The journey is the destination

July 19, 2011
By: Amanda Carlson

A recent survey released by Mercer LLC states that approximately one-third of U.S. workers currently are considering leaving their jobs. The company surveyed 2,400 people and reported that 32 percent of them are "seriously considering" leaving, while another 21 percent said they don't want to leave but they do view their employers negatively and do not feel engaged at work.

The dissatisfaction is higher among workers in the 25 to 34 age bracket, where 40 percent are considering a job change, which makes sense. So many young workers are struggling to find jobs, meaning they are taking whatever they can get, even if it's not their "dream" job. However, there comes a point when everyone must decide if they want to continue doing what they have to do or take a journey to pursue what they want to do.

Retired teacher and metal artist Ray Carrington chose the latter. Fresh out of the U.S. Air Force, the northern California native took a job as assistant sales manager at a lumber firm and was on the path to someday becoming sales manager. But when he took a long, hard look at his boss, something stopped Carrington in his tracks.

"I looked at his life and I looked at my life and said, 'Boy, I wouldn't have his life on a bet,'" Carrington said.

So he went back to school and spent the next 35 years teaching advanced-level high school math, which he loved. Along the way he discovered that he had a talent for metal sculpting. Today he has taken that love of metal sculpting and turned it into a means to pay homage to an important era in our country's history and has set up a foundation to assist others in developing their artistic skills. If you talk to the now 81-year-old, you'll quickly find that he has no regrets about walking away from that job with the lumber company. You can read more about him in this month's Artist's Gallery.

Artist Peggy Ritschel's journey meant leaving the jewelry design industry and the West Coast for the Midwest. After enrolling in an engine repair class, she found a means to combine her fascination with metal with her passion for art—welding. Shortly thereafter she fell into a career teaching metal art sculpture and is responsible for building the metal art program at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Neb., where she has been for the last 16 years. While the teaching profession was somewhat unexpected, she has never felt more at home.

"I have this wonderful program and wonderful friends that I've met in the classes that I've taught. It's been amazingly rewarding."

Some people get lucky and find their dream job on the first try. But for those who didn't, Carrington and Ritschel are proof that sometimes taking a chance can trigger a journey that will lead us to exactly where we need to be.
Amanda Carlson

Amanda Carlson

FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Phone: 815-227-8260