Diving in headfirst

Training officially began on Sunday. Although we did have a half day’s worth of activities on Saturday, too. Since we get the Fourth of July off, we’re going 6 days straight, and it is somewhat of a baptism by fire. Along with a bit of an adjustment from a month away from anything remotely resembling rigorous and structured (aka college), and 4 years removed from the grind of an 8 hour day (aka, high school). To be fair, it is more than an 8 hour day because the work/readings/assignments are keeping us busy. But that is definitely exactly what we need since we will (theoretically) be working in a similar environment for the next two years. If not more hectic. 

As mentioned before, we are designing our own websites to represent the VFA brand, giving us a crash course in web building. Interspersed among the hands on learning are lectures, both relevant to our projects (Thanks to Heewa Barfchin and Stuart Schultz) and to our purpose/present/presence/future (fireside chats with Andrew Yang). We’re delving into the aspects of building, maintaining, and fostering relationships while scrambling madly to do that with our peers in real time as well (no, we aren’t socially awkward penguins, but, yes, we are all a bit . Blogging, tweeting, and instagramming were introduced on the first day, but finding the time to do anything that requires longer than 10 minutes of being by yourself is best done either late at night (which it isn’t really, yet) or god awful o’clock in the morning.

In typical topsy-turvy fashion, I guess I’ll end the post with where our process began. Our credo. It was on all our letters of commitments that we put our signatures to when we accepted the Fellowship. And, in typical young adult fashion, we promptly forgot about it until it was brought to our attention again at the beginning of boot-camp. It may seem a bit odd (and vaguely uncomfortable) to subscribe to the notion of a credo (sounds like indoctrination), but isn’t any type of training an indoctrination process of some kind or another?). We have gone through each tenet one by one, but tonight is actually the first time that I’ve given myself (well, actually forced myself to take) the time to contemplate these five sentences and decide whether or not I’m actually in agreement with them. (I won’t keep you in suspense, I actually do wholeheartedly believe in all of them, although I might quibble about exact definitions of vocabulary in some of them and the universal applicability of all of them). 

1) My career is a choice that indicates my values. 

No softballs here. There are reasons to put money first. Some of them valid (family need, etc.). But I am still idealistic enough to believe that the product of your work is by and large an indication of what you value. And in my eyes, money is a byproduct of the work you do, and not a product itself (unless you work for the US Mint or the Federal Reserve). Yes, you need to live comfortably. But can you live well if you doing something for a living that is incongruent with your values? I don’t think I can. I hope I never find out whether I can or not. 

2) There is no courage without risk.

Pretty obvious, right? I almost want to add an addendum though. Something about either intelligent risk or righteous risk. I do not necessarily think that every risk is one worthy of courage. But I’m not sure how to identify which ones are. 

3)  Value creation is how I measure achievement. 

Another one of those sticky definitions. And certainly not universal. So many different types of value and different metrics for achievement. But it is still something I can by and large strive to achieve. Although the Zenny part of me wants to replace Value with Quality. 

4) I will create opportunities for myself and others.

I am far more uncomfortable with the first part of that than the second. Giving back, creating opportunities, and addressing inequalities have become a part of my life. It hasn’t always been that way, but it certainly has from college onward. The creating opportunities for myself bit makes me uncomfortable because I have already been so fortunate to have an incredible number of amazing opportunities already during my relatively short life (this program certainly isn’t the least among them either). It is hard to justify striving for more opportunities when I have already received so much, but the way I move forward with that is with the second part firmly in mind. 

5) I will act with integrity in all things.

Done. Well, maybe not done, but how can you argue with that? No qualms whatsoever. 

Hope this helps me become Fellow #2 to have the credo memorized tomorrow (mad props to Billy Schrero for being the first). 


One thought on “Diving in headfirst

  1. Pingback: Why did I choose Venture for America? | Ovik Banerjee

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