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Search for love, not a job
The state of the job market is beyond frightening and some of the most talented people I have ever met remain in the job hunt. As time passes and a full-time position does not appear, the natural response is to broaden the search, to expand what you are “interested in” and ultimately end up interested in being employed. This approach is a mistake and my interpretation of the second verse of the I Ching backs up this assertion:
“DISCOVER WHAT YOU LOVE, WORK AT IT. SUCCESS WILL FOLLOW. When you are engaged in a labor of love, your efforts are extremely efficient and your natural abilities are utilized to the fullest. You are engaged by the work and the love of the product, not ego and the love of self. This confidence results in the power to lead while appearing to follow and the service and devotion of your team.”
Traditionally, the MBA is a degree that helps you mitigate risk and the process of acquiring the degree pushes you to become increasingly risk averse as the recruiting waves wash over each class. Professors have told me that every year they hear about students who are determined to “do a start-up” and “make it work” before they are “forced” to report to their job at a consulting firm or a bank. Inevitably, after calculating the expected NPV of each option, the newly minted MBA spends their signing bonus on travel and new suites not incorporation documents and rent-a-coder. This year is different because many of us do not have jobs (or the signing bonus) and are choosing between a passion project and a job search that may continue well beyond the summer. I hope most of these highly capable people are able to see the opportunity in the economy and feel the freedom of following a passion. I respect anyone who decides to pursue the most interesting thing they can imagine and I think long-term success lies in making this type of decision multiple times in a career.