On the Trail of Traits

Ship's rudder and propeller

As a young, floundering man, seeking his way in a world with no rudder to guide him and no one to really help steer that aimless vessel, I took a phone book, opened it, and made a call to an outfit which called itself a “career counseling agency”.

I didn’t know what that meant.  I knew this much – I’d left college, been cut off from ever re-entering by my parents, didn’t have enough of my own resources to do it without their help, and stared down the barrel of a long string of minimum-wage jobs.  I was confident I’d made the right decision getting out of the pursuit of medicine (don’t even go there), but I didn’t know where I did want to go.  I felt time was on my side – I was young and able to do some things with my life yet, given enough direction.  But I didn’t have anyone to help me identify the sort of calling I should answer, the sort of thing I might succeed in.

When I placed this phone call, I got about a fifteen minute, eye-opening, life lesson in the sort of person I am.  I had no idea “career counselor” could be “life changer” in so short a period of time.  It would have cost me a lot more than I had at the time to pursuit it further, but God knows I wish I’d done it.

The guy I spoke to asked me a simple question, listened to my answer, prompted me once or twice, and then spit back to me something so mind-numbing it left me shaking and near tears with gratitude.

He asked me, “What kinds of things do you like to do?”  And when I told him what my hobbies and passions were, he gave me a suggestion.  In a few short minutes, a man I’d never met face to face actually had a suggestion for me that could’ve, had I had the brains to see it then, changed my life for the better.

Well … I’d like to think so anyway.  Still, it was something.  And if I’d be able to cough up the dough they wanted, and gotten the more comprehensive and deeper analysis, I sit up nights now wondering where I’d be.  If I’d be anywhere different at all.  If my destiny could have been altered enough by a single sitting to make a difference in a life now left in tatters and ruins.

Who knows?  A lot has changed in the twenty-plus years since I made that phone call.  And my interests?  Well, they’re sort of the same, but they’ve broadened some, deepened some, and I don’t know if those changes would alter the end of the journey, the destination.  That journey’s not over yet, but I no longer have the young man’s mind, time and energy, or freedom to pursue the things which float through my spheres.

How about you?  Do you feel you’re doing what you’re called to do?  Are you fulfilled in your career, or are you financing your passion with it?  If you needed to take just one step differently in the when of your life to make the now what you want, are you able to identify it?


All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.


4 thoughts on “On the Trail of Traits

  1. I’m lucky, damn lucky, that my circumstance gives me the freedom to pursue my passion. I’m also lucky that my passion just happens to be almost free and can be done in spare time. If I were a golfer or a body builder, I think I’d just be out of luck. Back when I worked outside the home I was still able to pursue writing.

    I know Fal almost cheered when I decided to pursue writing, because it’s the first economical, affordable hobby I’ve ever tackled. Then I started buying software.

    And I know now that writing is my passion. I like other things, too, but writing is the only thing I’ve always done, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

    I’m pretty sure it’s mine too. If there’s another one, it would be art, but I can’t do that well enough to state it as a fact, so I’m STILL rudderless. HA!

  2. I tried around 5 different career paths, and none of them were right for me. I finally gave up in despair. That’s how I ended up where I am now, in a job that’s almost perfect for me. It’s was God’s doing. I understand now that His plans are always better than mine.

    Every time, all the time. It’s when He keeps them secret and doesn’t show us the way that things get screwed up. Like me. 😉 Nice to know it happened for someone, though! 🙂

  3. I’m doing what I want to do, I suppose. But whether or not that is my calling…I feel arrogant when I say that–as if I KNOW I can do it well and DESERVE to being doing it. For all I know, I’m delusional, kidding myself, great cosmic joke. THink about those poor fools on American Idol. Some of them believe with their heart and soul they should sing…and they are terrible.

    I know the feeling. I wrestle with this all the time; do I really have talent? Ability? Am I any good at this? A never-ending self-doubt cycle.

    Granted, most of them really want to be famous, and while I’m interested in success as a writer, I don’t want fame.

    But all I want to do is write and make art. Good question. Good to think about.

    And don’t play “what if…” You can NEVER win that.

    I’ve not won yet. Try as I might, I can’t always stop it. But thanks for coming by and sounding off!

  4. I never really wanted any career but writing so I spent 16 years going from one Kevin Smith like work situation to another. I was always convinced that fame and fortune were right around the corner.

    Hm. Not sure who Kevin Smith is, but I’ll assume it’s not ideal? And I’ve got sixteen years beat a MILE. 😉

    Sadly that was never case.


    The birth of my daughter changed that because I realized I was responsible for her well being and dreams. Because of that I set aside my own aspirations to work in a real growed up style job.

    Kids change everything, don’t they?

    Am I happy? Yes. I enjoy my work, my wife, my kid and now that writing isn’t some kind of publish or perish kind of thing, I’m having more fun with it than I ever had before.

    I bet. Letting go of a dream can very often help it take flight in new ways. Here’s to hoping, anyway. 🙂

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