Last night I received an email from a 27 year old woman in Virginia Beach that really made my day. With her permission, I am sharing that email in full here on the blog, but redacting her identity. Here it is:
You don’t know me, but I just wanted to take a moment and say, thank you. I am a 27 year-old woman living and working in Virginia Beach, VA, with a Civil Engineering degree from Virginia Tech. Up until recently, I have been trying to “find myself” in my career with little success. I always had a feeling that I was “meant to do something” with my career. The problem was that I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do.
Anyway, fast-forward to November 2016, and I decided to start applying to real estate development companies in the area. After all, it seemed like a pretty cool job. I began sending random emails to a few companies to see if they would hire me…. There wasn’t a real position open – I sort of just begged. Through all my random internet searches, I happened to find your blog one day… And to be honest, you have become a great inspiration to me.
I began to love real estate development. Not just normal development, I want to make a difference. I began to feel excited and passionate about a science, a line of work, and an end vision and goal that several people share. I want to build these wonderful, competitive, beautiful, sustainable cities. I want to make our world better and more beautiful one place at a time. I was finally able to find myself through your work, so I thank you. You have helped me to commit to a career switch, be patient with my job hunt, and apply for an MBA program.
Thank you for doing what inspires you because by doing it, you are also inspiring this crazy girl down in Virginia Beach! Keep it up.
I wanted to share this email for two reasons.
One, if you’re a firm in the Virginia Beach area, you should consider meeting her for a coffee. Send me an email and I’ll forward it along to her. It’s always challenging breaking into a new industry.
And two, her email does a great job illustrating how important it is for people to feel fulfilled with their work. People want to make a difference. And some would argue that this desire is even more pronounced in the next generation coming up and entering the workforce.
I feel lucky that I love what I do. And I know that many of my colleagues feel the same way.
Sometimes my friends in the development business will say to me that it’s hard not to become cynical and jaded over time. You start out wanting to change cities for the better and you think you’re doing the right thing, but then it feels like you’re getting punched in the gut every step of the way trying to do exactly that.
That’s what life will do to you every now and then: It will punch you in the gut. If you want to accomplish great things, you have to take those. But it’s a hell of a lot easier to take them when you’re fulfilled by the work you do.
Trying to build better cities is pretty damn fulfilling. I am sure that many of you would agree, regardless of what side of the industry you happen to be on.