Lindsay Topmiller – College of Arts & Sciences
College is an era of self-discovery. A time to find who you are as an individual and identify that with who you could be as a professional. Too many are under the impression that college is the process of simply becoming better at what you think you’re already good at. But so many more factors should come into play when deciding which major to pick.
Understandably, it is risky to go for what you’re simply passionate about in this economy. However, people underestimate how much job security depends on whether or not you will like what you’re doing down the road and whether or not you as a person will fit into that professional position for the long hall. When you follow a career path solely because you think you have the skill set for it, then you’ll always be working a job, rather than developing a career.
I met two businessmen recently. Both about the same age now, in their twenties. One of them, a business graduate from Anderson, told me about a restaurant business he started in April of 2012.
He also told me, “To this day, I feel like I made the wrong choice.”
Not long after opening the place, he sold it and now plans on training to be a pilot in the Air Force.
The other young man was unable to launch a smoothie shop here in Albuquerque only because he lost his location to another company.
He told me, “Now that I look back on it, I’m really glad it didn’t work out.” He is now a highly successful entrepreneur who has built many businesses.
Jayar Beroncal was the name of the first man, and his restaurant was called Filipino Kitchen located in Nob Hill. He chose to leave his previous job as a weapons development buyer for the United States government and risk it all to start up the business. It made sense to embark on such an endeavor, because he excelled in business school and quickly grew into a capable business leader.
In 2011, Beroncal was the fund-raising chair and vice president of a social fraternity at UNM. He also joined a business fraternity for a while. Double majoring in human resources and marketing, Beroncal made the effort to participate in business programs and seminars offered by Anderson. He eventually became an officer for a contract management association at Anderson, which led to his job in weapons development.
Beroncal told me he loved that job. He loved what he did and said that the benefits tied to the position ensured future job security. I could see the unannounced regret on his face the minute he confessed that he decided to leave it to launch a restaurant. Not that he regretted the accomplishment or all that he had learned from the experience, but he did make it clear that if he were to do things differently, he would not have left his previous job to do something he wound up disliking.
“When I opened, I was literally sleeping about four hours a day, for months. I did not like that, even though I was told that was going to happen. Just then I figured out: okay, do I really want to be cutting tomatoes for three years in the middle of the night, or could I be doing something else. I mean yes, the benefits would come way later. But I’m too young for this. My maturity level is probably not where it would need to be to run this restaurant. I could be doing something else. I could be selling weapons for the Air Force,” Beroncal said.
Later that year, Beroncal decided to sell his restaurant. He inquired about his old job, but they were unable to return it to him. Then somebody mentioned the possibility of being a pilot – something he had always wanted to do.
There are no negative remarks to be made about Beroncal’s decisions. How many of us can say we owned a business right after graduation? He tried something difficult and succeeded.
And it was that effort and experience where he learned what he did and did not want in his professional life. Beroncal is still in his twenties and is further along on the road to self-discovery than most his age. His story teaches us that one’s skill set, as far as a degree goes, does not always layout the appropriate and fitting future for us. Personality and values must be considered in the career analysis process because you may find yourself doing something you hate even though you are completely competent at it. Eventually, you’ll burn out and the money won’t be worth it.
Caleb Koke, the entrepreneur, created a business plan and had investors for a local smoothie shop before he graduated high school. He too had a very impressive resume for the world of business. However, he was unable to launch the shop because he lost his location to another company.
But he explained that he’s glad fate prevented him from being a small business owner. He said he knows he wouldn’t have had the patience, personality or lifestyle that goes along with being in that style of business operation because he is far too outgoing, ambitious and adventuresome. As a serial entrepreneur today, who is in the business of not doing the same thing day after day, Koke thrives on the thrills of quick startups and building and selling within a variety of industries and managements styles.
There was another activity that helped Koke figure out what professional path to take. He followed and shadowed those who have been successful in a variety of businesses and industries. He observed them and asked questions about their lives. Through that, he was able to pair up his own personality with those of certain business leaders and the lifestyle with that of certain industries. In the end, they matter more than money.
I think this statement about how Koke views himself sums up where he fits in the world of business: “A lot of people think I’m just a straight business man, an entrepreneur. But really I think of myself as an artist. I try to express my art and creativity through difference businesses. I’m trying to innovate the future in my industry.”
Creativity. Innovation. Originality. Art. Expression. These are characteristics that describe Koke and have the largest impact on which professional path he took. He had the skills and intellect for small business, but the other important qualities that make up a person affected what KIND of business, or businesses, he would embark upon, cultivate and develop.
Find the Self Discovery Diamond article for a good visual reference on the four things that create your professional person.