“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy it can contain.”
— Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Hey Beautiful People —
It’s my first day of work.
The first job after college seems like a big deal. My parents have been calling me for the past few days asking if I felt prepared. I'm sure they must be worried, excited, proud, and most importantly, they finally found a life event of mine that they could relate to and gave advice on.
Nothing else really made sense to them for the past four years.
The fact that I got to double major in two completely irrelevant subjects in college was a shock, that I could wear my sneakers to work and still get paid as an intern was a shock, that I got hired as a designer by strangers without studying design was a shock, that I could get my eggs frozen for free as part of my job offer was a shock, that I could love my work so much was a shock.
Maybe I didn't spend enough time to sit down with them and chat, maybe I was always busy chasing what's next, maybe I didn't really listen. The last time we talked, they still expect a timeline for kids and marriage, they still worry that my ambition will deprive my right to happiness as a woman, and they still believe I'm moving too fast without taking the time to learn the basics.
For the longest time, I had a chip on my shoulder to prove them wrong. It's only after years of doing the work I love and of being surrounded by all the incredible people that I was humbled. I learned to sit at peace with my ambitions, my desires, my irrationalities and madness, and sometimes even looked them into the eyes. They cripple as much as they enable. They mask as much as they clarify. They distract as much as they guide.
We are a generation that seems to lead completely different lives from our parents'. It's too easy to dismiss their advice as irrelevant no more. Have we gotten a second to dissect their intention, it's not hard to understand their fear for my loneliness, my lack of patience, and my unsatiated need to do more. Their advocacy for safety, complacency, and comfort are simply the fundamental needs of humans, and my stubborn denial of these needs reflect my own fear of not reaching self-actualization. There are days that I find that everything my parents have said is right, and it's exactly the safety, complacency, and comfort that really matter, but the next day my restlessness and curiosity get the better of me.
Every generation fights a different battle.
The information age has allowed our generations to play a new set of positive-sum games, and we are armed with a new set of superpowers. We can now carve our own paths because most roadblocks are being slowly taken down. We can now have fluid and multiple selves due to the evolving acceptance of identities. We can have a voice and make direct impact.
With power comes responsibility and woes. The rising high with unwavering self-belief and then falling hard with unrecognized hubris can happen overnight.
We excruciate over uncertainty and ambiguity, and we turn our faces away from serendipity in pursuit of our goals. We have a hard time muting the noises coming from every corner and every device. We have a hard time enduring silence and boredom. We can fall into an abyss when we don't get immediate gratification.
While I may no longer relate to the unglamorous obedience to order, the unreasonable dedication to one profession, and the pace at which things move along, I started to realize there's something to learn from my parents precisely because of our differences. I want to believe that my awareness of these differences will free me from the illusions of our generational myopia and dare to dream better.
Last night, before I went to bed, I once again read this excerpt from Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus":
The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.
You have already grasped that Sisyphus is the absurd hero…. His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing. This is the price that must be paid for the passions of this earth.
If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious. Where would his torture be, indeed, if at every step the hope of succeeding upheld him? The workman of today works everyday in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious. Sisyphus, proletarian of the gods, powerless and rebellious, knows the whole extent of his wretched condition: it is what he thinks of during his descent. The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory. There is no fate that can not be surmounted by scorn.
There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night.
I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
Wish me luck,
I’ve written a bit about careers. Here’s a compilation of some past writings here.
When it comes to making my career decision, I want to be at a place where changes are happening, but a lot is left to be done, and it can be done by me.
When we’re disillusioned, we usually resort to cynicism, confusion, escape, or even anger: “If this is truly the happiness that everyone seeks after, why am I feeling this way?”
✨Some candid career advice (given by my boss)
“Most people in their early 20s prioritize process and productivity over thoughtfulness.”
Do something useful. Do something consistently. Do something fun.
What am I up to next?
I'm incredibly lucky to be joining the wonderful team at NEA in NYC. I will be thinking a lot about the following, and will digging deeper in each of the following since there’s so much nuance.
1/ Where Design provides strong strategic advantage
Capital "D" design here because it embodies a lot more than just how things look. The companies who are able to adopt the design process and system thinking is a lot more resilient to scale.
2/ Skin-in-the-game founders
I believe many businesses fail simply because they just don't fundamentally understand the pain point. The pain point is observed through an imperialist angle. I want to see the victim of a symptom steps up to become the creator of a solution.
3/ Under-served needs plus compelling narratives
This is self explanatory, and comes down to whether this idea have the potential to shape culture and tell stories that can inspire understandings across diverse communities.
The opinion of this newsletter will continue to be my own and will not represent NEA, but if you jam with what I’ll be sharing here, please reach out and chat.
This is what we need on our first day of work…although our generation don’t talk about work no mo, we are here to build our ~ career~
A community is being built to bring together impact-driven thinkers and builders.
Thank you to those who have reached out wanting to chat. I’m taking the time to get to know each person better, and I believe in quality of relationship over quantity.
Reply if you want contribute to this or just want to be friends. I’m looking for individuals who are passionate about defining what the future of this community could look like.
That’s it. 💙✌🏻
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