Lately finding a job has been my main thought. I go to my internship at foursquare everyday and i am working with 60 other people that have full-time jobs with health insurance benefits and annual salaries. I commute daily with hundreds of people who will be traveling for much longer than the 2 months I’m experiencing. One of my housemates gained an introductory level advertising job this summer. It makes me think that I need a career, and I need one now.
This foursquare internship has introduced me to a lot of different people and trains of thought that I wasn’t used to. Because foursquare was only created 2 years ago, the founders and creators still work there, and over half of the company is made up of creative and talented engineers, I feel like foursquare has a “I can create my own type of career/destiny” mentality. And I think these people are absolutely correct. Dennis and Naveen had an idea and they turned it into a reality. The engineers can create different phone apps or websites easily, and their skills would be quickly picked up by other start-up web company if they chose to leave foursquare. Everyone else at the company left another job to work for this small, up and coming start-up where they would actually have a valued opinion in the development of the company.
I’m happy I’ve had this experience and I would be totally willing to work for another start-up company in the future. In some ways it is refreshing to work with these people. In other ways though I find it extremely daunting and intimidating. I thought I was into technology and Social Networking, but these people know about all of the latest phone apps and social websites. I am fresh out of college at a small state school. These people all went to private well known Universities and have impressive resumes at well known companies. (At least 1/3rd of foursquare worked at Google at some point) I feel like everyone has their own ideas that they think are valuable. They see every new idea as an innovation, a possible invention, a possible future start-up company or phone app. I have heard people in the office start sentences with statements like “If i had the balls to start my own start-up….”
That is not the lifestyle most people grow up with. We think we can work hard and someone will hire us based on our work ethic and responsibility. Hopefully we can find a job that we like with an understanding boss and decent vacation time. People at foursquare do not wish for things to happen, they make things happen. Dennis and Naveen became their own bosses. I think several of foursquare’s employees will go on to do bigger and better things on their own time with their own agenda.
Now I look at myself. I thought about applying to a Community Development position at Meetup.com yesterday. I think Iwould be good at the position if I got the job, but I don’t think I have the qualifications or the gumption to actually get that job. I know many people say “you never know until you try”, and I believe that. But today as I was riding the train home I was reading a book called “Relentless Pursuit” about what life is like in the Teach for American program. Just reading about teaching (and this book talks a LOT about the difficulties and problems of teaching) reminded me of how much I enjoyed teaching. I did not feel intimidated or out of place. I felt welcomed, talented and important; even when students wanted me to feel like crap.
I believe that I too am an innovator like the people at foursquare. But I don’t look a the world and thing “what can I do to make social media easier for individuals?” or “what can I do for MTV to make foursquare valuable to their marketing strategy?” I look at cool non-profit organizations and think “How could I as a teacher get my kids involved in this as a part of our classwork?” or “How can I incorporate technology skills in the classroom without it being a useless waste of time?” At foursquare I often feel stuck. When I am in the classroom I feel great, and when I am out of the classroom I love to think about what I can do in the classroom.
Foursquare has given me an awesome opportunity to see that I don’t have to follow the beat and path, I can create something new. But I also have to remember that what I truly want to do is something that is unfortunately still in the prehistoric days when it comes to the hiring process. I think I just need to be true to myself and I need to remember that although I might not immediately get a teaching job, it is what I want to do and I should wait it out to make sure that I get to do what I truly enjoy. And when I finally do get a job I will keep that foursquare mentality in the back of my mind and remember that innovation is not just for start-up companies.