Will was a civil servant in the U.S. Government. He had a friend who was stuck in a dead-end job. He was bored with his work. He had a young family, including some toddlers, and wanted to expand his horizons before it was too late. He was considering law school and earning a law degree.

Will decided to help. He had a law degree and offered free law instruction to help his friend decide if a legal career was right for him.

And then life got in the way. 

Will’s friend was Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s political party nominated him for the vice presidency of the United States. This was against T. R.’s will, but the people elected him anyway.

He served in an era when the vice presidency was a do-nothing job without a future. Then, after eight months in office, a deranged man assassinated President William McKinley. Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as president. He was forty-two—the youngest man ever to serve as president.

He never went back to his legal studies.

[Side Note: Will was William Howard Taft, who Theodore later got elected president and who still later served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.]

Sometimes, we pick a career path that is not meant to be. For me, it was to be the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Forces conspired against me to prevent this from happening—namely, a lack of talent. My backup plan was to become a dentist. In a rare case of insight, I pulled the plug on that one during my senior year in high school.

You may have had plans for your life. Then things changed, or someone changed your plans for you.

  • Maybe you ran out of money for college.
  • Maybe a family member got sick, and you became a caregiver.
  • Maybe you got married and immediately got pregnant.
  • Maybe you didn’t get married after thinking you would.
  • Maybe you got fired from a job you loved.
  • Maybe you got hired for a job you never expected.
  • Maybe you, too, found yourself in a dead-end job and did not know the future that lay ahead.

Theodore Roosevelt never got his law degree. Of course, he did get his face carved on Mount Rushmore. That’s a pretty good consolation prize.


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