Archive for July, 2007

As mentioned in my previous entry, I’m considering what to do after internship. As people options expand, making a career decision becomes more difficult as well. And it’s increasingly the case that people don’t have to do things they hate to earn a basic living. This means there’re many ways to live life.


My struggle with which options to choose arises from not being sure about the weight of my values. PhD’s definitely not a sure ticket to success (it depends on how you define success as well). But if autonomy, intellectual pursuit, and interaction with liked-minded people are what I value in life, then doing a PhD might be a good option. The trade-off is likely to be lower income for the amount of time I work. Being a wandering artist also trade offs money for certain kind of experiences. It’s a more extreme trade-off, and I don’t think I’ve the courage to pursuit this option (not till I got a clearer view of my values). And I also want to repay my student loans first.


The major dimensions to career satisfaction seem to be interests, personality fit, and rewards (pay, prestige, etc.). But perhaps personal dispositions are equally important. There’re people who tend to be happier and more satisfied with whatever they do. And there’re people like me who find it harder to get satisfied. I tend to have various ideal pictures in mind and try to move my life closer to them. I think both groups suffer some sorts of illusions. The first type could credibly deceive themselves in the present, while the second type deceives themselves in some ideal futures that are likely to be less beautiful.


Some people live their life through trials-and-errors. Others prefer a more planned approach. The two approaches are likely to lead to different outcomes, but if you don’t know what you want to do in life, I don’t think they make much difference. For those people who tend to worry about career choice like I do, here’re my thoughts:


Your career choices do not determine your life. You can always change if you want. It might be costly, it might take longer to reach where you want, or you might never reach it and will have to find the best compromise. But what’s more important should be to enjoy the process and to direct your life toward where you want to go.


PS: Thanks for all the comments from friends (further comments are welcome of course). I’m still not sure what I want to do, but as I continue to experience more things and lessen my financial constraints along the way, hopefully my values will become clearer.


Related Articles:


Money and Status: It’s really up to you (which referred to an earlier entry: Relatively Awesome)


How To Do What you Love


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1. Graduated with Distinction

2. Interning at Goldman Sachs and enjoying the experience

3. More readings, movies, orchestra, and foods—it’s good to have income

4. Still deciding what I’d like to do. Potential options:

a.   Work in investment bank

b.   Work in strategic consultancy

c.     Work in economic consultancy

d.     Do a PhD

e.      Become a wandering artist  

Which would you recommend? I’d love to hear friends’ comments

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