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"What comes after achieving security?"
Vivian's story, part 1/2
“Early on, my North Star was getting a life-long professional job that would provide security. My parents were immigrants, and this was the mindset they gave me. Mine was a conventional path: high school, college, and law school followed by a job working on commercial real estate transactions for a major national firm.
As a lawyer you only see the last 10% of the deal. After five years on the job, I wanted to see the decision-making that leads up to it. I was curious about how businesses operate on the inside. I was also considering how to balance my career with finding a partner and raising a family. I sought more predictability in my schedule.
So I started talking to lawyers who worked for businesses rather than law firms. This is a strategy I use whenever I’m unsure – I reach out to people and ask questions. In the end, I became in-house counsel for the Business Development Bank of Canada. Its mission is to support entrepreneurs. I helped craft policies that fulfill its mandate while also protecting the bank. The hours were more regular, allowing time for my interests and personal goals.
‘What comes after security?’ asked a voice inside my head. I had worked hard to check the boxes, and I had a nice life. Still, the law can feel limiting at times, so I wondered: ‘What else I can I do with the next 30 years of my life?’ In the end, I did what I always do – I talked to a lot of people. Entrepreneurship was having its heyday then, with many podcasts on the topic, and I looked for ways to get involved.
I hung up my shingle as an advisor to entrepreneurs, which was a big transition for me. I had no schooling to prepare me for this and no certificate to give me legitimacy. My parents didn’t get why I would abandon a secure legal career for this. Yet I got clients by word of mouth and loved helping entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life. I especially enjoyed thinking through financing options.
What I didn’t expect was that 6 months later, my friend Anna would approach me about starting a linen home goods company. Or that I would join her in this new adventure, severing ties with my educational background and professional experience, and the security they represented.”
Have you ever wondered what lies beyond the ‘safe’ path? If a secure income were guaranteed, what would you take a chance on? Tell us in the comments.