07 April, 2006

Career Advice for More than Submariners

Chapomatic has a post that really hits home for me, particularly with my impending career change. He describes the ways in which his career path and the paths of others in the submarine world whom he respected didn't go as planned.

...Sometimes one grabs the brass ring and falls into the gears of the merry-go-round instead.

Some time later, a different opportunity appeared. I embarked on a campaign to join a team where my strengths could best be used in a form that adds the most value, and has the most influence, on something I care deeply about–supporting the war. Didn’t hurt to make a clean break, either. I believe that my new path has the potential to have much more of a difference than I would have had otherwise.
I hopefully find myself at the beginning of what he describes in that last paragraph. I feel like I need to make a clean break, myself. I don't know what opportunity is on my horizon, but I'm trying to believe that it is there.

Throughout one’s career one will interact with people who are valuable but not going on the same Path to Greatness, or people who are not going to do what they originally intended. Submariners don’t see much of the business world or even the other communities or services, so we don’t know how prevalent that is. Sometimes, we in our warfighting arrogance consider some guy they meet with dolphins on as either On Due Course or Lesser Being.
I literally spent 12 years working to be allowed to do what I've done for the last three. Everybody told me I would change careers just like everybody else. I told them, "No way. I've never wanted to do anything else." Yet here I am? What does it mean that I'm no longer sure I chose the right course, that I failed in my goals?

He concludes:
Risk cannot be removed without losing all gain. One who tries can fail. One who fails can fail with honor, despite the failure. I have succeeded and I have failed in my life. So have we all.
I suppose the question for myself is why I failed, and what I will make of that failure for my future. I wish I knew the possibilities... but at least I'm willing to look for them. But it's oh so scary...