The Next Step in a Nonlinear Career

One of the people I most admire in the world is Elon Musk and a really cool thing about him is the insane focus he's had for most of his whole adult life:

"In the case of Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, and PayPal... it really stemmed from when I was in college and trying to think: what would affect the future most likely in a positive way?" Musk said. "So the three areas I was quite sure would be positive were sustainable energy, the internet, and making life multi-planetary."

When I left SolarCity 8 months ago to finish my Master's degree early, I knew it would be impossible for my next company to compare.  Not only did I work with amazing people (mostly) but I actually felt like I was doing my small part to make the world a better place, one home at a time.

After graduating I looked at Business Analyst-type jobs available but they didn't really excite me that much; yeah I'd be doing interesting work and making good money but at the end of the day, what was I actually going to accomplish? Save X company Y amount of dollars through process improvements or data analysis insights that would it more money?  I knew I couldn't just do that.

So I had my own Musk-type moment and thought about what I could do to most affect the world in a positive way and came up with my own list of three things:  sustainability/renewable energy, medicine and education.  I had already hit most of my goals on the sustainability/renewable energy front with SolarCity and I think the 'medical school' ship has long since sailed for me, so I looked harder back into education.

I always thought I would end up in front of a classroom at the tail-end of my career but honestly I was more concerned with making more money and earning prestige early on.  But having a couple months off to think deeper, I realized having a career that was challenging, rewarding and fulfilling was much more important to me.  The one constant in my life has always been a love of learning so if I can pass on that love to others that can then go on and impact the world positively themselves, that will have a much bigger impact than I ever could by myself.

Four months ago I joined Teach For America, taught summer school in Tulsa and today started as a math and science teacher at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in Kansas City, Missouri.  Here's to the next step!