While the stakes are not quite as high, I have recently had an opportunity to ‘burn the ships’ in my own life. I should probably back up a little to give this tale of adventure a proper setting. Fifteen years ago, my wife and I were doing college ministry. Fast forward a couple years and we had our first baby and were struggling to make ends meet. Another year later and I found myself back in a career I’d left to do ministry – retail banking. When the opportunity arose, through a friendly contact, to divert my career into workers’ compensation, I was happy to take it. It would be a means to an end, a stepping stone to finding my true calling, or so I thought.
Ten years passed. Life happened. We added three more awesome children. As an aside, I don’t know what I’d do if I had to look at the last fifteen years of my life and wonder where the years have gone with no answer but my broken career. One look at my wife and children and the regrets fade into the distant background.
I’ve been trying to discover my calling and create work I love for a while – tried an eBay store for a while, blogging, explored the life coaching option, etc. I had never lost a job in my life until the last 3 full time jobs I’ve had. The first company went out of business and the next two eliminated my position because there just wasn’t enough work to justify my position and they needed to save money. Having never felt called to workers’ comp./HR in the first place, I’m delighted to be free of that job. And, I am taking this opportunity to set fire to the ships, as it were. I’m done with the human resources career path I was on.
I was also tempted to burn the bridges I’ve built (sorry for the mixed metaphors), particularly with this last job. However, about 6 months ago I started producing a podcast (The Familyman Show) with Todd Wilson (www.familymanweb.com) and helping him with social media. My wife has a burgeoning photography business and I’m working on expanding my podcasting into a network (www.UnsocializedMedia.com – coming soon) focused on the homeschool market. I had a goal to transition to full-time self-employment this year anyway, so now I’m jumping in with both feet. And, while it is wise to commit oneself fully to an endeavor, even to the point of no return in some cases, it is foolhardy to destroy relationships and embarrass oneself in a moment’s rage at a former employer. See it as an opportunity to move on to the next adventure. I plan on being one of those people that says, six months after losing a job, that it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Question for you: Is something holding you back? Is there a situation in which you need to set fire to the ships?
When you do light the torch, be careful not to burn the bridges at the same time.