Career Goals and Happiness

Only you can control the balance of your life. You determine your priorities.
— Alex Gregory, President and C.E.O. of YKK Corporation of America

Earlier this week in my Communication for Multinational Corporations class, we had a guest speaker who really resonated with me. That guest speaker was Alex Gregory, President and C.E.O. of YKK Corporation of America. 

Not that I didn't expect to get much out of class that day, because I always learn something valuable each class session, but I didn't expect our guest speaker to say a lot of the things that he did. Here is a man that probably makes a ton of money, who could have easily just given us a generic presentation about his company, and gone about his evening; yet, he didn't. 

Mr. Alex Gregory gave us an excellent presentation that showed us the innovative work his company is carrying out, and he even shared with us his climb to the position he now fills with the company. While all of that was great, to me the most important information he shared with us that night was about happiness. 

Before he got into telling us more about his company, he talked about how important it is to have a good job that is meaningful and has value to you. He touched on the importance of family, friends, and building trusting relationships. He even talked to us about how important it is to balance what is truly important to us along with our careers. All of which equates to gaining and maintaining true happiness. 

Some people reading this might be thinking, "Well, all of that is obvious." And you're right. I believed that all of what he said was true before I met him that day. It's the fact that he even said it at all that affected me so much. 

I've always been more about being happy than having an abundance of money. Money is necessary, yes. In the same breath, it isn't the key motivating factor in why I chose to get a degree in Mass Media or go to grad school. If that was the case I would be doing something completely different right now. Trust me!

For a while I was applying to a ton of jobs that I didn't really want just so I could have more money. Since I'm in grad school, I couldn't get most of the full time positons that I interviewed for because I'm a traditional student. So I currently work a part-time job that doesn't pay much. At first it used to really bum me out, but if I did have full time job I would have missed the opportunity to go to Japan for a week in March. I also wouldn't even be able to consider interning overseas for my summer semester. Now when I think back on it all I'm grateful because there was a reason things turned out the way that they did for me. Now, I just apply for jobs that I know I would love to do and I'm not as disappointed if I don't get it. I trust that everything will fall into place when it's supposed to, the way it's supposed to. 

I want to spend my time learning, and growing. I want to spend my time traveling, understanding why I'm here, meeting interesting people, and living fully. I want to be happy in every sense of the word, without sacrificing that for some job that I'm going to hate after being there for 5 years because of money. I believe fully that with patience, a lot of hard work, and time I will settle in to the life that I see myself having. 

I say all of that to say I'm happy to have heard someone in a position like Mr. Alex Gregory say what he did to my classmates and I. In a world that's consumed by money, instant gratification, and being far removed from what's really important it's easy to get lost. It's conversations like the one we had with the most humble C.E.O. I've ever met that keep me encouraged and motivated.