When my husband and I adopted our first two cats from one of those New York City rescue agencies that set up on the street corner during the weekend and make it impossible for anyone at all affected by cute not to stop and ogle, the decision about which kittens we integrated into our lives was somewhat haphazard. One fell asleep with his feet on my husband’s shoulder and his head on my husband’s stomach. We couldn’t say no. Of the two remaining kittens in the litter we chose the one with stripes because he looked more different from the one we had already selected. The personality tests one can administer on the corner of West 72nd and Columbus are limited. So just because one with white paws happened to behave in a way that was undeniably adorable falling asleep in a sort of random way as kittens do, we choose the second kitten because he had stripes.
Making a decision about a job offer isn’t all that different. You have likely evaluated numerous factors such as pay, benefits, room for advancement, the amount of required travel, and the length of the commute, but at the end of it all you accept a job where you will spend the majority of your day, for potentially years, with relatively little information. No matter how many Glassdoor reviews you’ve read and informed colleagues you’ve spoken with, you still never really know exactly what you’re getting into.
Life’s big decisions, getting married, having a child (or bringing a host of animals into your life), and beginning a new job, you enter into deluded – you think you see, but you don’t. Expectations are meant to offer guidance, not to be absolute. What brings fulfillment is different for everyone, but I can you tell you with certainty that you will be more fulfilled on your journey if you accept that your knowledge is incomplete and expectations are meant to be flexible.