I receive hundreds of emails each month from people who connect with this blog. One email I received was from Robert Gignac. He is the author of Rich is a State of Mind, an excellent book on financial planning.
We have kept in touch through email and we had lunch together yesterday. I found it a very interesting discussion as I learned more about his life and his background.
Whether deliberate or coincidental, he spoke about the life of a man who pursued a career with a large retailer. He spent his entire working life with the same company and progressed up the corporate ladder to a senior executive position. Upon retirement, his daughter asked him to share his career experience: was it worth the sacrifice? the effort?
His response to his daughter: “I always wanted to be an engineer.”
Robert’s point was that we too often spend our lives accepting whatever path we started without taking the courage to change paths to our passion. We are reluctant to be our future. We compromise. And often for good reason: the need for money, security, stability. However, when we look back, will it be with satisfaction or regret?
Lunch ended and I walked back to my office. And I could not shake the story. I looked at my own path and asked myself the same question: when I cross over into retirement, will I look back on my career with satisfaction or regret?
Frankly, I would need to look back with a broader perspective: faith, family, service, career. Although I can think about work as an all encompassing endpoint, it is not. At the end of the day, and for most people, a job is a job.