It’s 9:00pm in San Diego when I start this. It’s 12:00pm in China. It’s 5:00am in London. It’s 8:00am in Dubai and Russia. It’s 9:30am in India. (Please forgive what I’m certain are minor fluctuations in those time zones.)
I’ve spent most of the day thinking about my classmates. Thinking about the journey we’re about to embark on. Wondering how our lives are going to change from the connections we will make and from the experiences we will be afforded. Imagining the businesses we’re going to create and lives we’re going to impact.
I’ve spent most of the day thinking about my classmates. Which is somewhat ironic since I was laid off about 12 hours ago from Callaway Golf. For a multitude of reasons, the company is restructuring in a major way in attempt to combat a saturated domestic industry, a flawed business model and the pains of being middle-sized in an ever-increasing “big boys” industry. With our CEO and multiple VPs handed pink slips, I know I shouldn’t take it personally. But that’s just not how I’m hardwired. Never having been in this situation before, I would have thought my sights would be set squarely on me right now. How could I not be part of a long-term plan for my company? Did I really just commit four years of my life for this kind of exit? What is next? What interviews can I line up? Where should I live? What challenges await? Can I regain a sense of normalcy?
Rest assured those thoughts are pervasive in my head. I wouldn’t be honest if I said otherwise. For someone who has always prided himself on being a strategic visionary, a workaholic and driven to a fault, today was a kick in the gut. Plain and simple.
But I gave myself the afternoon to be upset. OK. Actually I was angry, disappointed and hurt.
Now it’s time to move on.
And I find myself increasingly able to do that thanks in large part to you. To this program. To the exciting present and opportunity-filled future that lies ahead.
I started penning this with a renewed sense of perspective. I’m always surprised by the fact that it often takes moments of adversity or pain to shock my system into recognizing what’s truly important. That shouldn’t be necessary. I should see the forest through the trees. But alas, that’s easier said than done at times. Perhaps that’s why I’m so eager to get going in the Cross Continent program. While of course I’m ready to tackle the abundance of coursework meant to elevate our thinking and challenge our ideals, I must admit that I’m most looking forward to the bonds we’re going to forge. To the new ventures we’re going to conjure up. To the forum of thoughtful and innovative excellence to which I can only hope to contribute.
In my former life, I wouldn’t have dreamed of opening up to a couple hundred people I barely knew with thoughts like this. For some reason, however, you don’t seem like strangers at all. I know the CCMBA for me is about growth. No time like the present to start.
I’m reminded of a quote by President Jimmy Carter:
It’s not necessary to fear the prospect of failure but to be determined not to fail.
I can’t wait to meet everyone in Shanghai. I can’t wait to get started on the next chapter. Thanks in advance for playing a part in the story we’re going to author together.
Sorry to hear about your recent frustrations, but at the same time you are now opening the door to new potential, and given what’s happened, you are entering that with a chance to have an open mind also, while also having some experience. In a way, this is a great position to be in. So, no need to dwell on what was. Enjoy the MBA, get as much out of it as you can, and stay optimistic.
What the MBA has to offer will give you what many others have benefited from also. But there’s more than that, for those who want it, and are up for it. You don’t have to change the world in the next 2 years, but you will have a chance to change yourself (without losing who you are). I think you’ll like the new you at the end of this (warning: it’ll go quickly).
I look back on my Duke/Fuqua experiences with satisfaction, and realize that several years later, I am still personally benefiting – better ways to ‘think’, greater awareness of others’ perspectives, and a broader mindset (note, I purposely didn’t refer to the usually marketed MBA “benefits” money, knowledge, or network – with work, I think you can expect these from a Duke/Fuqua MBA, but they don’t to be the sole drivers of your aspirations).