Friday, March 1, 2013

Decision Tailgating

There's a road near my home that I usually take at about 35 mph. It's curvy, treacherous when wet, and I just don't like to go too fast on it. I always get tailgated. It's a byproduct of living in a major metropolitan area, I know, and I just try to deal with it.

I've noticed, though, that my career counseling clients sometimes face a similar problem. Some attract what I call decision tailgaters. These are people who, sometimes because they care, sometimes because they're impatient or have something at stake, ask about a decision you're trying to make and pressure you to speed up the process.

There are decisions that should take a long time in life, and trying to figure out how you're going to spend the bulk of your waking hours is one of them. Still, sometimes clients don't give enough thought to how these tailgaters affect their decision. It's the same feeling as when you look in your rearview mirror on an icy morning and see someone five feet from your bumper. You want it to not matter. But the blood pressure rises, the palms grip the wheel a little harder, and your decision making can really be affected.

The difference in the scenarios of course is that there's no doubt what the car tailgater's motivations are, but your decision tailgaters will couch their pressure in terms of concern and caring. But what it really does is bring your ability to make a decision into question. And that's no small thing. Decisions take confidence. It's a crucial ingredient.

Sometimes I think my main job as a career counselor is to let you know I have the utmost confidence in your ability to make a decision. How do I know? Because you've executed a million decisions by Friday, and if you're still alive and functioning in this crazy world, chances are you've made some decent ones.

You may get your tailgaters to back off a little by talking with them about their concerns, and maybe letting them know, ever so subtly, that you've made some decent decisions before, like marrying them, if it's your spouse, or befriending them, if it's a buddy. I'm sure there's something to dig up for your parents. That can be a tough one though.

So slow down, even if you've attracted a tailgater or two. They may have the best of intentions, but then again, they just might be impatient.


Here's a song to play, back from the days when videos were, you know, actually on TV. Because every little thing that you do is magic. OMG, the hats in this.