December 26th, 2002


What Should I Do With My Life?

What Should I Do With My Life?

The real meaning of success -- and how to find it

by Po Bronson
photographs by Michael Grecco
from FC issue 66, page 69
Read more stories from this January 2003 issue

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It's time to define the new era. Our faith has been shaken. We've lost confidence in our leaders and in our institutions. Our beliefs have been tested. We've discredited the notion that the Internet would change everything ( and the stock market would buy us an exit strategy from the grind ). Our expectations have been dashed. We've abandoned the idea that work should be a 24-hour-a-day rush and that careers should be a wild adventure. Yet we're still holding on.

We're seduced by the idea that picking up the pieces and simply tweaking the formula will get the party started again. In spite of our best thinking and most searing experience, our ideas about growth and success are mired in a boom-bust mentality. Just as LBOs gave way to IPOs, the market is primed for the next engine of wealth creation. Just as we traded in the pinstripes and monster bonuses of the Wall Street era for T-shirts and a piece of the action during the startup revolution, we're waiting to latch on to the new trappings of success. ( I understand the inclination. I've surfed from one boom to the next for most of my working life -- from my early days as a bond trader to my most recent career as a writer tracking the migration of my generation from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. )

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