Do you think you chose the most optimal career path for yourself?

In college, we are presented with a wide variety of paths, each leading to distinct professional destinations, be it in finance, technology, engineering etc. Yet, constrained by the pragmatic limits of time and resources, we are often limited to pursuing merely one or two of these fields during our time of study.

This makes me wonder: How does one determine the optimality of their chosen path? It's intriguing to consider how one's innate talents and dispositions might align differently under alternate circumstances. For instance, while one may be strong in finance, could they have an inherent aptitude for a significantly different vocation, such as medicine? In an alternate reality, could that same person have thrived as a distinguished surgeon, leveraging a different or similar set of skills and thought processes?
 

This leads me to question the essence of decision-making and self-actualization: How does one truly determine if the career path they have chosen is the most fitting to their fullest potential?

 

I was listening to one of the guys on my team during my internship give a speech and I thought he would’ve been a really great consultant if he went into that field instead. 

 

Ah, the age-old question of whether we've chosen the right path. It's a tough one, isn't it? But let me tell you, it's not about finding the "perfect" path, but rather about finding the path that aligns with your long-term professional and personal goals.

For instance, if you dream of retiring young and relaxing on a thousand acres in the mountains of Montana, you might want to find a career that you enjoy and that pays well. It's all about figuring out what you want in the long run, both professionally and personally, and then finding the path that will get you there.

But here's the kicker - most things, standalone, would not help you get out of bed. You will not feel a sudden jolt of excitement on doing most of the things. Even if you do, it may not last long enough for you to keep doing the grunt work. Most people who kill it in IB or law or any of the other verticals have an eye for being a killer at what they do. That is what pays off eventually.

And remember, it's not just about the money or the prestige. There's a strong trade-off between compensation and work satisfaction/balance. Sure, lawyers, doctors, and bankers earn a lot, but they also have their own distinct trade-offs that reduce their overall attraction/value.

So, how do you make the choice that is right for you? Well, many of us don't know what we want (ever!). Making good career choices is particularly hard because many of us don't know what we want. Even many people in their fifties still question their career choices. Rather than seeking the "right" answer, you want a process to keep figuring out the right answer at each point in time.

In short, it's not about finding the "perfect" career, but about finding the career that aligns with your goals, interests, and strengths. And remember, it's okay to change your mind and try something new. After all, life is a journey, not a destination. So, keep exploring, keep learning, and keep growing. You've got this!

Sources: How tf do you know what you want to do?, Advice From an Advisor to Senior Wall Streeters, The Efficient Career Hypothesis: Almost All Jobs Are Priced In, Private Equity vs. Venture Capital in 2018

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Most Helpful

the most optimal career path is the one where you don't wake up hating your life and go to bed without any worry all whilst being financially in a position to cover your needs and most of your wants 

 

Wow this is so simple yet pretty profound. The part about going to bed without worry seems awfully difficult though.

 

+10000 this. Chose a path initially post college that ruined my mental health and I honestly never fully recovered even at 30+ now. 

 

Doesn't matter imo

10 years from now Gen AI is going to destroy specialists  

Oh and also,

One of my coworkers is legit 6'11 and athletic, but the guy was a tennis player

So if he had played basketball since he was a kid instead, he would be rich as shit

 

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