Career Choices

I know a lot of zen stories. I started reading this book in college and I never stopped.  When students ask me for career advice, what company they should join, who’s hot, I tell this story

There was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.

“Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“We’ll see,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.

“How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“We’ll see,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg.

The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“We’ll see,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by.

The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“We’ll see,” said the farmer.


When I joined Linkedin, many people said “huh, that’s interesting.” Many did not know why I’d join a resume site.

When I joined Myspace, they said good luck. It looked hard, but possible.

When I joined Zynga they all congratulated me on landing in one of the hottest spots in the valley.

I’ve learned to say “We’ll see.”

You cannot join a company because you think it’ll succeed. It’s too hard to know.
Chose companies where you will learn, where you like the people, where the work excites you.
Then wait and see.

See Also Letter to a Newly Minted Designer


Add Yours
  1. 1

    Thank you for the great book, will check it out.

    As for career choices, it really depends on what kind of person s/he is. For someone wants to grow and learn, it’s great to find a company that has nice challenges for you and possible can work with great mentors. For someone who had great ambitions and great skills, it really doesn’t matter whether the company is already successful or not, he may think, the purpose of joining this company is to make it more successful:)

Comments are closed.