We have a huge problem. A lot of huge problems, actually, the world is full of them. Climate change, poverty, unemployment, bad drinking water, bad politicians, malaria, obesity, cancer, animal abuse, traffic, affordable housing, air quality, poaching, disaster preparedness, the plight of the pandas, the list goes on and on. There is an endless stream of problems to be solved in this world. But the problem I care about the most, the one that causes me to soapbox in the car or at the bar or interrupts my zen bathtime, is the problem of you: You are not living up to your potential.
We need passionate, committed people to solve these problems. We need you to stand up, like Gary Gilliland, the President of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and declare that you will solve this problem, and will solve it in 10 years or less. We need you to be one of these people.
The time you spend sitting at that desk, staring at that computer, wasting your time, wasting your energy on activities that do not matter, is time that the world needs you to be dedicating to solving our problems. These problems affect you, and me, and all of the people around us, and what we need are people with the skills, the commitment, the knowledge, the care, to set about applying themselves and solving them.
You are full of excuses. There isn't time, or you don't have the energy. Or you'd have to go back to school and start all over, or you're close to retirement so maybe you'll volunteer then. Or maybe you have kids and your friends and you worry that if you had one of Those Jobs you'd be gone a lot more. Or maybe you worry about the money. But these are excuses, because you don't actually know that you can't do these things and have these things and make a difference at the same time unless you try. And I think you'll be surprised that when your work is actually effective, your energy and priorities might even shift. There is no caffeine boost like the high of knowing you make an impact. You can be making change.
You are mostly pushing little digital bits and bytes around, attending meetings, just showing up, part of a large process of bureaucracy that makes companies move and stockholders happy, but for what purpose? Will things be different because of the time you spend at work when you look back in 6 months, 2 years, 10 years? You spend more than 2,000 hours at work every year (some of us much more in fact), and how much of that really makes a difference? Solves a real problem? You have more time than you think.
You are wasting your potential and I won't have it anymore, because we need you. The world can not afford to have you sitting there, letting the hours tick by, leaving you with that feeling of being rather useless when 5 pm and Friday come around. We need you putting in your part to reducing emissions, curing addiction, engineering safer cars, protecting the albatross, or supporting indigenous community development. You have skills these problems (and more!) need, so put them to use, please.
Where do you start? Start where you are, with what you have. What problems affect you? What are the issues in your community, that you experience in your life? Learn about that problem. Investigate it. Why is it a problem? What contributes to it? What is there too much of, or not enough of? Break the problem down into small pieces. Ask why again. Look for the pieces that make you say, "Well I can do something about that." Look for organizations doing great work on these problems. Do they need help? With what? Ask. Do you need more skills to be able to make a difference? Then learn. You are not a rock, stuck in the dirt, you are a human. Surrounded by a big wide beautiful world of other beautiful and pained people, struggling every day to do work that matters. Do your part. We need you.
Need help? Book in a career strategy call with me here.