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Thoughts on Work Wednesday: Wandering

It should come as no great shock that I'm a Lord of the Rings fan. I love the writing - Tolkein is a master storyteller and world-builder - and the tale of small people overcoming great odds is timeless. On of my favorite excerpts from the book is Bilbo's poem "All that is gold does not glitter."

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

From the plethora of T-shirts, canvas totes and Pinterest images out there, the line above, "Not all those who wander are lost" resonates with a lot of us. Today I was thinking about it in the context of work. Sometimes I worry that I don't have a clear trajectory in my "career". I read an article from some accomplished woman - I think she was a journalist - advocating the need for 5, 10 and 15 year plans so you know where you are heading and the goals you need to achieve. Well, I guess that's well and good if you know where you want to to be in 15 years - or for the rest of your life. But how many people do you know that feel that way? Who even knows where they want to be in one - maybe two years?

I feel like my career path right now is much more that of a wanderer. Since graduating three years ago I have worked as a writer for a museum, an event planner for a fair trade company and now an assistant at a college. The jobs, from the outside at least, have very little to do with one another and certainly don't make up a classic job path. When I think about my next job (which I do, often) I see a wide range of options and honestly, timing and opportunity will likely determine which way I go. And I'm ready to try something new. None of the jobs I've had so far have been the perfect fit - so why not try something different? Just because I don't have a straight path to walk doesn't mean I'm lost - I'm just experiencing all the interesting things the road has to offer.

How about you - do you have a plan or are you just enjoying/trying not to stress the journey?


  1. I think the traditional job path has been thrown out the window to anyone who graduated with a liberal arts degree after 2008. You are certainly not alone, and my path shares many similar twists and turns. Hang in there!

  2. I agree with Bilbo, you may be wandering but you're not lost. You are gainfully employed and have dreams and aspirations. No one ends up taking exactly the path they thought they would and many people are glad that they took some detours.
    I scored a like new Tolkien boxed set for $10 at the library book sale :)
    I needed them too, mine are falling apart!


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