Why Plans Just Aren't Worth It

Posted on Friday, Nov 08, 2019

Sometimes, having everything planned is the worst plan of all. That’s right; I said it. To everyone out there who thinks that they have everything organized and thought out, this post is for you. Someday, your dream plan is probably going to come crumbling down like a Jenga tower, just like mine did. But that’s ok; I’d even dare to say that it’s for the best. I used to be just like you and guess what? Everything I had tediously thought out went down the pipe. But don’t stop reading just yet; things got better, just like they will for you.
In April, I received an offer from the U.S. Department of State to intern with them for the coming Fall semester. I was elated to be the first PPIP intern in my cohort to receive an offer. Then when I graduated last August, I, Riley Bookout, a member of the Class of 2020, was able to proudly boast that I was the first member of my high school class to graduate from college. Everything seemed to be going smoothly as I achieved my goals one by one. Soon I was going to find a full time job that would lead me to the prestigious position of a Foreign Service Officer. Annnnnnddd stop. Surely you knew this was too good to be true, right? As I write this post, I have yet to start my position with the State Department and I never will because of technical issues. The internship I had dreamed of since I was 15 has slipped between my fingers despite being firmly within my grasp. For once in my life, it seemed that my dream was out of sight. Well, spoiler alert: it never really was.
Due to my lack of an internship, I had to quickly accept an offer from an office with the Department of Commerce that I, quite frankly, was not thrilled with at first. I majored in International Studies’ Politics and Diplomacy because I was interested in diplomacy, not commerce. But having spent 2 months with my current office, I can wholeheartedly say that this has been one of the greatest opportunities in my life. I have learned far more about government and international work than I could’ve hoped for. This internship has opened not only doors to new possibilities, but also my eyes to a different future than what I had imagined. I don’t even know if I want to be a Foreign Service Officer anymore. If I had been totally closed off to anything that veered from my plan, I wouldn’t see the world in my front of me that I now see. Simply put, my plan was both foolish and sort of dangerous.
I know it feels secure and exciting to have everything organized, but is that really how you want to live your life? Do you want to go on knowing that you could have done something even better, something that you’d love even more? Think about that. And when your plan inevitably steers from its intended path, remember what happened to me and that you’ll be just fine.

Riley Bookout
U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, D.C. | fall 2019