Next Steps

I’ve never been more excited. After galloping down the beaten path, I can’t help but be dramatic — it’s time for something new. I’ve studied hard and worked hard, climbed the corporate ladder, traveled the world, partied way too hard, on and in all kinds of clubs, speakeasies, and rooftops, lived in the greatest city in the world in an awfully comfortable apartment, met amazing people, built perennial relationships, and it has been friggin’ great. And still, hitting the eject button never felt so good.

But it’s not really the eject button, it is more of a delicate surgical extraction of sorts. Or honestly, I just grew a pair. I have been thinking about this for a while, but was constantly torn. “I am going to quit my corporate job, and just travel the world.” Yes, that sounds great but kind of useless, and self-centered much? Option two was — “Oh, I’ll work as a bartender on a beach in Thailand.” That’s fantastic — let’s just trash away everything I have learnt over the last decade. Option three resonates so much more. I am looking to take all that I’ve learnt in this stupendous, bittersweet, borderline-existential journey that has been Corporate America, and apply it to where it matters.

The social enterprise world has been like a dormant volcano in the back of my head that has recently exploded back into life. I read this book, thanks to my oh-so-amazing sister, and click, it switched on the lava flow. Jacqueline Novogratz is special. Her story is special. Her mind and her heart are special. It just makes so much sense.

If you make over $50k/year annually, you’re in the top 1% earning population of the world. Think again about not having ever won the lottery. And every dollar you make over $80k/year has a severe diminishing marginal utility when it comes to the age-old quest that is happiness. Please don’t be disillusioned by the illusion of happiness that comes with the extra money. Money matters, but only to a certain extent. There are only so many islands you can buy.

Whether this applies to you or not, it caused a massive earthquake in my psyche. Earn more money, and do what? So, here I was, sitting on coffers full of gold, earned earnestly by selling my soul to Corporate America. It was all hunky dory until my learning started to plateau and I started to somewhat implode — ironically, it was a blissful implosion of worthlessness, straight out of a Tarantino movie. And then, I quit.

HELLO WORLD. It’s like I am reborn. Never have I ever been more focused, and excited about my next steps. I have learnt so much, and I am so pumped to use what I have learnt and apply it to where I can actually make an impact. And the best part about this journey? I’ll be learning throughout. I suddenly prefer staying in and reading to going out and grabbing a drink. What is fiction? And, why would you? I can’t wait to sell all my stuff, and collapse my belongings into a suitcase. I can’t wait to explore the world with the purpose of looking to make a positive social impact. Income inequity is such a shame. Nothing against the rich, but let’s just raise the floor for the poor. There’s enough food to feed the world, but the seesaw is lopsided. Do your donations make the most impact possible? Why are ‘non-profits’ not called ‘for-purpose’? How can Burger King spend millions on advertising while for-purpose organizations get skewered for investing in scale? We are at the cusp of some sort of social enterprise renaissance. As data becomes easily available, the world is getting smarter. I want to be in the middle of it all. And yes, I might be wildly optimistic but this natural high is great. It’s the longest high I have ever had, and I am going to milk it. For once, I am not ashamed of being naïve. I am proud, excited and driven. All I am doing to protect myself is I am hedging my heart. Just a little though, just a little.

P.S. My first stop is Guatemala for 6 months where I will be doing a fellowship at Alterna, a social enterprise cultivator / incubator.