No one wants to take the alternate route as it’s going to take longer to get to where you want to go. And if you are in a hurry, taking the alternate route is the last thing that you want to do.

However, there are times in each of our lives when we have to take the alternate route in order to get to our desired destination. If you are like the rest of us you would prefer using the direct route as it’s an easier route to travel.  In taking the direct route it has fewer bumps in the road, less curvy turns, and better overall conditions.

However, we all can’t take the easy route as you will learn that life isn’t that simple. For some of us, as a result of some obstacles that have occurred in our life, some caused by you and some by others, and only you know what those are, we have to settle for taking the alternative route.

But I have learned that taking the alternate route is not always a bad experience as it claims to be. It can be helpful to you in certain circumstances as it depends on how resilient you are. As a matter of fact, in taking the alternate route it can help to build character in yourselves because you will be tested in some way that you didn’t know before.

As a person who has been forced to take the alternate route several times in my life, I’m telling you that it may be difficult at times and you may want to give up. However, you shouldn’t quit as taking the alternate route does have some benefits if you hang in there.  Plus, there are more people taking the alternate route than you think so don’t feel like you are the only one in your situation.

I have also been surprised that taking the alternate route is so crowded. You will run into people from all walks of life.  Each of them will be trying to make to their destination just like you. In meeting these individuals you may learn something from them that can help resolve an issue in your life that you wouldn’t face if you took the direct route.

I would like to share a story how taking the alternate route has worked for me and I know that it can work for you if you look at the big picture view.

I got a job at I.B.M after taking a test which I did well. In my department, all the co-workers were children of people who worked at the firm. None of them had to take the test to get the job like I did. Each of these co-workers was granted an employment pass through status which meant they took the direct route. In getting the direct route status they were able to start work right away without going through a probation period.

Hence, I had to wait for the results of my test and two weeks before starting.  It was a time when discrimination was a hot topic so I understood the political climate that I was in. However, I didn’t let that block me from taking this job of working at this very prestigious company. Plus, being the first in my family to work at a fortune 500 company, I wasn’t going to pass up this great opportunity.

It was a little difficult at the beginning working with these privileged individuals as I was given the more difficult assignments. Each of them stated that they had never worked with a minority before as they didn’t know what to expect. To me, it was no big deal and I performed my job the best that I could and I also volunteered to help them on issues that they were having problems with.

As I got to know them better it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. As a matter of fact, in our conversations, they encouraged me to return to college to get my degree as I had taken time off to work. They reminded me that getting my degree was my only hope of getting ahead and I should do so.  They indicated that if I promised to go back to college (at night) they would cover for me on my nights to stay late so that I could finish up.

I was taken by surprised that these privileged individuals would do something this nice for me. After constant urging, I went back to college at night and finished up as they kept their promise like they said. This is a good example of some good people who you may run into in taking the alternate route because I didn’t expect their good gesture, but I’m happy that they did.

Additionally, the firm had a policy where we would be evaluated by our peers and by management to see how many employees would be able to go upstairs to work. Getting the opportunity to go upstairs to work meant that you were now part of the IBM family. Each of the candidates wanted to work upstairs badly as that represented you had a future at the firm.  Of the 20 candidates in my group, to my surprise, all of them had selected me as the person who had the highest potential for promotion which led to the highest evaluation.

Before the results of the test were published, the manager called me to his office and told me to shut the door. I thought for a moment that he was going to fire me for some reason. But to the contrary, he stated that I had received the highest score among my class. This would mean that I would be promoted to work upstairs and to get a salary increase.

The manager also advised that he was going to hire three minorities in the next hiring class because of how well that I had performed. He was now willing to take a chance which he didn’t want to do before. I thanked him for his honesty, but I asked him not to always take the person who has taken the direct route in life, sometimes the person who has taken the alternate route like myself, could also do well, we just need an opportunity. He thanked me for my comments and he also promised to use that way of thinking going forward.

Today, whenever I see people struggling because the direct route in life was closed for them, I remind them of my story. In coming from a large family and being basically raised by one parent, you had to learn how to use the alternate route to get to where you want to go. If you didn’t learn this valuable lesson you wouldn’t be successful in life. Once I discovered that taking the alternate route you can still make it, I did so and it worked for me. And if you show the mental toughness not to give up each time that you hit a bump in the road, it will work for you, as well.