September 8, 2015

A millenial trapped in a Gen Xer?

It is not easy to look back and self-assess one's career and progression. It is even harder - in particular in countries/societies that are rather traditional when it comes to what is considered "right" (college degree - job - wife - mortgage - kids = stability) - to take a detour in your career as you grow older. People, in particular those from older generations than mine, tend not to understand the rationale and motivations to abandon the "right" path.

It is obvious to me that such decisions are, to some extent, driven by your personal circumstances. If you have no financial (mortgage, student loans) and/or personal (spouse, partner, kids, sick relatives, etc.) obligations, there is more room to take chances and risks that otherwise you wouldn't. And a bit of common sense is always appreciated, as in any other area.

I can speak about all this based on my own experience. In my mid-late twenties I left a promising career as an attorney at one of the main global law firms to switch paths and to go on the once-in-a-lifetime experience of studying a top full-time MBA and living in New York. Now in my mid-late thirties I have quit a stable, very well paying job at a top firm, to (at least try to) pursue a career in technology/startups, and to even explore launching my own business. It is that time of my life where I need to feel passionate about what I do, experience a feeling of belonging and enjoy doing whatever it is that I do. For me, now is the right time. It is probably the only time in my life so far where my personal circumstances, my aspirations and my degree of risk aversion (whatever that is) are aligned.

Kleiner Perkins' view on millenials
Call it wishful thinking, call it dissatisfaction, call it not settling for just money... or simply call me a millenial in the body of a (late) Generation X guy. From a values standpoint, I feel much closer to the former than to the later (for whom the future is gloomy, according to Bloomberg), maybe I should have been born just a few years later...

Over the last 4 years I have continued following closely, becoming increasingly acquainted and further embracing my passion for technology and the startup scene (as I predicted in a post in 2011, I have for the most part been monitoring all this activity via Twitter instead of by blogging). All this has led me to work hard - reading, networking, interviewing... - to give one last try at making a professional move into such space.

A few months ago I signed an offer to join a great NY startup. All seemed to be ok until US Immigration Services came my way by denying a work visa - it is no relief (it is actually quite sad), though, to see that a lot of people in the startup world are facing similar issues in the U.S.. This is one for the next president to address.

This is the somewhat uncertain situation where I stand now, yet more energized, committed and optimistic than ever before.

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