How I Learned From A Missed Opportunity

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“You’re hired,” said the man behind the desk.

“Really? I can’t believe it! I’m so excited!” I practically jumped out of my chair.

“Yes really, you’re perfect for the job. We are looking forward to having you. There’s just one thing – we need you right away. You have to be on a plane in 48 hours.”

Two days? Was this a joke? How could 23 year-old me possibly move to Turks & Caicos in 48 hours?

I looked out of the window onto the busy Manhattan street. I was interviewing for a job at a Club Med Resort to work on the beautiful island where I had just vacationed. It was rainy and raw outside in New York and I was being offered an opportunity live on a tropical island for at least six months. What could be better?

“Can you give me more time? I need to get things in order before I leave.” I stared at this man hoping he would allow me a week or two. I had to quit my job, break this news to my parents, get my things together, and of course, shop for vacation-type clothing.

“I can give you 72 hours, but no more than that. We need to fill the space immediately. If you decide not to take it, we have to move onto the next person.” We shook hands and I headed to home on the train to Long Island.

My friends and I recently spent a week in Turks & Caicos and loved it. Everyone who worked there was young and happy. I called the Club Med corporate office the day I arrived home and had an interview the following week. The interview went exactly the way I hoped it would.

The idea of it made me want to jump out of my train seat and scream to everyone that I was going to work at Club Med. But there was another part of me that was so nervous at the thought of it that I was unable to move.

How could I pick up and leave on a whim? I had a life. I had plans. How would it look if I quit my first out-of-college job without the acceptable notice? I wanted to save enough money to move into New York City with my girlfriends. Would they forget me and let someone else take my place? And what about my parents? They would be worried sick about me living in another country, and I would be homesick. My current life wouldn’t pause and wait for me. Maybe it was best to turn down the job.

On the other hand, it would be so exciting to live in Turks & Caicos. I would have new experiences and meet different people. My dream was to live on the beach and I would be doing just that. I was young with few responsibilities, when would I be able to do something like this again?

I was up all night. I discussed my decision with my parents and close friends. Everyone was helpful but the decision was ultimately mine. The next day I called the Club Med office. I just couldn’t do it, not in 72 hours.

Life moved on. I moved into the apartment with my girlfriends. I got a new job. I fell in love with my husband, got married and had two beautiful daughters.

Even though life was good, I couldn’t help but think about that job decision. Would my life have been different? Would I still be Turks & Caicos, married with little beach babies? Would I have come home after a few months and gone on with my life in NY? Would I have met my husband? Would I have eventually worked in that Club Med corporate office?

I will never know the answers. Since making that decision, I have made many others, some which I regret much more. However, this one stands out. I didn’t go out of my comfort zone and try something completely different. It always feels like a missed opportunity.

A few months ago, I received an email from Mimi, an editor of one of the online magazines for which I had been writing. She was leaving her position and thinking about starting a new site. I had been thinking of channeling my writing into something, but I had no idea what.

While she hadn’t offered me anything, I saw this as an opportunity. Should I be bold and ask her if she would like a partner?

I wasn’t an editor and I didn’t start writing until later in life. She could laugh in my face. Even if she said yes, it would probably be a lot of work, and I did not have that kind of time. I didn’t even know this woman. We could hate each other. What if we created a site and it was terrible? What if nobody read it? We might fail miserably.

As I stared at her email, I thought about my Club Med decision. Back then, I chose the safe route. I let my fear and insecurities take over and I always regretted it.

Not this time. “Would you like to partner with me on a new venture?” I typed into an email and hit send. She immediately responded, “Yes!”

We are on our way. Living the Second Act has launched and we are hoping to be a great success. I am sure that there will be many bumps in this road, and that’s okay. Taking a chance means you may stumble and fall, but I will always know that this time, I tried.

I may not be living on a beach, but I am hoping this second act will be full of adventures.


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