Don't Look for a Job - Create One
My grandfather, Delbert Karr, had a hard childhood. His father abandoned his mother and him when he was young, and he grew up during the Depression. As a young man, he became an engineer and fought in World War II.
My grandfather, Delbert Karr, had a hard childhood. His father abandoned his mother and him when he was young, and he grew up during the Depression. As a young man, he became an engineer and fought in World War II. He was stationed in Australia and trained in Judo, as were many soldiers on the Pacific front so they could be familiar with Japanese fighting styles in the event of hand-to-hand combat. My grandpa could always take care of himself, no matter what the circumstances. He was smart. He was self-sufficient. He could build anything or kill anyone with his bare hands. (I maybe over exaggerating about that last bit :)
My Grandpa Del is on the far right. Grandma Dorothy is sitting next to him. San Diego, CA circa 1973.
While stationed in Australia, he met my grandmother. She was a looker - tall, skinny, and stacked. When the war was over, they used the money he received from the G.I. Bill to start a mail-order clothing company for women of unusual proportions. My grandmother's abnormal measurements inspired this business venture. They did very well for themselves - inventing, patenting, and manufacturing various innovations within the fields of engineering, textiles, and fashions.
During my junior year of college, Grandpa Del became very ill. He knew he had very little time left, and I could tell he was rushing to say everything that needed to be said before it was too late. One day, as we went for a long walk against the doctor's orders, he told me, "Ashley, I'm going to tell you the two most important things I've learned in my life. First, always stay good lookin'. Exercise, eat right, and take care of your health every day. Second, figure out what it is you want to do, figure out how to make money at it, and do it."
That's it. His message was simple yet profound with some added Golden Era Hollywood pizzaz. As I get older and see more of the world, I marvel at how few people have been given this type of advice from mentors and teachers. An entrepreneurial mindset, where the passion of learning, doing, and creating pulls us forward rather than having the threat of job loss push us, is an incredibly valuable and sadly rare element. I encourage young people to follow my grandfather's advice. Don't look for a job. Create one. Figure out what you want to do - what inspires you, what keeps you up at night, what gets you out of bed early. Once you discover that, ride that wave of inspiration to come up with a way to make money doing that amazing thing. Now, go do it :)