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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


Why Did You Take That Job?

I spent this past weekend with the staff, faculty and students at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. I was a bit tired going into my speaking events there as it came at the end of a very busy week. Immediately, I was refreshed.

Let me tell you what impressed me most. Michael, the Director of Student Development told me that some 80% of the students at SFASU were first generation college students. They came from families where parents or siblings never attended college. He told me how much he loves seeing the trajectory of a young person’s life changed when they’ve graduated.

He mentioned hearing a colleague say once: “Well… We’re no Harvard University.”

Immediately, he responded, “No. But we may be doing a more important work than Harvard.” He went on. “When a student goes to Harvard, they chose that school from a long list of schools they could have attended. They were going to make it wherever they went. At this school,” he continued, “it may make the difference between a job and unemployment, and will likely change the entire direction of that student’s family when they marry.”

“That’s why I’m here.”

It made me think. I was with a group of people who chose to serve in that place because it made a complete difference for students. It also made me ask…

Why do you do what you do?

1. Because of how it looks?
2. Because of what you’ll make?
3. Because of how you feel?

Why did you take your job?


1 Comment

  1. Tim Elmore on November 4, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Tami — Thanks for your comment. I think you are absolutely right, the older we get the more “make a difference” takes on greater meaning. The emerging generation certainly enters the marketplace with an “I want to change the world” perspective, but the sour economy brings an abrupt reality check for many twenty-somethings. Once we enter mid-life, I think Bob Buford was right: Our goal shifts from success to significance. I appreciate your heart and mind.

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Why Did You Take That Job?