My mantra to my children when at secondary school was the more options you have available, the better you will be. It is better to achieve results allowing entry to the University and Course most in demand, and then elect to go elsewhere because you can, rather than because you have to.
All too many of us fail to do what is needed to give ourselves choices. How often do you hear of someone who is stuck in a job or profession and feels trapped for a lack of choices? They may be compromising their health and wellbeing, relationships and even their ethics or beliefs.
In many cases it is the need to preserve or keep collecting goods and possessions that cause someone to feel they have limited choices. They may be locked in a debt trap or an ego driven need to compete.
About 12 months ago, a friend of mine was in a constant stressed and almost anxious state visibly impacting their overall health.
They were the ultimate professional in their chosen profession. They were much admired by colleagues they worked directly with, but more importantly, also admired and respected by those they dealt with sparingly. Their performance was, as it always had been, exemplary. When Executive Management needed someone to attend a Board Meeting to address a technical product issue, they were called upon out of a group of 30 other available Professionals.
They were highly regarded by the employer, and equally regarded in the broader Industry.
Their employer had implemented significant operational changes meaning there was less respect for professional skills and more demand on the most basic of clerical skills. Every one hour of professional activity was now followed by three of more hours of non-professional work.
Further, there was a growing feeling more value was placed upon producing volume of 'any' quality rather than comprehensive professionally produced output. There was also concern the reputation of an employer they had represented proudly for quite some years was in danger of being damaged if other practitioners embraced the concept of volume over substance.
Concerns were raised on several occasions, formally and informally.
They resigned believing to continue performing a role that was not sitting comfortably professionally and potentially ethically was not worth the effect it was having on their health.
This person was not of retiring age.
However, common sense over many years had ensured not being locked in to a situation where ethics, health, wellbeing or wellness would be compromised for lack of options.
Returning to work is not out of the question but it is doubtful to be a return to their profession.
I am not talking about someone who is wealthy, just someone who has applied common sense over quite a few years ensuring options were available to be called upon.
Importantly, they were not locked in to an image they felt bound to protect or an ego they were addicted to.
When health was declining and ethics challenged, they were able to act to restore one and maintain the other.
A year or more on, they are healthy, happy and busy, just not performing the role as an employee.
Irrespective of age, start building your options, and in the best-case scenario, you will never have to call upon them.