How old is too old to be worrying about what you want to do for a living? I have four children whose ages range from 28 to 19. Not surprisingly, none of them really knows what career they would like to make their own. I can identify with them completely because, at 51, I really don’t know what I want to do either. Actually, that is not quite true. Remove all obstacles and I would be running my own micro roastery again. However, in the here and now, there are significant obstacles that prevent me from going in that direction…not the least of which is my own code of ethics.
I have a decent paying job with lots of vacation time and good benefits. I could ride it out until retirement, but who wants to spend their life “riding it out?” Especially the last years of their life? For many, this discussion seems silly, as work is an insignificant part of their life. Unfortunately, I am one of those passion and purpose driven people for whom work is an essential part of who they are. I have tolerated my current work situation for years by working side jobs, starting my own business and returning to school. These distractions kept me occupied, if not happy. I woke up one day a realized that I have spent most of my life living “someone else’s life.”
I tried to leave home at 19. That sounds perfectly normal on the surface, but I’m not talking about moving down the street to rent an apartment (which is what I ended up doing). I was born with a restless soul, a traveling itch and a need for constant change. My cousin and I agreed to sell our cars, buy motorcycles and leave town. We had no destination, no time frame, no plan. He sold his car; I totaled mine. He got tired of waiting on me and left. I stayed home and got married. To this day, my mother, who knows me better than most, will tell you that if I had escaped, she would likely have never known where I was at any given time in my life. She saw the restless romantic in my eyes. Here I am, though, 32 years later, living a good life with a great family…and a dreamer’s soul still trying to escape.
Which brings me back to decisions. Some interesting options have presented themselves to me lately as possible opportunities for change. One involves returning to the coffee industry, but on a larger scale. I am currently talking to one of the fastest growing coffee companies in the United States. They present me with an opportunity to return to roasting…on an industrial scale. While I would lose the intimate feel of a micro roaster, I would gain a wealth of exposure to information, training, growth, experience…and corporate benefits…maybe even an origin trip or two. The fact that it would require a move is a double-edged sword. On the downside it means my wife would have to find new work as well. I really don’t think she is keen on the idea of moving or changing jobs…unless the move is Florida. On the upside, I would be smack in the middle of some of the finest motorcycle roads in the United States, the Appalachian region. If I were single, my decision would already be made. After all, what motorcycle loving nomad could turn down roads like this?
The other option allows me to stay right where I am, but enter a completely new type of business. It is a locally owned enterprise that is set for growth. It is intimate, filled with passionate people and provides a level of excitement and anticipation that I have not seen since I ran my coffee business. The upside is also the downside…no corporate benefits and more risk. Should these two options be offered to me then it will be time to make one of the most significant decisions of my life. Exciting and a bit frightening at the same time. Should I “play it safe,” and give up on the passion, or should I “go out with a bang?”
The other decision I am looking at is much more light hearted; should I buy this?