"Here’s the plea to Silicon Valley: we’re worried you’re losing your soul. Please take on challenges that are worthy of you, that demand your heart, reputation, treasure, commitment, conviction, and values—not just what the market’s asking of you. You’re the builders of this era. It’s not enough. We need you to lead." - Andrew Yang, founder and CEO of Venture for America
Let's turn the clock back a few years and rewind to December of 2012. I did it. I graduated from college. I had officially checked off all the boxes of my schooling expectations. Grad school would be revisited at another time if necessary. I was thirsty for what the "real world" had to offer and without school being the main priority, I was ready to dive in.
Internships hadn't turned into serious job positions and I wasn't smitten over any particular company. I waited it out while still serving tables until my hunt for the perfect job would come to a close. Interviewing became a full-time gig and I was enjoying the interactive be-your-best-self conversations that took place. Countless strings of follow-up interviews and nothing managed to excite the insides of me. One entry-level, mindless, tech job after another, I couldn't see myself working at any of these places. Was serving tables my fate?
I started looking for jobs that resonated with my heart rather than my wallet and wound up taking my first job at a nonprofit agency committed to giving youth a better chance at life after many experienced system failures. The work was meaningful and that inspired me to give it my all. When the environment is filled with extremities and exhaustion 24 hours a day, the work starts to swallow everything else in your life (as our work often does). I stuck it out for the children because quitting seemed like a selfish thing to do. It was becoming harder to find the beauty in my days and office culture was slowing draining the life from my veins.
One day I was sitting at my computer, gazing at the little plants on desks that I spent hours preparing the night before, and I realized, those little seeds needed to be nurtured to thrive and I needed to follow suit. I turned in my two weeks notice later that week. I didn't want to spend one more day wasting away in a place that couldn't meet me where I needed to be met. Impulsive? Yes. But I'd never done anything like it before and it excited me. I was setting off on a soul seeking quest, unaware of what it would look like but eager to find out.
Yoga took the front seat and meditation followed shortly after. I was eating the colors of the rainbow and spending a lot of time outside. I was participating in more workshops and online seminars than ever before, thrilled to be diving into topics that made me come alive. Could someone pay me to be a lifetime learner? That would be optimal.
I wasn't sure where the path would take me but I wasn't concerned with the outcome. I was enjoying each step and its terrain. The work I did, the choices I made, the life I created for myself after leaving my first "real job" after college, has landed me here today, ready to share the work I've done. Not only ready, but ecstatic. So excited that I'm simultaneously terrified, in the best way possible.
It's scary to think about having a job you hate for decades, but what's even scarier? Going after what you really want. Going after it relentlessly and coming so close to it that you aren't sure anymore if you're a crazy person living in a false reality of your own pretenses. I find myself in this place often. After spending four months abroad last year and settling back into Silicon Valley, I've felt a little off. Asking myself on a regular basis if I'm doing it all wrong. Unsure if this market, the customers, the arena, is available and interested in doing work involving their souls.
Here's to finding out.