About 18 months ago, I turned down a well-paying opportunity with a Fortune 10 company to work for a small (but growing) consulting firm in Cincinnati called AMEND. Most friends and family labeled it an immature, impulsive decision. 18 months later, AMEND continues to prove them wrong.
Why did I choose to work for a small business?
At first glance, the question above seems simple enough to have a simple answer. When first posed almost a year and a half ago, my response echoed the answer most young professionals would give as they start any new job: good pay, work sounds interesting enough, the people seemed decent, blah blah blah. The typical response when you choose a job with no real reason.
But now, ask me again, and my answer is not nearly so simple. The question is no longer why I chose to work for a small business, but why I continue to come back semester after semester.
Why did I choose to come back to AMEND?
This question can be answered in one word: purpose. News sources like Entrepreneur Magazine, Deloitte, and Forbes have highlighted the momentous shift taking place in the marketplace as millennials shift toward purposeful careers, and my path has followed a similar trend. Having worked for a Fortune 10 company and having interviewed with several others, I learned quickly I would rather eat ramen noodles for the rest of my life than sacrifice the why for the best job security in the world.
At AMEND, I have a purpose. I create value, am valued, and make a tangible impact on our business and the businesses of our clients on a daily basis. I’ve redesigned a 30,000 square foot facility, restructured countless organizational charts, built tools rivaling ERP systems, saved dozens of jobs, set client strategic visions, worked almost daily with C-level executives, and helped add millions of dollars to our clients’ bottom line. And I’m just an analyst.
Talk about value and purpose.
In the end, the “complex” answer really was pretty simple after all. It was never about the money, and it wasn’t even always about the work itself. The reason I continue to come back to a small, Cincinnati company called AMEND is because of the why, not the how or what. Every day we get to use our God-given talents to make a difference in the lives of others.
What else could I ask for in a career?
Corporate America is selling the how and what to millennials when they should be selling the why. Small businesses, like AMEND, are selling the why, and they are looking for people just like you to join them. Thus, I challenge you to really start thinking about the purpose behind whatever it is you do.
Do you even know the purpose? Is the purpose worth working for? Are you valued, and do you create value? Do you really know the ends your means are working towards? Can you go to sleep each night knowing you made a difference?
At AMEND, Albert Einstein greets us each morning with this quote on the wall: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” Traditional definitions of success just aren’t as appealing to young talent as they were to the Baby Boomers, and corporations are grasping at straws to fill the gap. Meanwhile, small businesses are thriving on it.
18 months ago, I turned down an offer from a Fortune 10 company because I couldn’t see any purpose in my work. 18 months later, purpose drives everything I do at AMEND, and that, my friends, has made all the difference.