This blog is on topics of interest to early career professionals who work with people with disabilities. Blog contributors have diverse perspectives on leadership, professional development, and success in changing systems to better serve people with disabilities and their families. For more information on Early Career Professionals, check out the website:

31 August, 2010

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” - Mike Tyson

Figuratively speaking of course. Who would have expected such resounding philosophy from the American heavyweight champion? While Tyson said this in response to a reporter’s question about his level of anxiety of a competitor developing a fight plan against him we can also use Tyson’s advice as early career professionals, stick with me on this. Most of us are in the position we are in, due to the fact that we are achievers. You know what I mean, the type of people that give thought to our professional actions and goals and then set out after them with rigorous planning and the execution of a well practiced debate team, conscious of the pros, cons and obstacles we will meet on our way. Along this road we develop professional relationships, resources and a bevy of skills that will serve us well as we make our way hand over hand up the career ladder to our ultimate goal. And then life happens.

You know what this is…it’s a number of factors that didn’t really make it into your original plan…a job that presented itself before you thought you were ready for it, a botched interview, re-location, a change in interests, or the most sneaky of them all love, which can lead to marriage and a family thus making your one person quest of the world come to a screeching halt and demand that you scrap your previous plans and now factor in these changes which you had never considered being there much less serving as big orange cones to defer your original course.

Long range planning has always been my personal life preserver; I took joy in mapping out my actions and tasks that could lead to everything from finishing grad school to paying off a credit card. What my life, and a doctorate degree, has taught me is that even the best laid plans can be re-directed with life’s changes. Those are the everyday events that subtly change your course until you realize it has been three weeks and your to do list has gone from a cute list of three things to do into four sheets of legal pad paper with a nasty attitude. When you are struck with this as an early career professional it is important to remember you are not alone and that even with these detours your journey can be all the sweeter. Let’s face it if you’re going to get punched in the face, and you will (figuratively), those life changes can help to soften the blow and remind you that even if you don’t see it coming change can be impetus to greatness that you could never have planned for.


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