The Doctor Orders For A Successful Career

Every morning when I was in elementary school, I would wake up and complete my routine: wake up, read Bible, pray, bathe, brush teeth, get dressed, and eat breakfast. After breakfast, however, I would make my way back to my bedroom and write my schedule for the day on my dry erase board. The board would look something like this:

7:55am – 2:55pm School

2:55pm – 3:30pm Ride the bus home

3:30pm – 4:00pm Eat a snack

4:00pm – 5:00pm Do homework

5:00pm – 5:30pm Watch Saved By The Bell

You get the picture. 

I’ve been a die-hard planner since I was in elementary school. I plan everything, from what I will wear to work to what I will have for dinner. I plan what I will watch on Netflix each week to how my fiance and I will spend our weekends together.

I plan everything.

You can imagine how much I want to plan what my next steps will be once I complete this program. The million dollar question is what will you do when you finish? Where will you and your fiance live? When is the wedding? I was answering these questions based on the little information I have. I could tell from the look on faces that my response was not the answer my beloved friends and relatives wanted to hear. They love and want the best for me, but their nonverbal cues were making me second guess myself. Is this a good enough plan for me after graduation?

My school hosted a healthcare professionals panel one evening. As a person who enjoys career stories, I went to gather insights that would inform my next moves. One panelist struck my interest. He graduated from Harvard with an economics degree. Economics is a popular degree, especially from Harvard, but his next career move was an interesting one. He obtained an MD degree from another prestigious university. But instead of embarking on a 3-year residency post-MD, he became a healthcare consultant at one of the top consulting firms in the nation. Now, I’m no expert or anything, but his career trajectory was far from being “normal” (whatever that means).

I found his advice even more fascinating than his career path. His advice was to “Just ask yourself where you’d like to be 2 years from now. And start working towards that. The little details on how to reach your goal will fall in place. Do not obsess too much over details.”

I chuckled, for what he said sounded absurd to me initially. In my mind, every little step must be planned to the “T.” After some contemplation, however, I realize that what he said was wise. Everyone has a dream, but no one can fill in all the details on how they will achieve their dreams. Most pathways to success are not straight. In fact, career paths are full of ups and downs. All we can do is make the most of each situation and keep our eyes focus on our main goal. Like the panelist said, all the details will surely fall into place.



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