A letter to the young’uns

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. — Nelson Henderson

Chris and I at convocation — he was a great sport as my roommate this past year

As I wrote this, I was riding out to a cottage weekend with my Venture for Canada fellows. Staring out the sun-kissed windows at the passing lush green farmland and cloud-brushed bright blue sky, I could only think how darn fortunate I am to have opportunities to enjoy the beauty of Canada. It’s an awesome time in my life as I take the leap from deterministic university life to a more stochastic working life. Jumping into a startup will be exciting as I will have the opportunity to work on something of interest and travel.

The one thing I know for sure in my life at this moment is that I will leave this earth better than it is now for my kids. Yeah, kids. Holy crap. Someone give this guy a chill pill. Gordon, you can’t even keep a stable relationship! I’m 23 and sure as hell will not have kids for about 10 years.

But wait a second, when I’m 40 with kids, a stable income, and less time to live, I do not want to regret that I didn’t start building a better future for my kids when I was younger because now, I’m not going to be able to finish what I started or do everything I want to. So yeah, you know what, I will start now, and maybe I’ll make less or even no money while working in or starting a startup, but I can guarantee you that creating value for others will be worth it. I’ll use my industrial engineering skill set to build up Canada’s wealth alongside my Venture for Canada fellows because if we don’t, Canada will fall further off the international stage (read Mike Katchen’s post on Why Mexicans Don’t Drink Molson), and our kids will look at the same lands and wonder how we became such losers when we had so much to start with.

It may seem like I’m talking at 10,000 feet and it’s hard to actually do this, but for me, it’s pretty simple. I’m looking through career opportunities, and I’m going to be completely frank with myself in terms of what I need and want. I’d love to be mentored into building a great company, but that’s just wishful thinking. I’m confident I have the ability to start and lead a company today, but the only things missing are technical ability and an important problem that I can solve. As I look through my options, picking roles that will allow me to build my technical skills and keeping an open mind to problems are must-dos. More importantly, finding and working with A-players whom I can rely on to help me on my future mission will be the key to better personal development and long-term success.

When you find something worth doing, now’s the time to get it done.

For those wondering how the heck these things got into my head, The Defining Decade by Dr. Meg Jay as well as both Why Mexicans Don’t Drink Molson (I did the free sample here) and Mike Katchen’s thoughts on it are must-reads.

If you thought “Hell YEAH!”, please recommend this post to anyone who might find it helpful and follow me on Twitter!

A bit about me

I’m Gordon, a 23-year-old, fresh industrial engineering grad and a Fellow with Venture for Canada.

A few friends asked me what my plans were in both short and long-term after reading this post, so I decided to share my hopes and dreams here and in a summary below.

TL;DR— I’m looking for work as product manager or junior developer for the next 2 years at a high-growth startup to strengthen my technical skill set. In the longer term, I don’t know what specific type of problems I will solve, but I can be certain they will be something in my everyday environment. Those are the problems I will understand best and bringing new perspectives (e.g. by travelling, working at new places, meeting new people) will help me build solutions that tackle systemic issues.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!