Waiting For Career Success Instead of Experiencing Career Happiness

Alex hit the parental career lottery or he thought. His father ran a very successful industrial business in New Haven County. While Alex never spoke about his career path plan with his father in such direct terms, it was understood that Alex and his brother had jobs waiting for them after college… if that is what they wanted to do… and that they could someday run the company… if that is what they wanted to do. 
Both Alex and Matt, his younger brother by 2 years, joined the company after each finished college. Neither was particularly interested in their father’s business.  It is one of those old world businesses involving “parts” as opposed to a new world business involving “ideas”. Since the business was in its mature phase, maintaining and growing at the margins was generally the business plan.  
Alex and Matt would both beg off meeting with clients as it involved their Dad and his clients chatting about the old days or things that Alex and Matt didn’t care about, such as the operational aspects of the business.  Similarly, Alex and Matt didn’t relish meetings with vendors or other relational aspects of the business as it was basically with “Dad’s cronies.”
After three years, Matt had enough. He left the business to join his friend at a biotech company in New Haven. Matt found the products more interesting and he liked that the company was in the growing phase.  
Alex thought Matt was making a risky move.  Their Dad’s company was established.  All Alex had to do was wait for his Dad to move on and then Alex would be in charge.  Upon reflection, Alex thought that he soon would “kick back and collect big checks when his Dad retired.”
A few snags in the plan: in the present, Alex’s Dad did not pay Alex incredibly well. When Alex confronted him, his Dad was blunt, “please go see if someone else will pay you what I pay you.” He was right.  Alex was being paid very well given both his minimal credentials and experience and his lack of work ethic.  
Moreover, Alex seemed to think that his Dad would start to take it easy and gradually turn over running the company to him.  Alex recited markers in his life:
When Alex turned 30, his Dad was 57. Nothing changed in their work relationship. Alex did not fully understand that his Dad took great pride in his company.  He had built it from scratch. He loves his work or at least loves the satisfaction of running a company he built. When Alex turned 35, another marker for him, he approached his Dad about slowing down but again his Dad was blunt: “our clients and vendors tell me that they hope I stay around as long as possible. Obviously, they are not entirely confident in you.”  
Alex thought his Dad would retire at 65.  He didn’t.  Alex met me shortly after his 40th birthday.  His Dad was 67 and showing no signs of retiring.  
It was then that Alex had an epiphany.  His Dad had found his purpose through the company.  Alex had not.   He lamented that he didn’t follow his brother’s path who now was a Vice-President at a different bio-tech company in Connecticut, earning more money and liking his work far more than Alex. 
Alex thought he hit the career lottery but he was wrong. His Dad and brother did because they had taken control of their career paths.