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Course Corrections

August 25, 2010

Filed under: Coaching,observations — admin @ 5:51 am

I met a newlywed couple last week. He is a lawyer, she is a medical resident working at a health center in Colorado. They met in New York City where he was working and she was finishing med school and moved West to accommodate her career.

They were on their honeymoon – in fact when she introduced herself by her maiden name her husband’s reaction was pretty priceless. She corrected herself quickly substituting his four syllable name for her shorter moniker. I don’t think any lasting damage was done and I’m sure the kiss- and-make-up portion of the evening was pretty good.

Names aside he admitted that after four years as an undergraduate, three years of law school, a year getting ready for the bar exam, and three years working as a patent lawyer in New York, he hated his career.

His wife was quick to point out that despite working 90-hour weeks she loved hers and that when she finished her residency she was taking a year-long post working in New Zea land – both to see a new culture and explore another medical system.

Practicing law in New Zealand probably wasn’t in the cards for what appeared to be a short-term commitment, so he was clearly a bit up in the air about what to do.

The answered seemed obvious to me; try as many jobs as you can. Maybe you’ll discover that what you’ve trained for was pretty good after all or maybe you’ll decide that sheep farming is a great career.

His wife didn’t seem to care so long as they were together and she could practice medicine. I complimented her and told her husband to just remember the two most important words in any marriage, “yes, dear.”

Changing course is one of the toughest challenges most people have to face. It usually means you have to admit you made a mistake and then you have to figure out a new direction. Anything you can do to eliminate options – including finding out what you don’t like – will make the decision easier.

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