I used to live a life of leisure. I had a decent job, with decent pay and decent benefits. I had a flexible schedule and three weeks of vacation. I was happy working to live and had no interest in living to work. I spent my evenings binge-watching on Netflix and weekends focused solely on fun, friendship and the pursuit of more fun. YOLO (“you only live once”) was how I rolled.
When my company decided to extend its benefits to include tuition reimbursement, I had no interest in going back to school. Why would I ruin my YOLO style with homework, group assignments and exams? Well, somewhere in my childhood I must have been deprived of something because I am one of those “Yankee types” that jumps at the hint of free stuff.
I am the person that leaps from my seat on an overbooked flight when they ask passengers to give up their seats. I troll the “Free” section on Craigslist and pull my car to the side of the road to pick through what’s been left at the end of a driveway with a “Free Stuff” sign. When I go to a $12 all-you-can-eat buffet, I waddle out after consuming $24 worth of buffet. Some are entertained by my attraction to free stuff. I am often embarrassed at my uncontrollable excitement.
So, with the offer of free tuition, I signed up for the most expensive college that would accept me. Two years of night classes and 16 courses later, I graduated with an MBA and suddenly my YOLO life, Netflix binges and weekend flings were gone. Instead, I become the CEO of ME Inc.
When I became the CEO of ME Inc., I did a thorough SWOT analysis (strengths, weakness, opportunity and threats). I learned I had untapped potential and saw a path on how to maximize my impact both professionally and philanthropically.
In my MBA studies, I was introduced to the value of a purpose-driven life. I researched many entrepreneurs, leaders and the social enterprise (B Corp.) business model so when I caught my cap from the air at graduation, I had a plan. I dumped the YOLO and created a long-term vision for ME Inc. Now, every day I wake up with focus. I have goals to accomplish, impact to make, and followers to lead.
My final MBA course project was to help a nonprofit with their business planning and development. Through this assignment, I discovered that making an impact and changing the world wasn’t hard, and for some social entrepreneurs, it can be profitable!
While philanthropy was the path I chose, I saw my fellow students take different profitable paths. As I watched them get promoted, change jobs and climb corporate ladders, I noted our conversations evolved from bragging and embellishing of our last YOLO adventures to collaborating on business projects, sharing entrepreneurial ideas and business expertise. My tribe had changed. I am now surrounded by like-minded professionals driven to set the bar high and reach for higher.
While I miss the YOLO lifestyle, I accept that living beyond the moment fuels my soul versus overloading my senses, and since time is the only true currency, I prefer to spend mine wisely.
Janine Jacques had over 15 years of industry experience and was a senior technical director before she decided to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in education. In education, she was a member of the faculty at the University of New Hampshire and Mount Ida College where she was awarded tenure in 2013. Her expertise in technology and interest in online pedagogies inspired her to research new areas of education. In 2014, she resigned from her tenured faculty position in order to pursue opportunities at New England College of Business. Jacques is currently the Program Chair of the Bachelor of Science in Digital Marketing program at NECB.