December 6, 2007

How To Land Your Dream Job?

"This story starts at Mascoutah (Ill.) High. Kris Jenner was a mere B student but a star basketball and football player. He was set on a sports career when he headed off to the University of Illinois on a football scholarship. That dream was shattered by a severe knee injury that forced the freshman quarterback to find another area in which to shine.

Plan B was to become a doctor, a notion inspired by the female physician who cared for him when, at 6, he nearly died from bacterial meningitis, a fast-moving illness that can bring a killing fever. A quick-thinking baby sitter, his 12-year-old sister, Kyra, put him in a cold bath to cool him down before she and their mother rushed him to the doctor (his father, an animal nutritionist, was away on business).

He was accepted at Johns Hopkins, but the finger of fate beckoned again. This time it belonged to his University of Illinois comparative-religion professor, Sister Marie, who encouraged him to study abroad, a possibility that hadn't occurred to the youngster from a small farming town. "I didn't even know where Oxford was," he says, adding that it was through her help he ended up with a doctorate in molecular biology from the British school as a Marshall Scholar. Finally, he went to medical school at Hopkins, where he met his wife, Susan Cummings, who was studying to become a pediatric cardiologist.

The young physician followed her to Boston, where she did a fellowship at Boston's Children's Hospital and he did cancer research at the Laboratory of Biological Cancer at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital. They now have two daughters and a son.

One day, he had an epiphany.

"I passed a very well-respected physician in Boston, a handsome, graying man with a perfect white coat at the top of his career and a New England Journal of Medicine in his hand," he recalls, " but I was carrying a Wall Street Journal and, if it had been a weekend, it would have been a Barron's."

The imagery convinced him that he was "heading down the wrong path," he says. So he ditched the scrubs, donned a suit and showed up at T. Rowe Price, looking for a job. The Baltimore investment firm hired him as an assistant biotechnology analyst in 1997."

Today Kris Jenner is a lead portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price's Health Sciences Fund, where he has delivered exceptional results over the years. The above excerpt is from the recent issue of Barrons's.

Two points that struck me upon reading this acticle

- Follow your dreams: Kris switched jobs and careers to finally seek out what he really wanted to do. You may not land your dream vocation the first time but if you keep trying you will find it.

- Competency: You have a area of expertise and which you need to leverage for your growth. As Kris demonstrates - there are many ways to leverage what you know. Be creative to figure out how to get an edge.

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