Reflections of A Young Career – Management Essay
Life has had different meanings for me during my thirty years of existence. My developing process as a person found me wanting extraordinary things for my future. I have dreamed about sports, politics, religion, science and arts, as well.
I often feel that every person I have met had some kind of influence on me, no matter how imperceptible this influence seems to be. I have been surrounded by the most diverse people, in terms of culture, origin and personality and I feel they all have molded my character and my attitude towards life. I have been influenced by a wide variety of leaders and after all these years, I have begun to recognize their impact on my life and, at the same time, I am on the way to become one. I am aware of the fact that I am already a leader in several aspects of my daily routine. I am also aware that most of my conscious and unconscious actions have an impact on the people around me. Everything we say, every move we make, every gesture, every sound communicates something, and thus it is impossible to remain unnoticed. One cannot not communicate 1 . That constant feedback exposes us, but also enriches us. We learn that way and we also teach that way. It is a two-way process.
When we realize that everything that comes from us and gets to someone else has some sort of power attached to it, then we start to become leaders. Power is a word with several different meanings and it is sometimes linked to some negative ones. However, I like to use it to explain one of the most important abilities of any given leader: to transcend. We feel empowered every day by people who excel, who go beyond, those who keep us in motion. I admire them for many reasons: their courage, their determination, their passion, but there is one single aspect that I admire the most and that is their vision. I deeply respect them for having the ability to sustain their visions through the most challenging situations. By observing them and paying more attention to the things that seem to drive them in life – especially those things that are far away from the ordinary – I realized that I also have my own vision and it is very powerful indeed. Somewhere in the future, at some point around the age of fifty years old, I see myself as a very respected professor. Teaching or willing to do it has been a passion for me for many years. It will give me the opportunity to become part of some others’ dreams, projects, inventions and I find that notion absolutely fascinating.
I see myself teaching at a very prestigious institution and, as a previous condition to that, I strongly consider the possibility of getting a doctorate degree. I understand the difficulty that this represents, but I am very excited about the idea of spending more time at any given university, living in the kind of environment that really gets the best of me. I understand that a doctorate degree makes anyone a leader in a very specific field of study. A very particular type of leader, indeed. In that sense, my style of leadership, according to Goleman’s classification will be a combination of visionary, coaching, affiliative and democratic 2 . I would like to be a visionary leader to inspire others and propel their own visions. A coaching leader would be important to direct people’s motivation in order to establish concrete goals. Being affiliative, something I will find hard to achieve due to my notorious lack of empathy, will be a key tool to approach the ones who may feel lost or without a tangible plan to follow.
Democratic is a characteristic that I think is very important to gain people’s trust and to create a true team-work atmosphere, necessary to succeed at any level.
Though the idea of a professor is often related to a very serious, polite and sometimes aloof person, I will try to remain friendly and enthusiastic as I think I am at this age. I also see myself, at some point of my career, returning to my country, Argentina. I will return for a handful of reasons, but mainly because I would love to transmit to others what I am learning these days, here in Minnesota. My city, Mendoza, is a place about the size of the Minneapolis Metro Area. It looks like the perfect site for many new projects and some entrepreneurship as well. I often fantasize about putting together an organization there, where I will be able to share my knowledge and expertise with my closest friends and make the ultimate working environment. I am not quite sure what kind of job that will be, but I have the feeling that I will involve lots of planning and long-range thinking as well as a lot of team-work. I do not see myself as a lone researcher or something similar, even though my MBTI Type is INTJ 3 .
Some of my loved ones have already taken their learning experience outside Argentina, in many different places, all around the world. I envision all of us moving on with our plans along with our families. I see myself as a father, even though I am not married yet. I really enjoy being single for the simple fact that it has allowed me to travel around the world, seeking not only comfort, but peace of mind. I know I will get to the point –soon- where I will find my significant other and start my own family life. To transcend as a professor is very important to me, but I am also aware that fatherhood is even more important. I find the idea of watching my own blood grow up to become a unique person and not just another average human being absolutely mind-blowing. Writing is also one of my stronger passions and I have never had the chance to write formally. I have written about trips, plays, concerts and games and found myself enjoying every single word I put on paper, something I hope to do in English also, a very hard task these days.
I would love to see part of my work reflected in a book or in many books. Since I have some sort of obsession with the notion of transcending, I see books as a very effective way of transmitting knowledge from generation to generation. The fact that I chose engineering for my bachelor degree and that I studied electronics for more than four years does not scare me to move in a very different direction. My current job is about engineering, but I do not see that as an obstacle to leave behind in order to focus on a subject that I have discovered since I graduated from college.
Having chosen the MSTM Program is, perhaps, the first step. I already experienced some work environments that were not about technology and I felt thrilled. Interdisciplinary work is something that we are all starting to integrate into our daily routine, whether we like it or not. We live in a very complex world and our working experiences are becoming more and more challenging and for that reason we need more tools. Maybe the most important subject I have learned during the LLL I classes is Emotional Intelligence (E.I.) 4 .
Being able to succeed in the four dimensions 5 of the E.I. appears to be a
very difficult task, but not impossible. This is a part of my vision that has begun with the initiation of this class. I realized that having accomplished those four dimensions and excelling at them is part of that ideal reality that composes my vision. I wish to be in a work environment where these four dimensions can lead me through the most demanding situations. I would like to see my future job, whatever this will be, as a real challenge, not just an excuse to spend some time while I make money from it. I would love to combine these daily tests from my future job with my passions and make some sort of integral life experience, with both together, all the time. We usually forget that there is always a chance to enjoy what we do everyday. It is a choice. It is very peculiar that we, most of the time, opt not to make the choice and see our daily schedule as a painful road. Back in the academic arena, I think I would also enjoy being part of a program’s management, either as director or simply as an advisor. There are many very relevant roles in all universities and I think those positions are a very subtle combination of leadership in many aspects.
Knowledge, expertise, long-term vision, empathy, systems perspective are only a few of that kind of leader’s characteristics. I would also love to have the chance of combining these academic activities with one of my strongest passions, if not the strongest, which is traveling. Trips work on me as boosters that motivate me in all the different aspects of my life and often give me the inspiration to come up with great ideas. In some way, I sometimes feel I need to escape from my day-to-day reality and see things from a very different perspective. In the years to come, it will not be about vacation, at least, not mainly about that, even though as time passes on, I will need more time to rest and relax. I think it will be more about disconnecting from my routine and submerging into new people, places, habits, cultures and ways of life. I have always enjoyed this. It transports me to a state of mind where money and material possessions do not really matter.
It does not matter whether it is a very large city or a small town, a desert or a rain forest, ocean or lake; everything seems to be perfect in that moment. Sometimes it is about the people. Meeting them, getting to know them, understanding them, but sometimes it is not even that. It is just about sightseeing, about the landscapes, the weather and anything else that may be in the surrounding area. It is an absolutely pleasant feeling. It allows me to enjoy things such as nature, life, health or peace of mind in a very profound manner. We are constantly talking about globalization, global markets, world economy, but we do not see the world as a whole. We usually pay too much attention to the fragments and the fact that we are all human and we all live in the same planet makes us much more similar to each other than we realize. I think it is time to start seeing all of ourselves as citizens of the world. It is good to belong to one country and have feelings about it, but we should be more aware of the fact that we should all take responsibility for what is happening in our world and not in one particular nation, as we usually tend to see things.
As part of my vision, I also see myself more involved with my community in the future. It is hard to imagine in what way this may happen, but I feel I will be prepared to give back part of my knowledge and experience. A non-profit organization could be an excellent arena to develop more leadership proficiency and, at the same time, to participate in something beneficial for something as extensive as mankind. I think it is a very important thing to be involved, to be part of and to be a central character in our own living. I want to be able to generate my own excitement. I want to have the main role in my own life’s movie. I do not want to be seen as an extra. Through smart decisions, I want to feel that I am also in the director’s role, leading others to succeed and help bring out the best of them. In other words, I would love to have a life full of variety and intensity. A life that would make a substantial difference and not just an elegant way for seeing years go by.
I would like the majority of my life to be very demanding and a delight at its very end. I want to grow old as a happy person. As my Sage from within once said, “Make sure that when you close your eyes for the very last time, you do not want to go back and change something. Die for what you believe in and believe in what you would die for”.