What I’m Pondering
I remember vividly being an early 20-something year old carrying a fiery passion to change the world with me at all times.
I remember having passionate debates with friends on why we need to care about global poverty! Why we needed to do something to make the world a better place.
I remember being enchanted by my sociology lectures and feeling a heated sense of injustice at the institutional racism which plagued the marginalized populations.
And then I also remember the deadpan, jaded faces of people who did not want to listen. I remember being sat down by my team leaders during a service learning trip to Cambodia, and told that I wasn’t important enough to make a difference.
And then somewhere in the midst of all these memories I turned from an optimistic, sometimes naive, early 20-something year old who wanted to change the world to a sometimes optimistic, sometimes jaded, late 20-something year old who, no matter where I turned, couldn’t seem to find the passion I used to have to do something positive in this world.
I took a job in management consulting which then led me to a mid level role in strategy at an insurance company where I am now. And I love what I do. I love being mentally challenged, working with smart people, being on tight timelines, and seeing my work lead to something tangible. And I love making money, having a savings account, and finally understanding what an RRSP is.
But from time to time I can’t help but think back to who I used to be and feel a little sad so much of her is lost in who I am today.
I tell myself that there is really no way out. The reason I didn’t stick with nonprofit is because they don’t have the resources and often clout to attract top talent and therefore are not equipped to really solve the worlds problems. And selfishly, I like being paid a comfortable amount. I tell myself the reason I didn’t stick with academic research is because it is too slow paced and inaccessible to ever really make a difference. I tell myself the reason I am not in an industry or a company that is committed to making a difference is because at the end of the day, the bottom line is always profit.
But if I’m being real these are all just excuses. Because there are people out there who likely also grapple with these questions on a day to day basis, but still work passionately in a nonprofit, or continue to do their research, and solve problems in the education, healthcare, public sector: spaces that are front and centre in making the lives of people more liveable and better. These people are my heroes. The ones who show up and do a good days work and even if they question the extent of the impact they are making, at least they are doing something. How do they do it?
I gave up. I threw in the towel. I said, since I can’t make a ‘good enough’ difference, I won’t make a difference at all. And I don’t think that is the right attitude. And I wonder what keeps some other world changers, global do-gooders keep their positivity and optimism despite what the world throws at them.