I value a lot of things over money. I always have.
When I was four years old, I traded the contents of my piggy bank for a pile of gimp (you remember? the plastic string crap). If that’s not the tell-tale sign of a failed negotiation, I’m not sure what is. My parents were pissed.
Luckily, I’ve become a lot more savvy and entrepreneurial since I was four years old. I see opportunities for upside and am significantly more capable to capitalizing on them. It’s safe to say, I’m no longer trading in all my cash for the raw materials of a plastic bracelet.
But that doesn’t change the fact that this story tells you an important part of who I am.
In late 2017, I ignored this fact and decided I no longer wanted to work at a corporate job. I was unfulfilled and exhausted. So for the next 18 months, I took a detour down a long side-street called Entrepreneurship Blvd.
Like most people in my generation, I thought going out “on my own” would solve all of my biggest problems. And the truth is: it did solve a number of them, but it also created a bunch of new problems.
In this process, I realized our collective view of entrepreneurship is convoluted at best, delusional at worst. Most people, like myself, are focused on the ends, not the means.
The cultural conversation shows we shouldn’t blame people like me for thinking this way. The benefits of working for a large conglomerate are evaporating. Companies are treating their employees as replaceable, under-employing and underpaying them. Pensions are a relic of the past and, since 2008, 401Ks don’t even seem reliable.
The labor economy is evolving. There is growing distrust in big business. Our lives are filled with incessant distraction, what psychologist Meg Jay has deemed “the opiate of the masses.”
Plus, the money-making potential in the digital world — from drop-shipping scooters to building apps — seems endless. And Mark Zuckerberg’s story made every kid with a computer thing they can be worth a billion dollars by 23.
On the back of that, our culture has sold this dream — of traveling the world, taking meetings, closing deals by the pool, and throwing cash. Without…