The Examined Life - Rethinking Career & Life Goals Post COVID-19

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Rank: The Pro | 47,385

On trial for his life, Socrates supposedly said "The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living." Given that many of us have been quarantined for two months, give or take, I am interested in people who have taken this time to reflect on their lives, career path, or even goal timing - perhaps a couple drinks deep on their balcony - and if that deliberation has been reaffirming or transformative.

Much like 9/11 inspired many to join the military, and the global recession motivated many to swear off Wall Street forever while making others all the more interested, the COVID-19 crisis will be yet another generation-defining event that will lead some down paths previously unexplored while strengthening others' confidence that their current path is ideal.

Are you moving up the timeframe to leave your job to start a business? Changing career paths entirely? All the more inspired to go back to school or bust your ass for that promotion? Moving to the beach in South America for a less stressful life? Looking only for roles that offer extensive work from home options?

What's going through your head at the moment?

Comments (75)

Funniest
May 13, 2020

The only businesses that seem to be sprouting up right now are the kind that involve an onlyfans account, lonely dudes with $5, and a young girl recognizing her most valuable asset is not worth holding onto anymore.

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May 13, 2020

I gotta say, not what I expected the first response to be.

Make that money though.

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May 14, 2020
CRE:

I gotta say, not what I expected the first response to be.

Make that money though.

Yeah, we gotta make sure we thank ALL first responders, on top and bottom of this crisis.

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Most Helpful
May 13, 2020

The value I attribute to WFH and family time has now skyrocketed. It was easy to ignore when it never really existed in the first place (have been in professional services my entire life). However, being smacked in the face with the wonders of simple daily life (having dinner with family, going outside, being home on the weekends, being able to step in and out of work as the situation demands), it will be impossible for things to return to "normal."

Therefore, the ability to WFH / work flexibly is now a precious commodity that I will put almost at the top of the list for any future job I pursue. Will also have to square that with whatever the situation is when we return to the office, and reassess accordingly.

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May 13, 2020

I agree completely. I never would have expected to take to working from home like I have, yet it's going to be hard to imagine picking bullshit conversations with coworkers you only half like, unhealthy fast casual lunches, and fluorescent lights over home-cooked food, time with people you actually care about, and sunlight.

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May 13, 2020

I definitely want to get a bigger place now.

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May 13, 2020

Definitely agree on the work flexibility piece. While I don't think working from home is something I'll want to do everyday when we get back to some normalcy, definitely is something I'll try to take advantage of on a more frequent basis. In the same arena, but I've also been thinking specifically about how much work flexibility could improve something like the holiday season. As someone who's had to travel frequently for the holidays (sometimes at long distances), the flexibility to do something like bridge the gap between Christmas and New Years or extend the Thanksgiving trip by a couple days without working about the vacation day count by working from wherever I am is really exciting.

A weird thing I've thought about a lot during this is the importance of understanding and reflecting on the past/history, whether it be the past for you personally or the history of larger events. It feels like the toughest part of navigating this for everyone has been the lack of precedent and experience. Nobody has much a guide to help make decisions that they feel confident about. So it's a goal of mine to both start spending more reflecting on personal situations, decisions, outcomes as well as placing a bigger emphasis on reading books that are historical in nature. Using the past as a tool in the present has just really come to the forefront for me during a time where that seems close to impossible.

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May 14, 2020

@WallStreetOasis.com" @AndyLouis"

There might be an issue with your new "region" tag. This has nothing really to do with South America minus me mentioning it in an off hand comment.

May 14, 2020

I saw that and thought you tagged it ironically since you mentioned SA lol. Now that I think of it, it would be pretty nice to be in Patagonia right now.

May 14, 2020

Yeah, I really enjoy Argentina and the wine, steak, people and their accent.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

May 18, 2020

nah, we just had to use soemthing to tag historical posts and "south america" seemed like a safe keyword to tag South America...this way we were able to accurately (not in this case) a lot of regions across 500k discussions. I think we ended up tagging over 60k with specific regions, so not bad.

May 14, 2020

Definitely made me realize what matters and doesn't. I believe this experience will make the WFH a couple days a week argument a lot more plausible. That's my plan. Have a conversation with my boss about coming in Mon to Wed for in person meetings and remote rest of the week.

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May 14, 2020

1) I had grown increasingly frustrated with unnecessary work travel and what I called "dinners with strangers" while I missed precious time of my kids growing up at home without me. I have no interest going back to that life, and will give up significant compensation in my next role to ensure I'm not on 100 flights a year.

2) I don't do meaningful work. Doctors and nurses are saving lives, epidemiologists and public health officials are mapping out a plan to navigate the next two years of society, and..I'm at home ordering expensive take-out to make sure my favorite fried chicken joint doesn't shutter. I don't expect to become a doctor overnight, but I hope to do more meaningful work in my next role.

3) Layoffs are probably coming, and I'm helpless as I watch it unfold. Maybe this will be the kick in the pants I need to go buy and run my own business.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 14, 2020
Alt-Ctr-Left:

2) I don't do meaningful work. Doctors and nurses are saving lives, epidemiologists and public health officials are mapping out a plan to navigate the next two years of society, and..I'm at home ordering expensive take-out to make sure my favorite fried chicken joint doesn't shutter. I don't expect to become a doctor overnight, but I hope to do more meaningful work in my next role.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see a lot of people switching careers to become doctors this year.

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May 16, 2020
Analyst 2 in IB - Ind:

I wouldn't be surprised if we see a lot of people switching careers to become doctors this year.

Not gonna lie, I was pre-med and failed. I've tried to make the leap back in later years. Science was not my strong suit - certainly not at the level that one would need to have to be able to actually get in to a US med-school. But I was always acutely aware that saving lives was a higher calling than aligning logos in pitchbooks. That said, if I can take some of this business experience and deploy it positively, that would be a smart thing to do.

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May 14, 2020
Alt-Ctr-Left:

I don't do meaningful work.

I'm personally struggling with this as well. It was on my mind before this crisis, but like with many things, the pandemic has accelerated the process.

I'm currently trying to decide if I can find that meaning within what I currently do or if I need to look outside it. I can make good arguments for both directions.

May 15, 2020

if it makes you feel better, the vast majority of humanity does not do meaningful work

May 14, 2020

I've been working from home for two months, and the positive impact on my health (mental and physical) has been astounding.

I've slept better, I'm calmer, my thinking is clearer, I'm exercising more, I get to see my family throughout the day instead of at the beginning and end while I'm doing other things, and I'm eating better. I feel like I've been on a relaxing vacation. It's been a fabulous break.

Except, it hasn't even been a break. I've worked the same number of hours per week as I did when I was doing it from my downtown office. I've just gotten more accomplished in those hours and had additional time to do other things. I've taken zero vacation days.

You know how we're always pining for more hours in the day? It's like someone gave me an additional 4 hours in a day and I can fill them how I choose. It's incredible.

I don't know if I can go back to the office. I can go back for meetings, or for a few hours a day a few days a week to be able to look colleagues in their eyes. But the concept of my default brain space being at my office, with occasional home breaks, is over for me.

A side note on living an examined life: I listened to this podcast a few weeks ago on a walk, and I enjoyed it for its examination of some of the concepts you mentioned above.

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May 15, 2020

Agreed

May 14, 2020

Pretty much agree with everyone's praise of WFH. Being forced to spend 40+ hours a week in 12 square foot cubicle with annoying coworkers and bright flourescet lights burning your eyes is absolutely barbaric. Not to mention no need to commute, pack/grab lunch, the ability to have the window open next to you, sitting in a comfortable chair, hanging with your dog/family, maybe listen to some music etc...

A little out there, but also the possibility to move around a bit and live in different parts of the country. I've lived in the northeast my whole life and my company also has an office Irvine, CA. Would be sweet to relocate out there for a couple years, live in a beach town, and maybe head into that office once or twice a week or so.

May 14, 2020

Would definitely recommend the last part if you think it's feasible, especially if you're young. I grew up in the Midwest and bounced around cities in that region the past few years before switching it up and moving out to socal earlier this year. I've absolutely loved it so far, but if for some reason I end up hating it I can always go back without too much to unwind. Figured I might as well try it while I can before it gets harder to my life across the country later down the line. Never worrying about the weather has been a helluva shift, can't get enough of it.

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May 14, 2020

Nice man happy to hear its working out. I think it seems possible, I've always wanted to move away but It just hasn't really worked out. I'm 28 with a GF and I think it would be a good time. I have friends in San Diego and had an absolute blast last time I visited. Looking into San Clemente right now, looks like paradise! I'm pretty into biking, camping, photography, snowboarding, can somewhat surf and it just seems like a great place

May 14, 2020

That is a great area - SoCal is awesome.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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May 14, 2020
tengleha:

I've lived in the northeast my whole life and my company also has an office Irvine, CA. Would be sweet to relocate out there for a couple years, live in a beach town, and maybe head into that office once or twice a week or so.

Orange County feels a lot like heaven. I had a blast in Newport & Laguna

Edit: I guess people don't like Orange County?

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May 14, 2020

Yeah - my sister lives in OC - its a sweet area.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

May 18, 2020

I am in the east coast now and also looking to move back to SoCal soon. I actually went to school in Orange County, PM me if you ever have any questions about life out there, happy to be a resource.

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May 14, 2020
CRE:

Given that many of us have been quarantined for two months, give or take, I am interested in people who have taken this time to reflect on their lives, career path, or even goal timing:

What's going through your head at the moment?

I adopted two cats, and gained about 10lbs.

May 15, 2020

dude, you're not supposed to EAT the cats. SMH

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May 15, 2020

Give me a break - It's not like they come with instructions

May 14, 2020

Agree with a lot of the WFH sentiments already mentioned.

Career-wise it has highlighted my general distaste for where I am at currently and I am definitely pushing for a change sooner than I initially anticipated. Change of city, change of job, change of industry, or change of career path is an absolute must. There's no way I could become phenomenal at what I do specifically because I don't enjoy it as much as I had originally believed/hoped.

The best days are alright and the worst days are downright foul. Time to move on

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May 14, 2020

A few areas of my life have been impacted by Covid (obviously, as have all of us) but my long term goals have not changed. If anything, I've gotten derailed in my daily habits.

I made a point to sit down and grind at the beginning of 2020 to network and study more to secure a lateral move to IB. While I wasn't being too picky with what coverage groups I was targeting (beggers can't be choosers - but MedTech/Lifesciences is my goal), the shut down has really solidified my drive to get into healthcare for several reasons. Being exposed to the forefront of science and innovation is something that is important to me. The space is relative safe in terms of activity happening, e.g. people are always coming up with new products and finding ways to translate science into usable products. And finally the amount of experts and knowledgeable are vast, implying that I can selfishly learn from exposure to these individuals.

Being home with family has been nice and definitely a blessing, but distracting in the sense that I'm partially removed from the competitiveness of NYC that often acts a a driver for a lot of people. WFH has been nice, but I was already within walking distance to my office, so I don't quite appreciate it as much as some of you guys. I certainly hope though WFH 1-2 days a week will become the norm. Office banter gets tiring.

My head's been cloudy lately and I definitely need to take some time again and meditate and realign with my goals.

May 14, 2020

Agree with everyone on a general level here. Like some users said, it's definitely easier to take advantage of your free time working from home than in the office. When I'm waiting for comments or wanting to take a break for a bit, I can very easily go and do whatever I want, whether it's quickly grabbing a bite to eat from the fridge or changing into work out clothes to exercise. The lack of anyone seeing and judging you for your actions because you're not at work is pretty appealing, especially since you're primarily being judged by your work product in this WFH model.

I'm curious to hear the views of people who have been confined to their apartment or house alone away from everyone for the past few months. People who've spent so much time with their families understand the importance of being with loved ones for several months at a time now. Do you all who have been alone in your residence for months feel the same way or are you eager to go back into the office like before?

Of course, there will be some advantages to being in the office at all times that one will have to deal with. One of the main ones is that being in the office most days will allow for more face time with seniors and better relationships, which other people who WFH most days will lack. Overall though, I agree that there should be some more flexibility with WFH like maybe WFH every Friday, especially if you know things won't be too busy.

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May 14, 2020

I've been pretty isolated the entire time and I love it, mostly because I'm somewhere on the plane between introverted and anti-social (not in a sociopath way) to begin with. A world without small talk? Happy Hours? Morning commutes? In-office meetings? I can just do my work and not be bothered? I don't want to seem overjoyed because of the circumstances but man, it's been great. I also took a pay cut for the opportunity to travel for work and accumulate points and miles, and though that hasn't panned out, I ended up at a place that really takes care of its people. So my decision to be completely driven by factors like environment, fit, and comfort over money for my career continues to pay dividends. I also launched a side hustle that has been doing fairly well (It'll never be Amazon but it's good pocket money and supplants some of my cut in salary). I started it before COVID -19 hit, but really committed once I had all this time on my hands.

Of course I miss weight training and traveling. Recently found a personal training studio that skirts the gym lockdown rules and that's been good-but I can't take being cooped up in the US much longer when I'd been on a torrid pace visiting countries. If I can finagle a semi-permanent remote working arrangement from this, once things are even semi-normal I'm just going to find an AirBnB w/ good wi-fi in Brazil and work from there.

I don't do anything meaningful either but as long as the checks clear and I have fun I can live with it. Sure, I resent being another average Joe sometimes, but we're not all destined to be Abraham Lincoln. I'm still better off than 95% of the globe and have no problem chasing experiences for experiences sake. It's led me to some great people and places. Meaningful enough, I guess.

May 14, 2020

Come September, I'm moving to the Middle East & changing careers.

May 14, 2020
CuriousCharacter:

Come September, I'm moving to the Middle East & changing careers.

What are you doing now and what do you want to be doing?

What specifically made you pick the Middle East?

May 14, 2020

I work in enterprise software now and will be transitioning into med/biotech.

The smart money and the best people have all been shifting to med/bio, and the pandemic will only accelerate this trend.

There is going to be staggering demand for healthcare over the next two decades, both in the developing world (specifically Africa, as the continent's population moves up into the middle class) and the developed world (i.e. Japan, where the "silver tsunami" is already crashing down on its shores).

The US healthcare system is broken beyond repair, so innovation is going to come from Western Europe, Israel, and Singapore.

Being based in the Middle East, I'll be right in the middle of the action, as well as a hop, skip and a jump away from pretty much everywhere.

May 14, 2020

What do you think of that plan?

May 16, 2020

I would like my life to amount to just a bank account. I want to work on things that make a difference, like healthcare, environment, etc. I may not have been able to get into medschool (and maybe I wouldn't have made a good doctor anyhow) but if I can use my experience in the business sector to make progress in projects and industries that actually matter, that would be better. It is for this reason I worked in a healthcare PE shop before. And while the boss wasn't nice and failed to honor his commitment to let me do project work (I was relegated to fundraising only) at least I got to feel some social good was being achieved.

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May 14, 2020

Been thinking about what else is out there, beyond the business world. Got me thinking about my teenage dream of becoming a Green Beret, SEAL, MARSOC, etc and doing something that truly matters, bigger than myself, and would provide a real physical and mental challenge. As opposed to being told to edit random model assumptions and create reasons as to why...not really the same.

I'm 25 so I suppose I have time if I ever decide to act on that dream, but on the other hand I am fulfilling another of working in NYC real estate. But I really do enjoy making money, so I think this quarantine has let my mind wander into scenarios it most likely knows I won't be in.

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May 15, 2020

You could always sign up for the reserves, if you're trying to achieve in both the finance and military world. It's an oft overlooked path, but can give you a way to have your cake and eat it too, so to speak.

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May 14, 2020

My biggest takeaway from this whole ordeal is that you don't have time. You need to do the things you want to do NOW. Ask for a promotion NOW. Take risks NOW. Spend time with your family NOW. Tell the people close to you that you love them NOW. Don't miss the chance. You can't do these things when you are gone (forever on my worldview).

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 15, 2020

Is this stemming from the belief that COVID might kill you or some other side effect?

May 15, 2020

No, I'm not worried about dying from coronavirus. I'm a non-smoking, healthy, mid-20s male with no pre-existing conditions in an area with few cases. That probably pegs my mortality rate somewhere in the 1 / 1,000 range (maybe even 1 / 10,000, tough to say at this point). I'll take those odds all day long.

All this time alone has allowed me to reflect on my past and where I'm going. Parts of my life I've been really satisfied with (professional career, health, relationship with my parents) and parts of my life I've been dissatisfied with especially after leaving college (growing distant from friends, single).

This has been a wake up to call to me that I need to just do the things I want to do. Stop making excuses. Stop procrastinating. Life doesn't come to you, you make yourself a life. Want to buy a house? Don't daydream about it. Start saving up for a down payment today. Want to meet a nice girl and get married? Don't be a pussy. Ask out that girl you've had your eye on for the past few months.

In many ways I think the fear of death can be a great motivator, especially if you don't believe in an afterlife, which I do not. This is your only shot. And the worst part is you don't know for sure when the party's over. That tap on the shoulder can come at any time. You've been given such an amazing gift in being a part of the universe that can know itself. Make the most of it.

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May 15, 2020

100%. Tomorrow is NOT promised. Get after it today.

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May 15, 2020

Hell yea

May 14, 2020

I have been spending lots of time in Azeroth in between emails and during downtime, it has been quite the experience.

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
May 14, 2020

Hell yeah man, I have ground almost 2 toons to 60 on classic during this down time.

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May 15, 2020

just wanted to say you guys are cool. enjoy - I quit about 5 years ago and I still miss it :( I still watch pshero's youtube vids tho

May 15, 2020

I think Shia LaBeouf and the rest of the posters have adequately summed up my reflections during this pandemic. This is the extent of my value add without beating a dead horse:

May 15, 2020

I wish I had a more philosophical comment for this topic. My career should be pretty much the same except I probably will not be doing any in-person meetings in the near term. With that said, the extra free time, gave me a chance to work on a podcast. I do not expect to charge anything for listening to it. I created it mostly as a way to give people some useful information and to attract more visitors to my website.

May 15, 2020

When are you thinking of flying on a regular basis again? Or do you think it's still too early to decide?

May 15, 2020

Was your question meant foe me?

May 16, 2020

I've decided I'm not going to work on weekends anymore. Or at least, not more than an hour or two. That's my time to live life. Otherwise what's the point of work anyway?

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May 16, 2020
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