black and white….and gray

As I have gone through the MBA program, I have changed my focus and career path many different times.  I have gone from wanting to be a market researcher, to wanting to be a consultant, to wanting to go into human capital consulting, to where I am now institutional investments.  My path usually starts with a really inspiring or moving speaker or possibly reading an interesting article.  Then I go onto to research the field, talk with people in the field and start to dream about my life in said position.

I tend to be a bit dramatic, so then I think about what kind of house I would want to have, the car I would drive, what my husband would do, how I would raise my kids, would I have a dog? (mind you I am currently not married or engaged, I live with my sister, and do not have a dog or kids) But  still, this all does go through my head.

This past week I had the opportunity to speak with someone who had investing experience on Wall Street and knew the industry very well.  My goal of the meeting was to learn about the industry and come away having a better idea of what my options are.  But as I went in, he questioned me and pressed me to get answers to questions about everything.  Where I wanted to live and why?  Did I want to see my niece or nephew or send them a check because I was living oversees and could not come to their birthday party. (Mind you I don’t have a niece or nephew or even one on the way)  These questions went on for near an hour and I left the meeting beaten down and unsure of what I wanted.

I sat down that night and reflected on what happened during the day.  I had spent the past quarter living in the land of gray and this professor in the span of an hour threw me into a land of black vs. white.  Right vs. Wrong.  Good vs. Bad.  And as I thought about it, I realized his point wasn’t to scare me to death, it wasn’t to beat me down, it was to show me that I need to work on making decisions.  I think he was being dramatic to prove this point.  And after an hour of talking about life experiences, my take away wasn’t even anything he specifically said.

It was instead a realization that I needed to see.  I realized that sometimes you need to see the world in a black and white view.  Sometimes you have to make the decision because you can get caught up in what-ifs (such as the whole what car I would drive thing)  While I am sure I will continue to play different scenarios of happily ever after in my head when I land a dream job, I will still need to eventually make that decision to move forward.