Oct 27, 2014

Find Your Calling—Not Your Career

By Eric Giles T'16

Eric is a career switcher who transitioned from an education nonprofit—Teach For America—to the health care sector. He hopes to expand health access to all populations.

I’m not looking for a career. I’m looking for a calling.

I know that that is an ambitious statement, but this is my one life and it is worth putting in the time, reflection, and intellectual pursuit to identify what truly drives me. When I leave Tuck, I want to know that I am entering a role that taps into my intellectual curiosity, allows me to take full advantage of my strengths, and aligns with my passions and goals. If you are reading this blog, my guess is that you are hoping for the same outcome in your post-MBA job.

Finding a calling requires following a vastly different path than just looking for a good career, and in my personal journey, I have found that Tuck provides the perfect ecosystem for me to better understand my passion, values, and ultimately the right job for me.

While I know that health care is where I want to head, exactly what my passion in this field is has been a bit more up in the air. To help me figure this out, I have tapped into Tuck’s unparalleled network. You have likely heard that Tuckies help Tuckies, and I can’t stress enough how true this statement is. Unconditional support is just what we do at Tuck. Just last week, I met with two alumni from two different companies, the director of the Center for Business and Society, the CEO of the St. Jude’s Ranch, two T’15s about their internship, and a representative in the Career Development Office (CDO). After each meeting, I learned more about what opportunities excite me. I can say that after four weeks of meeting within the Tuck network, I have identified the space of health care that gets me fired up.

While I have spent a lot of time actively thinking about who I should speak with about my career path, Tuck has done even more work to bring the world’s best organizations and speakers right to campus. I am blown away by the opportunities put right at my door step. One day, I spoke with CVS Health in the afternoon and Bristol-Myers Squibb in the evening. The next day, I listened to the founders of Keurig speak about the determined spirit they needed to get the company off the ground. I can truly say that each and every day I am exposed to a diverse array of experiences and learning about these experiences pushes me closer to discovering my calling.

The network and opportunities provided by Tuck are invaluable, but what I cherish most is the time and space to reflect. Our CDO offers so many resources to help us hone our strengths and values. From career tests to an open door policy, the CDO knows where I am on my career journey and they personalize their support to help me get there. Our location is also one of the greatest assets. Not only do I get world class opportunities presented to me right in Hanover, but there is nothing that can distract me from them. I can take the time to soak them all in and deeply reflect on what they mean for me and my life.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Henry David Thoreau, who came to the very same woods of New England to do some active reflection on his own. Finding your calling takes work, but with the support of Tuck, I feel empowered to find my path.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

(Fall photo above by Laura DeCapua)