Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Feeling inspired - and keeping myself busy

Thanks to Patxi and anonymous guy for your comment on my "eulogy". In the end, I spent almost a whole day thinking about it, and it was time well spent. The good thing is, I don't have to overthrow all career plans I had in mind so far. I have realised that which job I choose does not matter very much at all. People always agonise about which is there dream job, and I think this can be a very difficult approach. There may not even be a dream job for you (this idea is very well presented in a new book called "Working Identity" by INSEAD professor Herminia Ibarra).

The traditional approach to find your dream job, as suggested in "Which color is your parachute?", is to think of people you admire and what jobs they have. I never could think of anyone when I thought of CEOs or entrepreneurs I had heard about. It only struck me yesterday who my two role models are - and they are very close. One is my 87 year old grandmother, who used to be an interpreter at German embassies and also a translator of children's books. Some of you may know the English classic "Black Beauty" - my grandmother translated the book into German. But I admire her not because of her job, but because even at 87 she is traveling, working, learning languages, she is a very cheerful person and she is still very curious about life. I admire her for her energy.

The other person I admire (or envy?) is my stepfather, who is a doctor. He loves his job so much that even though he could easily retire, he is now doing five jobs at a time - in two hospitals, in a private practice, giving advice to courts of justice, lecturing at universities and conferences. I admire him because he has found a job that he loves and he can spend 60h working at his age and be a very happy man. At the same time, he travels around the world, plays golf, goes to jazz clubs and generally enjoys life.

What I learned from thinking about why I admire them was that it doesn't mean at all I want to become an interpreter or a doctor. Also, that maybe it doesn't matter if my next step after business school is entrepreneur, investment banker or journalist. I can switch around as much as I want to. I can do new things every 3 years if I want to. Realising this has taken considerable pressure of me. I know feel very free to enjoy life and not worry so much about career choice. Well, I still haven't found the purpose of life and I still haven't found my "dream job". But I know now what kind of life I want to live to be happy when I'm 60 or 80, and that makes me happy.

Talking of enjoying life, these are my plans for the next days:
  • tonight: dinner with our Brazilian housemates (we have 4 London Business School flats in our building and are having dinner together for the first time)
  • Thursday night: traditional English dinner with my study group near St James Park
  • Friday: dancing in a Bollywood club in Soho organised by Indian classmates
  • Saturday: brunch in Notting Hill with friends I made while studying for a masters degree in St Andrews


-tvu said...

Congratulations on realizing a life priority! Life choices are easier to decide now.

Benny said...

Brazilians! Nice!
Thanks for the tip on the book. I think I will order as I am also strugling to release what i want.
There is a big pressure for IB because if you don't do IB in the summer, you probably won't have a full-time chance. On the other hand, for other areas, you still have a shot in the second year. Anyway, It's been hard and the clock is ticking.

angie said...

Thanks tvu.

Benny, the book is an interesting read but most likely won't help you figuring out. Have you tried "rich dad, poor dad"? Patxi just recommended it to me and it is truly excellent. It also makes you consider a much wider range of jobs/ways to make money.

In terms of banking, I understand your pressure. I will be conformist and not try to push you away from banking, just want to point you to the fact that there are many more interesting field to Ibanking than M&A! Check out the other areas which are usually better paid and much more relaxed.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting to hear your conclusion. And calming. However i was told that in business school they encourage you to know and focus on one direction, otherwise you won't find anything. i do hope thats not the case. Do you feel like the school gives you "permission" to be undecisive? Or is there pressure to decide and focus your career search? i am now applying to business school and although i have a general direction my hope is to explore different career options in business school. do you find that this is encouraged or frowned upon?