figuring things out

I don’t know what it was, maybe it was the transcript of Steve Jobs’ speech, maybe it was things that happened at work lately, but last Thursday and Friday I was really depressed about where I am now, in my professional life.

I thought it was because I hated my job, or that I am in the wrong vocation for my talents and abilities. I had the urge to just quit, sell everything I have, figure out what exactly it is that I should do, and then start over. Maybe I would go to Hallmark and do then do photography for a living, maybe I’ll just do more consulting. I’ve talked to Sherry, my parents, and some of my friends. Nothing really helped. I went to 43 Things, found out that I was definitely not alone in this. After much research I found 3 books that might help me. I picked up 2 of them at Barnes & Noble and began reading one yesterday.

I am not done with the it yet, as it is not just a book, there are exercises to go through, and often I have to go back and re-read parts from a previous chapter. I’d say I’ve finished about 1/5 of it. I feel better already! I think my frustration was due to the fact that I had no serious plans for the future. I believe that was the major problem, I had no plans on how to reach my ultimate goals (and what they really are). I had some vague ideas on what I thought would be fun to do eventually, like my own startup, or venture capital. But I did not plan on how to get there. I guess I was hoping that something really good would happen, like if my previous startup IPO’ed or if it had got a great deal at the acquisition, I could very well be able to not work for a few years and work on my own startup. Or go get my MBA. Same thing with stock options of my current company (and I am still keeping my fingers crossed). But I never planned on what to do if none of those things would happen. I picked up old and old hobbies and things hoping to find joy outside of work, but ultimately,

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Aristotle

First I need to figure out something that I would definitely love doing, a job that sings, then I will plan on how to get there. Like if I find out VC is really what matches my skills, I will make plan to enroll in an MBA program. Or if I find out I really don’t like to follow authority, then I should really do something on my own, like to expand my consulting practice, or open up a coffee shop.

Bottom line is that I need to figure things out. I need to understand myself better, hopefully there is a something out there that suits me.

4 Responses to figuring things out

  1. Trevor June 20, 2005 at 1:31 am #

    You and me both, man. We need to start working for the only people that agree 100% with how we think a company should be run: ourselves. Of course, for me, Google seems like it might be a close second. 😉

    43things.com is interesting…

  2. seoulfully June 20, 2005 at 9:10 am #

    the tough part is, of course, figuring out exactly what you love to do. because even if you really enjoy photography or the thought of doing some VC stuff, maybe you don’t love it so much once it’s your vocation. it’s kind of like living with a best friend, never know if it’ll work out once it’s an every day thing.

    i’ve almost resigned myself to the concept of just work hard and pay the bills. i have no doubt that my parents are NOT doing what they would like to be doing in an ideal world, but they stick to it to provide for the family. the thought of doing something i love and being moderately successful at it (well at least successful enough to be financially stable) is very appealing, but like most people i have no idea what it is that i would love to do.

    btw, at least for me, the amazon suggested combined order purchase is a book titled “do what you are.” if you are interested in reading it, let me know as i’ve owned a copy since college, when one of my professors suggested it to me. it’s a decent read, don’t know how helpful it’d be, but you never know.

  3. ayn June 20, 2005 at 9:46 am #

    Thanks Trevor, it is defintiely reassuring knowing that I am not alone. 43things.com is a cool site indeed, and seriously, if we put things like RSS, AJAX, folksonomy, social networking together into something it doesn’t look super difficult to get some fundings.

    seoulfully: for the longest time I share the same attitude toward work; that the job only pays the bills and the hobbies and the cars, but I am really hoping there is more to it. If I can’t find it I could always fall back on technology or what not. Or more than likely it will be something tech-related still. The thing is, I don’t want to be in my mid-life and wonder what could have happened if I had done something about it.

    I mentioned I picked up 2 books from B&N, “do what you are” was the other one. I haven’t started on it yet. Thanks for the offer.

  4. joshp June 21, 2005 at 6:40 pm #

    Andrew – It sounds like you are ready to be a part of the Robot Co-op. We use that same Aristotle quote all the time.

    When we were starting our company and coming up with the idea for 43 Things, it was all driven by a desire to habitually do what we wanted to become. The hard parts of any good idea aren’t the technology – they are having the character to discern the right opportunities and attract the right people.

    Like Steve Jobs said, you don’t want to copy someone and risk drowning out your own inner voice with what you hear other people saying. Good luck on the journey and glad you like 43 Things!

    – Josh

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