The current economic climate has affected many students financially and emotionally. Because numerous students focus exclusively on financial security, they pursue careers they think will provide financial cushion, rather than careers they are passionate about.
At the Marshall School of Business, many students think the most successful people at their school are those who get offers from investment banks, not those who have an excellent overall college experience.
I’m very happy for those who pursue investment banking if they are passionate about their chosen career. Unfortunately, many of them simply go into that career path because of the perception of “big bucks,” and plan to get out of their career as soon as they make enough money.
As a whole, many in our generation seem to be more focused on monetary compensation and not what they truly want for their lives.
As a teenager, I thought I was on the road to success; I was awarded a franchise from a major restaurant chain and found great success at a young age. I was very happy at the beginning because I was making six figures, driving a posh car and buying designer clothes without asking my parents for any money.
Soon, my addiction to money began to take a toll on my life. I came to think that life was all about becoming a millionaire, and would judge people based on their net worth rather than their character.
I began to work longer hours to make more money — I even ended up skipping my brother’s graduation. As a result, my personal relationships were almost destroyed.
Money took over my life, while my feelings and passions were no longer part of me. The situation was intensified in the microscope of Los Angeles where I was surrounded by people who believed that superficial pursuits are the only important ones.
My life changed when I went to a restaurant and saw one of my classmates who struggled financially but looked so much happier than I felt; I was just a money-making robot with no feelings.
I recently asked Emilio Diez-Barroso, a member of the board of directors at Summit Entertainment about his definition of success. He didn’t say that it could be defined as making more money. Instead, he said that for him success means having “the moment of miracle” or self-discovery. I couldn’t believe that one of the world’s most influential and successful business leaders defines success as having time for self-discovery.
After graduating from college, he joined his family’s Televisa and Univision empire, but he left the empire to follow his passion. The result: Not only is he successful in the business world but also has fulfilling personal relationships.
The biggest mistake we make is letting money become who we are. Unconsciously, we make many decisions based on how much we have, not who we have become. Making less money doesn’t mean one should feel powerless and unhappy. If we let money define every aspect of ourselves, we will never have true happiness.
In less than a month, the graduating class of 2010 will go into the real world, but many are uneasy about their future.
We should look back and remember the day we got the acceptance letter to ’SC? We felt we owned the whole world and knew what our dreams and passions were. Where are your dreams and passions now?
They’re trying to survive somewhere in ourselves, but we could be neglecting them while stressing ourselves over future financial prosperity. Instead, we should take a step back to reacquaint ourselves with the importance of our ambitions.
Our passions might not give us financial security, but our names are not money; we are human beings whose passions and dreams define who we are.
Perry Jhang is a junior majoring in business administration.