Sunday, July 15, 2007

Balancing Success With Significance

At various junctures in our lives, we often kid each other about the "big 30,40,50,or 60" and once you get past the 60 maybe you start thinking that I hope I can be around to get kidded about the ones that come after that.

In terms of the world in which I work, the average age of an ExecuNet member is just a tad under fifty, so it is no surprise that many of the members we talk with on a daily basis express a fair amount of feelings on the topic of this post.

We all have often heard our friends (and ourselves?) talk about "giving back." Maybe this is driven by the realization that one has arrived at what is euphemistically called "mid life"? It is probably a combination of a lot of factors, who knows, but few who are in this age group can deny that they don't think about it.

Armed with the foregoing, it probably should not be a surprise that a recent survey by Money Magazine and found that the number one job for individuals over the age of 50 was nonprofit executive. Our own survey data which came from our 2007 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report also showed a substantial amount of interest in the NFP world as well with 47.4% of the members indicating that they were considering or might consider careers in Nonprofit/Govt./Education.

Just because I have had a "successful" career in or out of corporate America doesn't by any means suggest that at the end of that road that I feel totally comfortable about where I would rate myself on the scales of what I've been fortunate to get versus what I have given back.

There is certainly no shortage of problems to solve or people in need. While it certainly isn't too late for any of us to think about giving back, having reached that "mid-life" juncture, I have to say that I'm not feeling so great at not having started sooner thinking more about the difference between success and significance.

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