Do not be too hard on yourself. The biggest challenge is making sure you measure what matters – your friend’s career trajectory must not be the same as yours. Life is not just about higher wages. While it is great to aim high, it is also good to appreciate progress you have made. Do not live another’s life – work hard to discover yours. You are not really wasting away! The future offers a promise. Yes, a former shoemaker became a CEO in old GE and gave GE one of its golden moments.
If you are worried if you can redesign your career, I want to remind you that the man that built General Electric (yes, GE) was a former shoemaker. Without Charles Coffin, GE would have died many decades ago. He negotiated with Morgan Stanley and saved GE during the panic of 1893.
He established the industrial research lab upon which GE depended to win wars – economic, social and military – for America. He was a shoemaker long before Reginald Jones and Jack Welch made GE global. Thomas Edison might have shared his heritage with GE, but the shoemaker is the reason we have GE [we hope the modern GE survives its present upheavals].
Despite where you are today, always remember that men and women have gone ahead to do great things despite their “poor” beginnings. I know you are not a shoemaker [nothing wrong with that of course]. No one can fix the ceiling of your promise. That tomorrow is unbounded. Go and make that vision a reality.