We’ve all seen or heard the vague references to “New Ventures” regarding someone’s departure from a desirable position and organization. It seems to be accepted code by the briefcase set that it wasn’t by choice, especially one of those hasty departures involving security guards. Nope, “New Ventures” tends to mean someone got canned for reasons not likely to be discussed in anything above a hushed whisper in the break room or a back office.
So who in their right mind, you might ask, would willingly walk away from a killer job with a good salary, great travel opportunities and other tremendous perks? Who would step out to an economy with nearly 8% unemployment without the benefit of a new position awaiting them? Me, I guess… but please let me explain.
I’ve worked for VisitPittsburgh recruiting meetings and conventions to one of the greenest buildings on the planet, in the most underrated city in the U.S. I’ve hosted Industry CEOs, Executives of International Organizations and hundreds of other movers and shakers looking to book conventions or host their company meeting in the city. I’ve shown them the best luxury suites and restaurants in Pittsburgh, attended cultural and sporting events while they’re in town and I have loved every minute.
Ok, well not every minute, but considering the recent global economic turmoil, I could have done much, much worse for myself. I am truly grateful for the breaks I’ve been granted in this life and good salary, but after a long evaluation of my current state of being, call it a midlife crisis if you will, I’ve determined that I can and should do more.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m perfectly content in my modest home, not owning a yacht or a McMansion. I’m actually pretty proud of the 200,000 miles on my truck, finding my attire on the clearance rack, and my exceptional crock-pot culinary skills.
No, what I’m striving for is not material possession but relief from what I can only describe as survivor’s guilt. At 49 I’ve watched a young generation of American workers suffer through 13-20% unemployment and confidence shattering underemployment. Our political leaders have squabbled about the best path forward while asking vast numbers of young people to put their hopes and dreams and lives on hold while they try to score political points. I no longer think that is acceptable let alone a “New Normal” and I refuse to be complicit in the diminishment of these young lives.
So my plan is to build a business, a manufacturing business here in Pittsburgh, around a product and a brand that has never existed before and hire some of those young workers. I couldn’t be more thrilled with that prospect, whether I and they succeed or fail, I will have tried something. So yeah, I’m departing my perfectly great job at VisitPittsburgh in a few weeks to pursue “New Ventures” and I can tell you without a doubt I don’t plan to discuss it in hushed whispers in back offices. No, I plan to scream that from the rooftops, especially those many garden rooftops around this city.