Stop drifting in you life and career- choose for yourself or for others? (Part IV)

Key takeaways:

  • Choose the job you enjoy the most; not the job that pays you the most;
  • You can stop drifting if you choose to do so.

I have a friend whom I have known since year 8; a long-time friend. When he was to make a decision to do his Bachelor’s degree, he chose textile and fabric. Six months later, he stopped because he didn’t like it. He then spent some efforts to switch to a different major in information technology in a different university. He liked it.

After graduation, he didn’t work much in the IT industry. In stead, he worked as a stock broker. It was actually not easy to get licensed to become a stock broker in his country, but he made it (he really amazed me by that!). He was quite happy with his job until the tech bubble bursted and the tsunami of the Asian financial crisis came along in 1998.

The stock market is volatile and risky (Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com)

He then drifted among jobs for years. This guy is a very smart guy, so he took a national exam and got selected to work in the Customs for the government. The success rate to pass the exam was less than 0.1% and he made it (he was really incredible and I was so amazed by his success!). In a social gathering, I asked him why he chose this job. He said: “Pay is OK but I will never be laid off as a public servant in this country.” OK, fair enough!

The next time I met him, it was almost 16 months later. He quit the ‘golden job’ that many people coveted; he was back to the stock market but worked as a fund analyst and assistant manager. I had a beer with him and we talked about how he had drifted along the way in his career. He said: “I finally realise that I should do what I like to do, if I have a choice. I didn’t like the job in Customs, but it was stable and paid my bills. I still like stock trading and I have been trading on my own portfolio for years. I then used the success of my portfolio to get my new job in this fund management company; not by my degree. Now I know what I like to do for the rest of my life. I no longer drift in my career.

Dr. Seuss is right!

He stopped drifting because he found a ‘landmark’ which is clear to him and he brought himself onshore. We all drifted more of less in our lives. The question is not that drifting is bad; the issue is that you can choose not to drift but you don’t know. You thought this was what ‘life’ is about. Apparently, this is not the case. You only need a coach to help you and upgrade your life.

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When the landmark becomes so clear to you, you will know exactly what you should do to stop drifting and move on with your life and career. “Welcome to the real world, Neil”, (from The Matrix)

(Note: This post was originally posted in 2017. Since then, many readers have asked me how this guy is doing right now? The answer is: with his successful long-term Buffett-styled investment portfolio, he no longer needs to work for other people. He never returns to 9-to-5 work life. He now works when he wants to and when the market is bad (so a brilliant time to buy!). The rest of the time? He enjoys his life and travel; that’s really amazing! We caught up again last year, and he thanked me for my guidance. Well, I said to him: “It was the only thing I could help as your best mate. You were the person who made it happen!”)

Dr. C. Richard Wu @ REEA Consulting


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  1. Exceptional post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Florine, my friend now manages a big private equity fund, some $50million dollar portfolio. We met back in January and he said: “Thanks for the beer ‘pep talk’ from you. It reversed my life.” He now works when he wants to and really enjoys his career and his life. Well, I hope I had his life (well, the fun part only!). ^_<

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