I remember a man I used to work with at one of my old jobs. And enough time has passed (I think) for me to be objective about it. Let’s call him “B”. Firstly, I only knew him on a professional level to make things clear.
B was an older guy that seemed in so many way similar to me. He normally had a very serious demeanor, he liked to bike, he rarely drank alcohol, and he didn’t seem like natural born leader (I’ll get to this later.) For me looking at him superficially, he seemed like a lean, hard, grizzled veteran of decades in the corporate word, that didn’t much enjoy his life as much as he could have. And he seemed slightly bitter though I couldn’t put my finger on it.
I looked at my own path at 21 when I was an intern in upstate New York. It was my first time living alone and working. So I considered it my first taste of the “real world.” I was determined to set the pace and put my best foot forward. I cooked my own food. I exercised, read books, walked/biked everywhere, saved all I could, etc.
As I took this route with youthful enthusiasm, I looked at “B” and started seeing similarities with him. He was in an upper management position yes, but for any major decision, he seemed to defer to the top dog. Hence he never seemed to be a natural leader in my eye. It looked to me more like he simply outlasted everyone else to get to where he’s at (of course I don’t know for sure).
What’s the price that was paid (as there’s always a price)?
It cost decades so time for him to get what he’ got. And as we began working closer together, I told him about my dream to travel the world. He would then steer the conversation to be about his work years in western Europe. It seemed as if he was trying to compare himself to a much younger guy.
When I personally look at “B”, he hasn’t seen much of the world. And I know in my heart that if I were unable to see the word with my youth and vigor intact, that would be something I’d regret or the rest of my life. No amount of career success can replace it.
Anyways, the point. When you’ve chosen a path. Look at someone 5 years, a decade and even more ahead of you and ask:
Is this what I want?
How you respond determines whether your chosen path aligns with your values.
Kingston S. Lim
April 4, 2020
San Francisco, CA