Today I had the pleasure of being part of a panel at Calpoly, my local university, discussing what Entrepreneurship means to me and how my background studying Mathematics served in my greater career. It was so nice to connect with those who are in that phase of life full of hard work, transitions, finals, and late night pizza. Some great reminders arose from the round table discussion and questions afterwards that I wanted to share here as reminders for us all.
We are all striving to find work we can feel good about. What a gift that we live in a time that we can pursue this aim.
Entrepreneurship to me, is more about passion than it is about profitability, although profitability and covering costs is a necessary part of operating a business that I think we can’t ignore. I recently read an interesting article, The Bankrupt Idealogy of Business School. It proposed that, “Business has lost sight of its true function in society, which is to provide a mechanism by which we can work together and with our environment to achieve our common goals. It is not, and never has been, to simply make a profit.” Glad I’m not the only one wondering this!
I said this spontaneously while chatting with someone and I think it’s really true. In five years, no one will even know your major?! Isn’t it crazy?! The work we are doing today, as important and life filling as it is, might not really matter all that much in 5 years. It matters in that it will likely have that connecting thread that will lead you to the next thing. But try not to stress. When you are graduating put yourself out there, see what you are eligible for, and apply and interview for it. Who knows what will stick, and it will most certainly have some lessons to teach. Also, look for companies you like, towns you like, and research those and see where you might fit and try to make it happen. It might take an extra class or summer job.
It’s so hard to imagine how your unique skills and energy might best serve the world and yourself when the environment you are living in is so structured and specific. College can feel like such a bubble, a sweet bubble, but a bubble none the less. We so often work and live life in such tight little bubbles we can’t see beyond our immediate windshields. I want to remind us that sometimes the best thing is to get out there and try things out. I was really impressed and proud of those students for showing up to something optional to think about how they might best contribute in life. We don’t have to know what we want to be when we grow up, what our careers will be, how it all fits at the tender age of 20, 40, or even in our wisdom years. It constantly changes! Just get out there, start working on or toward something you can wake up for and feel good about showing up to each day. My first post college job was computer programming for an insurance company. I learned people skills, office skills, how to show up every day. This later led to me getting hired at a much better company for my personality because I had experience that aligned with them. And it just kept going this way and still is for me. Make it your goal to show up and learn each and every day, and it will unfold.
I didn’t get to say this to the panel, but I wanted to: BE PATIENT! I didn’t just get hired for my dream job out of nowhere, although I feel blessed to have eventually found my way to some version of it. It took me learning from lots of middle jobs, making it my mission to grow in each situation, and to keep showing up.
One more thing, IT TAKES A VILLAGE. Helen Keller said it best, “We can do so much more together, than we can apart”. I have noticed in myself and our culture that there is an over emphasis on individuality. When I feel part of a team I love and am loyal to, way more magic and success happens than when I am trying to conquer the world by myself and create my own idealized version of the world. Ten years ago, I thought I could do it better. Today, I realize it’s much more interesting to try to meld with each other and find more win-win. I am still here creating my version of it, but with a more collaborative approach, I think*!
Good luck to those in transition, trying to find your spark, embarking upon the unknown. YOU GOT THIS.