The Skinny Branches | Career Angles

The skinny branches

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

“You’ll hurt yourself.”

“They’ll cheat you.”

“You can’t do that.”

Parents mean well.

At least some parents do.

These parents want the best for their children and are afraid that they will be hurt somehow.

At least, that’s how I interpret it.

I never climbed a tree.

I’m not sure I could, but my mom was always worried that I might fall and hurt myself.

The problem is that many of us (and I include myself in this) never learned how to climb out on “the skinny branches” of trees.

The skinny branches are the place where your weight on those branches might cause you to fall/fail.

I/we never learn to take risks.

We learned that taking a risk might cause us to fail and get hurt, personally and professionally.

I think back to the risk I took when I met my wife. I have been married twice already and had been divorced twice. My second wife died from her addictions a few weeks after the divorce became final.

I was damaged goods and very fearful. Although I dated, I always expected to be alone and sad.

Professionally, I was impetuous, starting one business or another that was doomed to failure.

I didn’t know how to take calculated risks. I took impetuous ones.

When I met my third wife, we were older students in grad school.

We would go out on a date, and I would not hear from her again. This happened twice, separated by a year.

And when she called out of the blue a few years later and left a message, I called back. When she didn’t return my call, I called again. As you would expect, she did return that call, and I left a message in her voicemail that teased her.

I took a chance that changed my life.

I did that when we moved to Pennsylvania from the New York area. I was as New York City as it comes but also knew that New York at stop being fun for me a while ago.

And then I left the firm I was associated with for many years. I took another risk.

I then took another risk of training for a career change and then making that change.

I learned how to make fewer “all in” chances and gradually climbed out on skinny branches that could hold my weight even though I’m not 24 anymore, and at an age, many have already retired by.

I’m looking at something new and adding it to my repertoire.

Skinny branches.

You can’t stay in the safety of proximity to the tree trunk all the time.

You have to climb out further.

I won’t risk everything.

I may fall.

Something is exciting about the newness . . And something scary, too.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021



Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on for Apple TV and 90+ smart sets.

If you have a quick question for me, you can get it answered with a 3–5 minute video.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching? Please click here to see my schedule to book a free discovery call or schedule time for coaching.

Connect with me on LinkedIn. Like me on Facebook.

Join the Career Angles group on Facebook.

Career angles
Career angles

We grant permission for this post and others to be used on your website as long as a backlink is included and notice is provided that it is provided by Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter as an author or creator plus a backlink to


The Skinny Branches | Career Angles

About the author

Leave a Comment, Thought, Opinion. Speak like you're speaking with someone you love.

%d bloggers like this: