I remember graduating from college in 1991 and walking the streets of New York City looking for a job because I was convinced New York was where I belonged. I’d open newspaper after newspaper hoping to find anything that would pay a reasonable salary – which at that time hovered under $20,000/year. Imagine. Living in Manhattan and making less than $20,000/year. I sound like your grandmother, right? I didn’t last long in Manhattan – Boston beckoned me home.
I also remember in June 2010 when, after several years in a self-funded start up in Massachusetts, I was told that they would be cutting my position while I had two children in private school, a car payment and was the breadwinner who paid the mortgage. It was then that I was reminded of that kid who in 1991 had no real debt, shared a great apartment with a roommate, and lived off of Ramen noodles – she had it pretty easy.
I’m not trying to garner sympathy but I”m simply noting that while times were tough in 1991, as they are now, opportunity to me has always been about what you make of it – not about how you chase it down or wish for it to be better. Regardless of where I was, I always had the desire to be doing my best work; to contribute to a team; to do what it takes to get the job done. Complaining and self-pity was really never an option. If I was unhappy, I made a change.
Chuck Tanowitz of Fresh Ground wrote a great blog post after attending a forum about cultivating talent and Building a Better Commonwealth. (And I’ll admit, I wasn’t able to attend but will be keeping an eye out for future events! Looks to be a great initiative). He points out:
“If the demand exists then so does the business. As for the talent in the Commonwealth, we need to take our entrepreneurial spirit and apply it to companies that aren’t just in tech, but create a better life for everyone.”
I think it’s important to note “create a better life for everyone”. If we all had the same goals, to do the same job, in the same location, there would be a lot of people on the outskirts looking and trying to get in. If we each grab an opportunity that suits us best and do our best with it, then it is a win-win across the board. Take the initiative, as Chuck points out, to solve the problems instead of just pointing them out. Get to work.
But, I guess if you aren’t driven to do your best work here in Massachusetts…maybe it is time to chase that opportunity somewhere else. I’m ready to meet the person who grabs your missed opportunity and takes your place in MY Commonwealth – because I don’t just plan on having my business here, I plan on living my life here. Maybe our campaign should be “Make OUR Commonwealth YOUR Commonwealth” instead of “Building a Better…” one? I’m think mine is pretty “better” already.