When we think about our careers we think about what we want. Will a chosen career have the earning potential we want? Will it limit us to living in a certain area? Will it give us an opportunity to grow? Will it continue to challenge us, or will we become bored in time? Yes, we may also consider our loved ones for whom we’d like to provide, but largely we think of the career journey (at least the American variety) as a singular, self-actuating experience.

Our decisions about what we want, however, are coupled with judgments, without which we could not decide the best path to pursue and with which our journey is far from singular. We take our past (forever subject to its influence no matter how much we’ve evolved), our present, and what we think we should become, sometimes contrary to what we want; and then – seldom can we help ourselves – we project. We project our insecurities about getting where we want to be on those around us – those who are in competition with us and those who want something different. We align ourselves with those who want to be like us, and who we want to be like, as long as they do not excel too far in front. We separate ourselves, if only internally, from those who we perceive as wanting something different, even if our good manners would never let us indicate we do. We place ourselves in a hierarchy of our creation which we may transcend or digress from, always reframing our narrative so that we may make sense of our trajectory.

So though we may be fond of saying we are not the type to judge and that it takes all kinds, only the saints among us, whose nature we have elevated above our own, are subject to exemption. We cannot escape that part of figuring out our fulfillment is making judgments not only about what is right for ourselves, but also about what we view is right for others – and we must be prepared to discover that others will also judge us.