust that all is well and we are enjoying a delicious experience soon).

  3. Fred says:

    Wow isn’t life and our careers just like that. We have a plan (GPS) and are on the fast track to success when life comes at you, you get laid off, your company closes or is sold, or it just isn’t the job you though it was. We need to continually work on our plan growing our networking and contnually learning. We can’t always rely on that GPS or written plan. We need to be humble and flexible. Sometimes you might need a GPS, Mapquest directions printed out, and even a road map. Sometimes we may need to take advice (directions) from others such as a job coach. When was the last time you humbled yourself and asked for directions. As Jason said it may be right under your nose.

  4. Peter M says:

    I ran into a similar situation where I was in an area of downtown I could at one point walk blindfolded. Years went by and I was back in the area using a GPS. what would of taken me 5 minutes by foot took a 1/2 hour by car. We saw where where we wanted to be but the GPS became more of an impediment than help. It always helps to know the back roads and have the ability to realize it may seem easier with modern devices but there are times you will make more progress going back to basics (by foot).

    I also make sure even with the GPS I have a good map available

  5. Jason Alba says:

    @Anemone, I’m really glad you decided to give JibberJobber a second look – and congrats on your new job (saw that on your blog – Aug 7th). I totally agree with your assessment. One of my favorite movie lines is Denzel Washington saying “now explain this to me as if I were 6 years old” or something like that. Sometimes, our starting point, or assumptions, causes us to go down the wrong path :)

    @Dawn – next time I will ASK. And, I wish the chinese food tasted as good as I thought it would :p

    @Fred – great points. As I read your comment about becoming humble and flexible, I think about how easy that is to say now, but the longer I drove (ie, the longer we go jobless), it’s harder and harder to be humble and flexible. That’s why my depression post has over 250 comments, me thinks!

    @Peter – Great points. I used to be able to do math in my head, until the MBA program, where I grew to rely on spreadsheets, and now I can’t hardly do anything in my head :p AND, I was smart enough to ask for a map from the airport, assuming something might have happened to THE LADY. Luckily I didn’t need it :p

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