Dare To Be Different

The conversation continues…

Employer: “Miss Jones, while you’ve been completing your undergrad and graduate school experience, I’d like to share with you what I have been working on.

I dropped out of undergraduate school and opened a technology company. I’m a self-taught programmer. It crashed and burned within a year but I met some really innovative people along the way. I opened a new company with three of those innovators and introduced an idea to them – I’m always thinking about how I can take a good technology idea and make it better. We fleshed out my thoughts over the course of just one brainstorming session, and then we all went into programming mode. We weren’t really sure how this technology was going to serve a customer (both business-to-business and business-to-consumer) but we were all used to making it up as we went along, so off we went.

Within a year and a half we had a million users. Investors from Google took a real interest in us and soon we had serious investment money at our disposal. One of our original partners didn’t fit in, so we fired him. We continued to grow into a global powerhouse. I found out I was a great inventor but a terrible manager. Unfortunately I found that out after I was fired.

After licking my wounds I opened a brand-new technology company and two years later we boast an estimated value of $250 million and are taking steps to take the company public within the next year.

So, Miss Jones, that’s been what I’ve been doing the last six years. We both started at the same place but I took a different path. So, I have to ask you, ‘What would you do differently if you knew no one would judge you?’”

Picture yourself as Miss Jones. You’re fresh out of school and trying to find your way, while across from you sits someone you with an incredible (and prosperous) career story to tell – all in only six years. Why have you been so committed to continued education? Is it because the job market stinks? Or is it because you think it gives you a competitive advantage?

Young people: stop putting your career dreams on hold. When is it time to stop calculating risks and rewards, and just do what you know is right?

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