Me, being a good friend, advised him to do what I typically do when confronted with an important, complicated, perplexing and perhaps dizzying question about my future: solicit the advice of an 80's sitcom dad. In today's episode, we look to Jack Arnold, father of Kevin Arnold on the Wonder Years. In one particular episode, it was a take your child to work day at Jack's office, so, naturally, Jack took Kevin. Kevin dutifully followed his dad around the office, watching him toil away. Towards the end of the day, Jack and Kevin had this poignant exchange (or something to his effect):
Kevin: So, Dad, when is it you decided that you wanted to be an assistant distribution manager when you grew up?
Dad: (pauses to reflect for a moment then says with a bit of surprise) I don't know, it just sort of happened that way.
And in the end isn't that how it works for most of us? I mean sure, there are a few folks who dream of becoming an astronaut since their childhood and actually end up achieving those dreams. But for most of us you life sort of unfolds with less than a direct vision. Life and the choices we make are all about trial and error. You try to set some overall goals and approach them strategically, all the while weighing the endless set of variables (family, friends, money, etc.) that seem to come and go during the process. But life really is a nothing ventured, nothing gained process.
So my advice to my friend: I don't know the right career for you. You probably don't either. If you don't like the one you're in now, try something else. You're smart, personable, ambitious - lots of opportunities out there. Don't wait around for "exact" fit, because there is no such thing. Try something new and see where it takes you.
And in the meantime, if you meet a Winnie Cooper, act quickly.