My grandfather passed away 5 years ago today (I can’t believe it’s bee that long…). I think about him a lot, but especially today on his Yahrzeit. I wrote a post a few years ago on one of my favorite sayings of his here. Today I’ve been thinking about the approach he took to his career.
I recently wrote a post offering some suggestions about getting a job in venture capital. While I think its great to have career goals and an eye toward the future, my grandfather is a great reminder that sometimes the right path involves following the path that lays out in front of you. He left school to help raise money for his family during the great depression (he was one of 11 children and a first generation American) and never returned to finish high school. Eventually he enlisted in the air force and served for years overseas in WWII. Grandpa had an eclectic career – one that included selling vending machines, owning a mens clothing store, working for an auto dealer, selling check-writing machines and repping children’s toys. Not exactly a straight line path (although most of his jobs were related to sales in one way or another) and certainly not something he sat down to think about when he was in his 20’s to figure out what he wanted to do with his career. He didn’t have the luxury and in any event I don’t think for him laying out a 10 year career path was in his DNA.
It’s so easy to get caught up today in where your career is headed and whether you’re “on plan” or not. Sometimes the right thing is to just go where life leads you.