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Miles White: Don't pursue titles and dollars
Age: 54
CEO, Abbott Labs

The best advice I got from someone in the corporate world was not to pursue titles and dollars. Pursue passion, and the titles and the dollars will take care of themselves. I think there's a lot of truth to that. As young people build careers, how they define happiness or achievement makes a big difference in the success they're going to have in their careers. If you pursue the things you believe in and have a passion for, I think everything else pretty much takes care of itself. Otherwise, you find yourself wishing your life away, advancing to the next thing, never quite appreciating the circumstances where you are and the enrichment you're getting out of the experience.

I can give you one example [of how it impacted me]. I was a consultant at McKinsey almost 25 years ago, and I took a large cut in pay and left to come be a national account sales manager at Abbott. I wanted to manage people and products directly. I wanted to be somewhere where I could build a business, build people, and lead teams. I took a big cut in pay and went in search of passion. And it worked out.

--Interview by Beth Kowitt

NEXT: Aaron Patzer: Self-doubt is normal
Last updated July 08 2009: 2:26 PM ET
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