As a college senior (sort of, see below), I find myself at a crossroads of career and self identity. I am fortunate to have a few different career options in different fields open to me. Some of the options are corporate and some are startup flavored. Some pay a lot and some pay a little.
My friends and family who knew me before this moment will view me separately from my decision. People who I meet afterwards, will judge me based largely on my decision. It will define me for at least a few years to some people.
Before I make my decision, I want to define myself by some other criteria. I have decided to measure my life by:
(1) a willingness to take calculated risks (see my quote to live by)
(2) choosing the industry and company I want to work in because I believe in the underlying goals of the industry / company
(3) focusing on the inputs (skills, work ethic, risk taking) of my career instead of the output (money, recognition, awards)
(4) staying humble in victory and graceful in defeat
(5) always being exposed to new challenges and people
(6) selecting a career path that will allow me to support a family by the time I have one in my 30’s
(7) prioritizing my self-respect and the opinions of the people closest to me while ignoring the impression I make on strangers
(8) ignoring external validation and all forms of solely conspicuous consumption
(9) keeping a large social circle including people with diverse beliefs, ages and who work in different industries
(10) loyalty to family, friends and colleagues and to not judge them by anything I would not want to be judged by
I am fairly certain about the choice I am going to make. However, it would undermine this post to mention my choice here. Currently, I took off my last semester of college. I was pursing a second major in information systems and a minor in statistics. Instead, I am coding and selling my first product and self teaching as much as I can about technology. I am working on a couple of other projects which include managing DJ’s and trying to learn about machine learning.
When people ask me what I do, I just tell them I am unemployed. This ties my identity to my principles and not my career and will hopefully help me keep the two somewhat separate. I want the freedom to take risks for ideas I believe in. The world will probably give me a mixture of failures and successes, but my self identity will not rise to self delusional heights nor will it fall to depressing lows.