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Why happiness beats money when choosing a tech career

Rob Enderle | July 13, 2015
With a career spanning 40 years, columnist Rob Enderle has some advice to offer and explains why the one with the most toys in the end doesn’t necessarily win.

Do you want to be a CEO?

Finally, one of the things you want to figure out early is whether you want to be CEO. Some of the best and happiest CEOs I've known got there more by building a company around an idea and putting the perks aside, as opposed to fighting to the top while surrounding themselves with lots of toys and an institutionalized practice of infidelity.

Often the latter class finds they didn't really want the job, didn't enjoy the job. They did like the status, but when the job ends they really don't know how to deal with the result.

I recall a conversation with one of the most powerful men in Silicon Valley after he'd retired. He lamented that he had all this stuff to protect, a lot of ex-wives and kids that hated him, no one took him seriously (he had no real authority), and his friends were both insincere and enjoyed his things more than he did. Massively wealthy, he'd worked his whole life only to find he hated where he ended up, had no one he felt close to, and now was trapped where he never wanted to be: A lifetime of work to end up in a self-created hell.  

So my hard-learned career advice is this: No matter what level or place in your career you are, figure out what makes you happy, where you like to work, and design the rest of your career to focus on getting more of that.

Otherwise you are far more likely to end up in a place you really don't want to be with no idea how to get back to a place where you were far happier.   Life shouldn't be about getting rich or getting to retirement, it should be about getting you to a place you truly want to be and then staying there as long as possible. How's that for profound this week?

 

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