About a year ago, I wrote about the beauty of having a grand project. A grand project is the work you do when the day ends. When you fulfill all the daily obligations you have and then can turn to the thing that you believe in — that you own.
The problem I kept finding myself in was that I was building, but not for myself. With school, internships, and jobs, you trade your work for compensation. You don’t have equity in what you build. A grand project? You own it.
Before the first day of the quarter, I’m realizing that I’ve lost my grand projects. After a failed startup, a disillusion with what writing can accomplish for me, and serial internships. I’ve been replacing more and more time for what I own with time for what I don’t own.
And don’t get me wrong — there’s a place for the things I don’t own. I’m developing the necessary skills to work on cooler things. However, there’s also a big place that needs to be reserved for the things I do own and I’ve forgotten about it.
It’s Not All About Employment, but it also kind of is
I’ve watched several people graduate from college with degrees just to apply to hundreds if not thousands of jobs and remain unemployed. And I can’t help but think if there’s a mismatch between what we’re told about education and the reality of education.
Ever since I was a kid, I was told that to do something great, to get a steady job, you need to go to college. College was your ticket to success. And this may be right, but I think what we often get wrong is that college is enough — that all you need to do is to go college.
I know there’s millions of people out there who feel anxiety about what happens after education — what happens when you stop paying someone to make you feel safe and when you need to start creating value to feel safe.
We keep being fed the idea that we just need to get better grades, get better internships and that, one day, we’ll get the job we want.
But it’s not true. You can’t rely on this system. You need to create something for yourself.
Seeking Out My Grand Project
In the past, I’ve been a big planner for my life. I set very specific goals with specific habits to get me there. I’m not sure if I want to do that this time.
With more flexibility comes the fear of comfort-default. A bias in my day-to-day decision making towards comfort that will compromise my longer term goals of growth. A grand project often isn’t comfortable. It’s the kind of thing people scoff at and proceed to ask you when you’re going to get a real job.
But I need it. I need it for me.
And now, that starts with these videos. We’ll see where it goes from here.