Career Setbacks

A former McKinsey colleague with whom I worked on a client engagement, is now leading a multi-billion dollar US company, which is a front-runner in the race to build a COVID vaccine. His company may quite literally save the world.

However, here is an interesting fact about that McKinsey engagement, where the above-mentioned colleague was the manager.

There was another guy on the team, an associate, who was just as brilliant. Both, the associate and the manager, were great individuals but could not get along with each other. As a result, the associate got poor feedback and decided to leave the Firm since his career was derailed.

I felt really sad for the associate, as he was a very nice guy and a senior from Wharton. But he ended up setting another extremely successful biotech company, has raised loads of VC money, and is a TED speaker (not TEDx).

In the end, both did amazingly well.

At that point, I felt really sorry for the associate. But I now realize that any setback, even the derailment of career at a firm like McKinsey, makes little difference in the long term.

As long as you can get up, dust off, and keep moving, all setbacks are temporary.


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