Sitting at my desk overlooking the beach in Busan has started me thinking about my life, career, and of course the major events in my life. I can only express gratitude for all the opportunities that have come my way and am constantly amazed at how things unfold.
Last year, I retired from my current position at Lee & Ko and for all intents and purposes put up my lawyer hat. Perhaps I will do something else, whether it involves law or not who knows. But after turning 65, and looking back upon my 40-year odyssey as a lawyer, I cannot help but wonder how I ended up where I am.
Well, where am I?
Of course, physically I am in South Korea. But my work has taken me around the world. I worked for several multinationals, a major Korean university, and the second largest law firm in Korea. My career, which had its ups and downs, ended on a high note. Having authored several books, taught law at a local university in Seoul, and counseled several of the world’s largest electronic companies along the way, looking back my legal career was rather successful. Even though I did not receive stellar grades in law school, nor graduate in the top ten percent of my class (what one must do these days to work for a distinguished law firm) how did I end up having a successful career?
The Universe opened several doors, which I was willing to walk through. When I first came to Korea in the mid-1980s, many thought it was unsafe. Folks back home still thought of South Korea as a third-world country. They thought of MASH when I talked about South Korea. But, I still walked through the door!
I was willing to do anything to follow a dream. Though I started out my legal career as a public defender in Tampa, Florida I wanted to get involved in international business and international law, especially in Asia. I went so far as to prepare for the GMAT and take undergraduate courses in economics and calculus in order to prepare for getting an MBA. Though I could have applied to various MBA programs I chose Seattle as it was a dynamic city with connections to Asia. I moved to Seattle from Florida and was accepted into the University of Washington’s MBA program. Though I put my legal career on hold while studying I constantly thought of an international career in business or law. That led to applying for an in-house position with Samsung and eventually being hired by Samsung in Korea as its first full-time US lawyer. And of course, I met my wife shortly after moving to Korea.
My career had its ups and downs, but I am eternally grateful for everything I have experienced, accomplished and have been given in my life. I’ve done more than I set out to do. So here are my suggestions:
So, what about your dreams and aspirations? Are you ready to walk through the door when it opens? Are you ready to take action, push yourself and prepare for opportunities that will come your way? Yes, opportunities will come. You just have to be ready to grab them.