Our Choices Add Up

Each choice matters

Bad choices will be made, we can’t stop this, but it’s how we learn and improve our decision making skills that help us create a career we love and grows with us. Each choice you make either builds your happiness or subtracts from it.

Last year I had to choose between two events that I wanted to go to that I thought could help me. I chose one over the other because it was a bit easier to get to and I thought the event was a higher quality group of people. Bad choice.

Understanding what bothers you is just as important as understanding what excites you.” – Chris Guillebeau

I paid for flight, hotel, food, and I basically flushed my money down the toilet. The event was terrible. It was filled with people that weren’t my target market. I ended up just chalking it up as a loss.

Of course it wasn’t a total loss because the adventure was fun. I met a kind man in a store as I was looking for a gift for my son. He walked me around the store, helping me find the perfect gift. After I was done I told him I wanted to check out. I expected him to walk up to the register and help me cash out. He told me that he was just browsing and frequents the store for his grandson.

He just helped out of the goodness of his heart.

Your Best Guess

I made the best guess of which conference to attend with the information I had at the time. I weighed out my decision and tried my best to be smart about my choice.

We are faced with these choices in our career and sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t It’s the fact of your career and life. You can’t be perfect in every choice, but you can grow with each experience.

I got an amazing story out of the experience. That in itself made the trip worth my time and money.

How About You?

What bad career choice had a silver lining for you? happiness of pursuit book giveaway* The person who leaves the best answer in the comment section will have a chance to win a hardback copy of Chris Guillebeau’s new book “The Happiness of Pursuit.” (Aff. Link) I'll mail the book with my own money if the winner is in the USA. If you are outside the states then we'll have to figure out plan B (either give it to the next best entry or pay for the extra shipping to your country).

11 thoughts on “Our Choices Add Up”

  1. I worked for a firm where I was subjected to workplace bullying. Funnily enough what I got from that job, apart from the knowledge of the industry and 18 months of work experience, was to learn to be more sure of myself and not let others make me feel inadequate or less. I also learned to show compassion to those who were throwing their pain at me. I wouldn't say I have mastered that but I have put it into practice as often as possible.

  2. Karl Staib - WHN Author and Speaker

    Hi Katie! Workplace bullying is rampant in all kinds of organizations. Life is hard enough without other people acting like jerks to us. I can see you learned a lot from the experience.

    I was also bullied at work. The key for me was letting go of trying to be something I wasn't to fit in. When I enjoyed who I was and my behavior, other people's comments didn't matter as much. This was over a course of many years, therapy sessions, books, and confidential conversations with friends. I'm still far from perfect and people's negative comments can still hurt, but they don't sink in as deep and I'm able to let them go quicker.

    Thanks for a great comment.

  3. I love the "kind man in the store" story! That's awesome. A friend of mine just experienced that at a clothing store. This lady took her all around the store, helping her pick out clothes, waited as she tried things on and gave her feedback. Then my friend made her picks and went to pay and the lady had disappeared! The checkout person said that was just a customer who comes in a lot. So great. It would have been even better, though, if they had said, "There was no lady in here other than you."

  4. Karl Staib - WHN Author and Speaker

    Hi Jason! Lol! That would have been an awesome response. Then they ask, "Are you feeling ok? you look a bit pale." 🙂

    It's amazing how giving and kind people can be when they are doing something just out of the goodness of their heart.

  5. It wasn't really a career choice as it was a temp job to tide us over between jobs. I'd gotten a temp position at a police department. This was in the mid '90s and I knew NOTHING about computers. Of course it was all computerized. Reports, spreadsheets, everything. I accidently deleted a template Word file and screwed up so much. They let me go from that job and moved me to another one, of course, but I was determined at that moment that I was going to learn this computer thing no matter what. I bought my first computer - Windows 3.1, no modem - and started to learn. That one experience has led to me building my own (bad!) family website in HTML, upgrading the RAM in my desktop, learning WordPress, selling on eBay, blogging - and it's changed my life and my ideas about work now and in the future.

  6. Karl Staib - WHN Author and Speaker

    Hi Christina! It's amazing how every bad situation can have a silver lining if we look hard enough. The faster that we can separate from the pain of being fired, boss turns down a project, or a snide remark the faster we can get back to taking action.

    I'm so glad that you took a tough situation and turned it into something positive. Looks like you are doing work that you truly care about. That's awesome.

  7. Great post, Karl. One time I took a new position in my company that had a killer commute (meaning it was horrible.) It took an hour and a half each way if I drove, 2 hours if I took the bus. There wasn't even a direct bus route, I had to switch buses halfway through. And when I arrived at my office, I still had to walk a mile to the actual office.

    But it was my choice.

    The experience I gained in that position was priceless. It turned out to be a dream job because in that particular organization, they had money to spend. So my job was basically, figure out how to spend money.

    But I spent it wisely, hiring consultants, developing unique courses and programs that employees couldn't get anywhere else, which ultimately benefited the company greatly.

    One of my favorite events was hiring Seth Godin to speak to us. Since he didn't like to travel, we broadcast him from a small studio in New York to everyone in our company across the nation (who showed up or watched the recorded version.)

    You're right, sometimes you just never know what can happen when you make a bad choice.

  8. I was working in video game quality assurance, and I ended up getting the privilege of traveling to Cupertino to test our games in Apple's Compatibility Labs. It was a delightful experience, as the people and the atmosphere at Apple are simply brilliant.

    When I came back, my boss at the video game company suggested that he was afraid of losing me to Apple (I suspect that my enthusiasm over the journey was showing). On the spot, I expressed that loyalty was important to me, and that I would remain loyal to him and the video game company. I remained there many years until he and his boss (the director of the QA division) were let go. The company eventually went bankrupt.

    In retrospect, I should have planned a potential transition, and applied to Apple, as I knew that the man in charge of games at Apple was leaving his position. I could have made a real difference there.

    This experience has taught me that loyalty is indeed important. Most important though, is loyalty to your own passion and love.

  9. Karl Staib - WHN Author and Speaker

    Hi Rex! Sounds like putting up with the commute was crazy hard. The longest commute I had was 45-60 minutes depending on traffic. Your commute was 2x as long. It looks like it was all worth it though. You gained a lot of experience and got to talk with Seth Godin. You never know what skills, joy, or interesting things you are able to do in a difficult situation until you try to make it happen.

  10. Karl Staib - WHN Author and Speaker

    Hi Jim! I love your last line. ...loyalty to your passion and love. It goes back to the importance of making yourself happy. If we aren't happy how can we expect to do work that lights us up inside.

  11. Karl Staib - WHN Author and Speaker

    The winner of Chris Guillebeau's book was Rex Williams! Congrats to Rex.

    Thank you so much to everyone who commented and joined in on the discussion. I wish I could give all of you a copy of Chris's book.

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