Early on in our careers, generally right after high school, college, or university most people have the obvious goal of finding a job. Generally that means a job in their chosen field of study if they’re lucky enough to have completed our studies. Four, five or more years of university had better amount to some tangible benefit, or they better have some good explanation for Mom and Dad. If they’re going straight from high school, into the work force, then generally any job will do. As long as the pay is good, the pressure is not too great, and you get to work with a cool bunch of people. Somewhere along the line, all that starts to change. At least for some of us, let’s find meaning in life, and what you do with your life.
I know it did for me. Not sure exactly where or why, but I do have some theories. For a lot of years, probably into my early thirties what mattered to me, was that the job paid well, that I was not bored to death doing it, and the shorter the hours the better. Around the time my father died, that thinking started to change for me. I needed to feel what I did mattered. I had been working for a consulting company, that was by it’s nature very entrepreneurial. The money was good, and the perks were fantastic. Prior to that, I was really just a cubicle clown doing whatever management dictated as necessary. Adequate pay, and OK working conditions.
Eventually, I went to work for a large financial institution. Now the work and pay were both OK, but I started asking myself bigger picture type questions. Epitaph type stuff. Was I making the world a better place by what I did for a living? Was the company I worked for making a significant and positive impact on people and the world in general? It started to matter to me, how my contribution and indirectly my employer affected other people. I didn’t really like the answers I was getting. I was working for a bank after all
So I decided to go out on my own. If figured I could make a fortune in the online world. Opportunities abounded, and there was money to be made. The financial success has yet to come true, but that’s another story. I still need to satisfy my moral conscience and know that I was contributing in a good way to the world at large. Some of my earlier business strategies were a little borderline, but if I could satisfy my need for making the world a better place, I was OK with that. I remembered reading a story about two college friends who also wanted to make the world a better place for having had them in it. Once decided to go work for a volunteer agency in remote third world countries. The other decided became the CEO of his own very successful company. The first guy was able to help a few people at a time through his hands on approach in disadvantaged countries. The CEO was able to help tens of thousands through his own philanthropist organization. Who was more successful? To me, it was the CEO.
I’m not good at digging ditches and building homes in third world countries, but I like to think I’m pretty handy at computers, and running a business. Although so far, that hasn’t been proven on the balance sheet. My point being, that you don’t have to sacrifice your own desires to make a difference. Whatever you do, if you put your whole heart into it, and be successful beyond your wildest dreams, you’ll be fortunate to make the world better for others. I plan to accomplish just that, and I’m working that plan today.