Two worlds

I was talking to the co-op students about their plans after graduations in the afternoon. The company hired the brightest students from both UBC and SFU. I gave some advice to one of the guy who havn’t make up his mind. He planned to study master in UBC. I encouraged him apply to top schools in the States, I think he could make it. I was like them 6 years ago. I used to dream alot about the future. Tonight I had a drink with an old friend visiting Vancouver. He is on the other end of the spectrum compare to the co-ops. He is working for CN Rail. His career is smooth, riskless and well-planned. All he need to do is wait for his boss to retire and then move up the ladder. Repeat this process a few times and he will be the chief engineer of CN Rail. CN Rail didn’t hire many people for many years, so there is a hugh age gap between him and his boss, his boss’ boss, etc. He can envision where he will be in 10 years when everyone above him retired. Chielf engineer of CN Rail makes a very decent living, but not glorious. Nevertheless, he is an engineering manager but he makes considerly less than a grunt engineer in PMC. I ask myself which of the two worlds I belong to. Can I still pursuit my dream like the co-ops or should I settle down for a plain simple life like my old friend?