There is a time for everything.
All around the world the rhythms of life dance to their own drummer. Here, where I live, much of the pulse of daily life is influenced by the tens of thousands of undergrads who roam the city nine months of the year.
In just a few days they will be returning to town, save those who stayed for the summer cadging the odd job or extra class, and everything will change again.
The quiet campus streets so easy to ride through today will be choking with pedestrians many here for the first time wandering with a mix of fear and awe in their eyes. The local grocery store will be crowded again brimming with new cashiers while the beer and peanut putter sections will be utterly depleted.
And the coffee shop, comfortable in its quiet and solitude today will attract the stragglers at all hours like moths to a light and the lonely will find solace in a cup of tea or mug of java.
But today is not that day.
Today is another summer day (my favorite season) as the temperature breaks 100 degrees again, the sun is bright and no one even remembers where their coat is. Today is not the season for new arrivals in town. Today is the celebration of the warmth and long days and sunny smiles.
Careers are made of times too. Time for everything.
There is a time for taking new risks, for moving from one field to another, for taking a lateral move to broaden skill sets.
There is a time for career first, when friends and family are asked to wait as we work long days, give up weekends and miss the inevitable celebrations of life with others. A time when we put work first so we can develop our competence and credibility.
But much like the seasons that move inexorably forward shifting seamlessly from one time to another, work too is a continuum not a constant.
Recognize there is a time to pull back as well. Deliver that project after weeks of long hours and absent friends? Its time to reconnect with the people in your life and remind yourself what social means. Wrestle a tough assignment to the ground or repair that damaged customer relationship? Time to celebrate and leave the office early a few times doing some things just for you.
In the workplace the notion that we never stop, never take our foot off the pedal, never take a break is nonsense. That’s what movies and myth are made of. In real life bosses and workers alike know there are times to push hard and times to pull back valuing the other aspects of our lives.
Long-term career success is about enjoying work and our contributions as well as the constant challenge of learning new social and technical skills. Even an electric current, seemingly constant, actually varies tremendously from moment to moment just as it continues to flow.
We’re like that too. Our intensity varies even as our light never dulls.
Live a long happy fulfilling life knowing there is a time for everything, and giving everything its time.
Enjoy that cup of coffee this morning knowing full well next week the shop may be crowded. There is time for everyone.