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Were my expectations too lofty?

When I entered business school in 2009, I asked one of the lead administrators what alumni consider to be the happiest, most fulfilling time of their careers. She gave an uncomfortable look and said, “Actually, most of our alumni say business school was the best time of their professional lives.” After digging in a bit more and learning from my own experience, I’ve recognized the likely driver of the gap. Whether it’s in business school or in college, we study topics like leadership and strategy; yet upon graduation, most students are thrust into more tactical roles in which they often contribute individually.

After a few years of slowly moving toward not just middle management but actual strategic leadership roles the woes of office politics, ineffective peers, and loneliness can make us wonder why we ever wanted to pursue this type of career in the first place. I now see why dreaming of what would become of one’s career is a lot more exciting and fun than actually seeing it through.

In this state of questioning our goals and aspirations, it’s normal to ask whether the plans we made at the outset were simply too lofty. Though our ambitions were formed with passionate hearts, does our lack of experience at that time negate their validity? What if we find that what actually makes us happy is to focus less on the office and more on the personal side? Or is this a copout -- are we just quitting because things got hard and are now using the idea that our wants and needs have changed as an excuse?

My answer is: it’s different for each and every one of us. To navigate the complexity of what’s happening in our minds and bodies, to uncover our true feelings and emotions, most of us need an expert. A career coach at Marengo will ask questions that draw out your passion and help you paint a picture of what life would be like if you were aligned with your strengths, passions, and personal goals.

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