Earlier today, a friend confided his professional ambivalence to me over the phone.
This isn’t to suggest that my friend is ambivalent about phones. He uses them all the time. But it’s natural to sometimes be of two minds when faced with only difficult options. I believe resolution is always at hand, and I wholeheartedly agree.
My friend started in right away on his career woes. It was an obvious sign, a cry for help. I could tell by his pathetic sobbing.
There is no better feeling in the world than helping a friend, letting him know it’s not the end of the world if I’m smarter than him. That’s why I gave my friend advice without him even asking. That’s the kind of guy I am.
Paying it forward is a way of life. When people give you good advice, share it.
Talking about it sharpens your own thoughts about your life goals. Of course, all the advice I’ve received from anyone turned out to be rubbish. So I had to make up something on the spot, and hope to god it was relevant.
What I came up with may sound strange, at first. But it is highly relevant to anyone stuck in work or life. People are the sum of all the stupid mistakes they’ve made. What harm could one more do?
Let’s say my friend’s name is Jim, but everyone calls him Jim.
Jim was at a crossroads. I don’t know why he had to phone me from a busy intersection, but that’s Jim for you.
Jim confided to me that he was at a crossroads. His job was going nowhere. He had pretty much gotten as high as he ever would at his firm, now that they’ve instituted regular toxicology screening. Jim wasn’t sure if he should find a job with a competing firm, or leave his sector altogether.
“Jim,” I said, “Have you ever considered telling everyone that you’ve joined Starfleet?”
The long ensuing silence on the line showed me that Jim was intrigued by the idea.
Eventually, I asked if Jim were still on the line. He said yes, but no, he hadn’t considered telling people he had joined Starfleet.
“I think it’d be a good career move for you,” I said. “A new employer; definitely a new sector, to say nothing of the Delta Quadrant. Plus, it will look great on your LinkedIn profile, and you get to wear a comfortable uniform.”
The best part is, I said at the end, when people ask what you do for Starfleet, Jim can say with a studied, casual shrug, “I go on adventures,” and then walk away, leaving the rest to other people’s imagination.
Jim didn’t know what to say at first. Then he said, “OK, but how will I make money?”
“Oh, you wouldn’t make any money,” I said. “But you would be institutionalized. Which is better because you won’t need money. And if you’re lucky, they’ll keep you sedated, and maybe even let you go on wearing the uniform.”
At that point, Jim had to get off the phone. I’d given him a lot of food for thought. What kind of friend would I be if I hadn’t?