"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
This question is a lot of fun for 5-year-olds to think about, and even for 18-year-olds just starting college. But by the time you're 30-ish and finishing your MBA, society seems to think that you should have your life plan figured out. The reality is that the majority of people in every age bracket aren't sure what they want to do with their lives...and that can be a pretty scary situation when you haven't found a post-MBA job yet and have thousands of dollars in student loans to repay.
Brad Feld, an entrepreneur in Colorado, recently shared his advice for new MBA graduates with Fortune magazine. Contrary to the advice that MBA students may hear from career services staff, parents, and colleagues, he encourages students not to "position" themselves for future success, but to focus on creating lives that will be fulfilling for them. This starts, according to Feld, by choosing where you want to live--not by going wherever the job is. As he puts it, "Don't talk about 'I'm going to live there some day' – go get in the middle of wherever it is that you want to build a life."
Feld isn't the first person to extol the virtues of pursuing happiness rather than money, or choosing an exciting job rather than one with the potential to lead to something more. And it's certainly easy for a multi-millionaire entrepreneur to advise people to not worry about money. However, I like his tone and the fact that he urges students to really consider what they want, and not just follow the traditional paths espoused by others.
Readers--what do you think? Is Feld's advice realistic, or is it off-base? Should newly-minted MBAs pursue their passions, or should they take the long view and make their career decisions more strategically?