Last month, I left my job to work on Best Delegate full-time.
I was working at Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment bank. I started right after college, and right before the financial crisis erupted. I had a good job where I was learning a lot from really smart and supportive colleagues. Despite recent controversy, I was proud to tell people where I worked: friends, classmates, and—most importantly—my parents.
So why would I leave? And to run a blog, of all things?
The short answer: I’m starting a business centered around this blog. I’m going to help students use MUN to get into college and find a job, which is what I did with MUN. But there’s more to it than that.
Twenty-somethings like me struggle with the question, “What do I want from my work, my relationships, and my life?” We have education and experience, alumni and professional networks, social media and the Internet. We are free to work and travel, teach and learn, create and connect. We have more choices to do what we want than any generation before us. And yet, the paradox of having more choices is that it paralyzes us from making any single choice.
To answer this question for myself, I went through a process of solitude and self-reflection. This was hard to do in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and never-ending e-mails. I had to close myself off from the constant information overload in order to turn inwards, and really sit and think. It made me realize there are three things I want to do at this point in my life:
- Learn. I know that the lessons I learn today, while I’m young, will be the foundation of my future career. I’m interested in business and communication, and what better way to learn than to start my own business and build it around a blog.
- Create. I love great speeches, well-designed presentations, and thoughtful articles. I want to craft my own, and Best Delegate is my chance to do so.
- Stand Out. I believe that more and more young people with world-class education and experience are competing for the same jobs and opportunities. Those who stand out from the crowd are more likely to succeed, and one way to stand out is to build a strong personal brand and online presence.
Looking at what I wanted, I realized that working on Best Delegate full-time made a lot of sense. But I also considered the risk I’d be taking, and in fact, my job at Goldman Sachs was in risk management. I had learned that meaningful reward requires meaningful risk, but we must first understand the risks we take and our own risk tolerance.
I’m comfortable with the risk I’m taking because I view investing in my business as investing in myself. Even if it doesn’t work out, I’ll get a great learning experience out of it. My risk tolerance is high because I’m young and I don’t have anyone to support. My only real risk is the risk of regret, of not doing what I want while I still have the chance.
And on a personal level, what really puts my risk in perspective is my family. My grandparents left the Philippines to find opportunity in America. My dad ran his own company while raising my brother and me. My mom gave up her career to help my grandmother through chemotherapy. Compared to that, the risk I’m taking is minimal.
So I made my choice, and I let my colleagues know that I was leaving. They were very supportive, and I will be forever thankful for their encouragement and advice.
I was really sad to leave on my last day. I stayed to take in the view around my desk, looking out over the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, and Ground Zero from nineteen stories up for the last time. And now, I’m ready, excited, and looking forward to the best that’s yet to come.
Related Link: “What is it about 20-somethings?”