What's your biggest regret in life and if you could do it differently, would you?
As I grow wiser and older, it appears to me that choosing finance and accounting was the biggest mistake of my life. This is not because I'm doing poorly but the work in itself is very repetitive and boring. Up until this point, I've been doing very well, both academically and financially, but now I feel like I'm nearing a burnout. I'm in deals/TAS at one of the Big 4 and 70% of my time is taken up by being an excel jockey working on valuation models. The other 30% includes travel for FDD engagements and interaction with the clients --- all of which I think is very mundane. This is not to mention the toll it has taken on my family and social life.
What could I have done differently? As my mind gradually refines with time, I've learned to love earth sciences and ideally, I would have loved to become a geologist or petroleum engineer... the possibility of which seems to be zero now.
But when you're obsessed with something, even the thought of giving up on your dream, being stuck somewhere you hate for the rest of your life, can be as daunting and horrific as if you were giving up on your life. So what am I doing differently now? I've enrolled myself in a certificate program in Geology majoring in Petroleum Technologies and I'll be finishing it by the end of next year. Moreover, I've acquired so many books for the past 3-4 years that by now they could make up a small earth sciences library (if they weren't in soft form) because the more I learn about our planet, the more knowledge I crave for. Its never enough.
Lastly, I can proudly flaunt now that I successfully broke into IB and will be starting after New Year's as an Analyst in natural resources. I'll be covering energy, metals and mining, oil and gas, and some of the biggest deals in energy sector. Maybe its not enough but getting an inch closer to your dream is better than being stuck in something that isn't intellectually stimulating.
EDIT: Our education system sucks. I believe you're forced to make life decisions at a very early age. For me, I didn't know what I "loved" at that age in academic/career context. I was too immature and my parents persuaded me to choose F&A. In a way, they chose it for me.