“Wherever we are, it is but a stage on the way to somewhere else, and whatever we do, however well we do it, it is only a preparation to do something else that shall be different.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
My grandfather was a die cutter and machinist throughout his career. It was a trade he and his brother shared, and it provided comfortably for his family for over four decades.
The job was laborious and monotonous at times – lacking any real creativity or artistry. But my grandfather was incredibly good at it – meticulous in his work down to the smallest detail.
When it was time for my grandfather to retire, we all wondered if he’d be content simply sitting home watching The Price is Right after over 40 years of working long, hard days. Well, he wasn’t and soon he found something new to fill his days, though a far cry from the machine work he was so accustomed to – oil painting.
When I first learned of my grandfather’s new hobby I was pretty surprised, for as long as I’d known him “artistic” would not be a word used to describe him. But he surprised us all, and after a few lessons from a well-known professional painter, my grandfather was producing what I think are masterpieces, which are still hanging in many rooms of my home today.
I like to think he was preparing all those years for something different later on.
His story reminds me that no matter where you might be in your career today, it doesn’t have to be where you remain. All the experience and education you harvest day in and day out are invaluable assets you most definitely will utilize to do something “different”.
Many of us assume that our skillsets are only useful for the job we’re familiar and comfortable with. But sometimes they may just be the preparation we need to explore new opportunities. Remember, everything we learn is beneficial in life. And where you are today does not have to be forever, but it just might be a new place to start.