The Challenges of Career

‘A career is an individual’s journey through learning, work, and other aspects of life.  There are a number of ways to define a career and the term is used in a variety of ways.’   Wikipedia

I was sitting in church this morning and enjoying the sermon, by a visiting minister, when suddenly I thought of the challenges of career.

I often think of those who I know, friends and family, that are in the midst of their work careers.  Many of the hurdles and snares..that they describe…ring so true with my experience when I was working.


I recall, so clearly, as if it was yesterday, my fears regarding my various positions at Southern Illinois University.  Almost from the day that I began, on October 10, 1978, I was cautioned that the administration was seriously considering ‘contracting out’ the housekeeping service at the Campus.


Outsourcing, was a serious concern to me as I had just begun the best job  that I had ever had…and saw that there was room to advance in the department.

Over the 25 years that I was a manager in Building Services I had the goal that the department would not be ‘contracted out’ on my watch!

Being a manager, especially in the beginning years, was a herculean challenge, and many nights I was awake until dawn…worrying over events and ‘traps’ that lay in front of me.

Mary Jane and I spoke with a wonderful Professor friend, this morning, after church. I was so impressed with her sunny and can do attitude and her contribution to the success of SIU.  This fine professional is so indicative of the world class Professors and Staff that the University is blessed with…and who want to be engaged by leadership…to aid in the premier pursuit of the recruitment and retention of our University’s most precious citizens…our students.


I thought of ministers this morning…during the sermon.  I have always had an affinity and been captivated by the calling of persons of the cloth.

Having worked with several ministers, in my life, I known first hand the difficulties and vagaries of serving a congregation.

The old saying, ‘you can not please all of the people all of the time,’ is correct times two…when it comes to ministers.


However, I would say that there is hope in the calm and considered pursuit of a well thought out work career.  My old friend, Joe Cash, told me once that, ‘there is light at the end of the tunnel.’

When I reflect on my work career…it fit together like a well chiseled puzzle.  What seemed trepidatious and frightening at the time…now has been revealed as a lovely plan that was difficult to see when I was in the midst of it.


Career…does not end when you retire.

Over the past, almost seven years, I have developed a second hobbyist career of photography and writing and travel.


When I call these items career choices…I am serious…as I spend considerable time each day pursuing these joyful endeavors.

Also, volunteer work continues to be part of my ‘career plan’ or ‘second chapter.’

The health and success of my beloved University…also…continues to be of my daily interest.


And, I must not forget…walking….which provides me with fresh ideas and initiatives and projects…each day.

Life….is the ultimate…Career!


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