A year ago, I was smack dab in the middle of one of the hardest periods of time in my life. I was dealing with a scary list of challenges and trying to work my way though them in the best way I could.
I’m a list person, so I had them organized into buckets — “Health”, “Personal”, “Work”, etc. Under the work bucket, at the top of my list was wanting to do something more meaningful that made people’s lives measurably better, that was more aligned with my personal values, that was in an environment where I could be authentically me and be surrounded by smart people I could learn from with similar values, have a schedule that fit the constraints I was dealing with, and with a salary that could support paying for living.
I did a deep-dive to research what kinds of existing jobs would fit the bill. I came up with a very, very, very small list of options. Each option that was on that list also had a “Ya, but…” attached to it. For example:
- Great problem to solve, but it’s a not-for-profit or early-stage startup with limited funding, limited jobs available, and lower salaries
- Great problem to solve, but the entire leadership team is a single demographic
- Great culture and diversity, great funding, great salaries, but the problem the team is solving is not clearly understood and defined
- Great problem to solve, but the implemented solution actually makes the problem worse
The frustration I felt coming out of this exercise was not only the catalyst to me starting my own company, Conscious Product Development, but also helped me to realize that this is a much bigger problem than me trying to find work for myself.
Not only are many aspects of our lives in crisis mode — if you actually want to make a difference and contribute your time and energy to making your own life and other people’s lives better, it’s often extremely challenging to figure out a) how to find good problems to solve b) what opportunities currently exist to help you solve these problems c) how to create your own opportunities.
With the brainpower I see being put to use solely to make millions and billions of dollars in revenue in specific markets, especially in the tech space, I refuse to accept that this is…