When I joined the US Marine Corps, it wasn’t to become a Marine, but a lawyer. I had finally decided what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I didn’t have the financial resources to get there. So, I enlisted in order to qualify for the GI Bill benefits, which help military members pursue a college education. I figured I would serve my country, see a bit of the world, save a little money into the bargain, and then get out, finish my degree, and go to law school. That was the plan, and off to the recruiting station I went.
Approximately one year later I was sitting in a two-man fighting hole filled with me, another Marine, and water from both the constant rain and the rising water table we seem to have tapped when we dug the hole. Periodically a corpsman would come by and order us out of the hole so we didn’t get hypothermia. Shortly later, the lieutenant, checking the lines, would order us back in so we didn’t break combat training discipline. Both the corpsmen and the lieutenant made regular rounds, so the hilarity was only bound to ensue.
Read the rest of the story at Managing Leadership. It describes a career path that probably resembles many. I know that my own has hardly been a straight shot.