Flemming Ornskov still considers himself a physician.
The CEO of $50 billion drugmaker Shire – known for making ADHD medicine and its focus on rare diseases like the blood disorder hemophilia – might not spend his day seeing patients, but he continues to find ways to apply what he learned in his training to his job.
Business Insider asked Ornskov for his best career advice. He supplied three tips:
- “Do something you really like and do something you are passionate about,” Ornskov said. There are a whole bunch of job descriptions out there, which can make the career path you want to follow less clear. But knowing what you like to do can help make things more straightforward. “Don’t do what everybody else is doing.” Ornskov has kids, and this is advice he gives them as well, especially as they face pressure from their peers about what’s considered popular. “Don’t follow the money.” While you might make a lot of money in some areas, it’s probably not worth it if you don’t like what you’re doing. “Don’t go into investment banking because you think you’re going to make a lot of money,” Ornskov said. “If you hate investment banking that’s not good.”
Ornskov gave the example of Roger Federer, the 35-year-old tennis pro who just won his eighth Wimbledon. Even though Federer has been playing for years, it’s clear that he still has a love for the sport.
“You know, at 35 – I think he started when he was 8 or 9 – you look at his face, he loves the thing,” Ornskov said. That means hours of practice a day, on top of the stress of injuries, family commitments, etc. “You look at this guy, he likes playing. I don’t think he goes out and says, ‘well that’s another $100,000 on the bank account.'”
If you can replicate that with a career path, you’re likely on the right track.