As a child, I always assumed that by the time I reached 30, I would have experienced financial success, traveled the world several times over, and established fame and notoriety. Early in adulthood, I discovered that life often alters the path to those childhood fantasies. I quickly learned that I had to redefine success as it meant to me as an adult.
Perhaps success is sweeter when the road less traveled is taken. I may never know for certain. However, I do know that success is possible through hard work, and relentless determination. It is also more about what you gain from experiences along the way than what you do when you finally succeed.
As a college freshman, my world was turned upside-down with the news that I was going to be a father with my girlfriend of three months. Due to our dire financial conditions (and my lack of life experience), my knee-jerk reaction was to quit school and focus on work. My daughter’s mother and I eventually made the difficult decision to raise our child separately. I was more than happy to take care of my financial obligation, if only for the health and welfare of my daughter. I was determined to fulfill my obligation as a father. I knew that I wanted more for myself, and my child, than a career in restaurant management. It was time to finally obtain a degree, and begin a new chapter of my life.
I became consumed with work. It was a struggle to find the time to complete my engineering projects, work full time, study, and spend quality time with my daughter. I found it difficult to provide the quality of attention that my daughter needed in the few precious hours that I had with her every weekend. Even though I knew it was important, my mind was always racing to the next task at hand, always pertaining to work or school. Eventually I struck a balance between work and parenthood, but it was a rough process.
I toiled through three long, sleep-deprived years until I finally reached graduation. Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t have been worse; computer engineers were no longer a hot commodity. I would have started my new career with a wage that was little more than I made in food service.
As a man of integrity, I was not afraid of hard work. In less than two years, I tackled issues that had plagued the company for nearly a decade. The numerous projects I was given all had due dates that had passed weeks before being assigned. Again, I found myself back in the cycle of working extremely long hours, and putting all of my energy into my duties. My efforts paid off, handsomely.
Hard work and determination are the forces that drive me to succeed. I put my all into everything I attempt. Even if it fails, I will still have learned something from the experience. This is certainly better than learning nothing.
After all of this, why would I start an MBA program while working full time? I guess I am a glutton for punishment.