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Ask Dave

Big Career Jump

Dave talks to Joe about the two things he should check when debating about whether to go into the family business.

QUESTION: Joe in Nevada is 25 and has been a successful mechanic for several years. He has his real estate license and wants to know if he should make a jump from being a mechanic to his family's business. Dave recommends that he looks into the future and see what would make him happy when he is 40 years old.

Dave's ANSWER: There are two things to check as to why you're doing something: scale and time. You are 25 now and making $50,000 a year. Go visit your 45-year-old self in your mind right now. When you are 45 years old and making $200,000 a year and your life is awesome, are you doing property management or are you a mechanic? You said property management, and I asked you why. If you think the only way you'll get there is by property management, that wasn't my question.

My question is, what is it that you're doing that makes you happy and making a lot of money and you've spent 20 years doing and you're glad you did it? What are you passionate about? The things you are talking about with being a mechanic, such as stuff always breaking, sounds like property management to me.

I've got a bunch of property, and stuff breaks all the time. I think you need to back up from your family and from this and ask what you want to do with your life. Not what your family wants you to do or what makes you the most money. That will lead you into a better decision. I'm afraid you're taking this by default rather than having thought it through. That is what's bothering me in the conversation.