5.03.2007

Do-Gooding in Your Thirties

I got a nice email this week from my former college advisor, with whom
I enjoyed a wonderful relationship while at Penn and with whom I've
been able to keep in touch with since. He was the only Penn person I
met with when I visited Penn my senior year in high school, and his
warm and welcoming spirit was one of the bigger reasons for coming all
the way from California to Penn way back when.

One thing I appreciated about my college advisor was his willingness
to help me synthesize my Wharton experience with my desire to do good
in the world. He even encouraged me to write my senior thesis on the
integration of Christian discipleship and business, and often had me
come back to speak to his students about my inner-city non-profit
work.

So it was nice to hear from him this week, nicer still to know that
while I don't work for that non-profit anymore, I'm still trying to
bring together my faith and my vocation. My employer, though a
for-profit, has become a vehicle for me to both explore and utilize my
strengths in such topics of importance and interest as urban economic
development, minority entrepreneurship, and the nexus of the public
and private sectors. Plus I've been able to contribute to other
social causes via non-profit boards, church leadership, and political
campaigns.

It's hard to be a do-gooder when your job is demanding, and you have a
wife and kids to invest in, and you lack the physical bounce-back you
had in your twenties. But I guess there's still some do-gooding left
in this thirtysomething guy.

I remember when I turned twenty, thinking to myself that when I turned
thirty, God would be the same God, and even if I had changed, I could
still rely on Him and follow Him with all I had without regret or
hesitance. I remembered that thought when I turned thirty, and
reminded myself that when I turned forty, God would still be God and I
could still be a do-gooder for His sake. I hope to get to forty and
to be able to say I am living that out, and that I'll still be raring
to do the same when I'm fifty and sixty and seventy and eighty.
Because no matter the age, there is always a way to mix your work with
your values.

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