Wednesday, February 1, 2012

In the Forest of Youth

Today Facebook announced its $5 BILLION IPO - possibly the largest IPO in US history. 

(As I read the stories, I couldn't help but picture CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg sitting in a chic conference room, surrounded by his highest ranking "kronnies" announcing that the IPO would be $5 billion as he coyly raised his pinkie finger to his lip...)

Within seconds of the news breaking, the banter around the cubes escalated. Most of my flanking cube neighbors, still shy of reaching 30, were mesmerized by the affluence Zuckerberg already achieved at about our same age. Wikipedia (ok, not the most reliable source - but convenient!) estimates his net worth to be over $17 million - money I doubt I will see at age 77, let alone 27. Begrudgingly recognizing we'd likely never see this kind of money, we consoled ourselves speculating that Zuckerberg probably works triple our hours and receives excessive amounts of hate mail. 

"How miserable," we concluded. 

It must be exciting to strike it rich so young and doing so by your own creation. It's rare that young people attain such lofty incomes, most of us take more time to grow our savings. In many ways, building your career and your finances is a lot like trees growing in an already thick forest, while entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg sprout up exponentially fast - like the beanstalk in "Jack & the Beanstalk" - for the rest of us, we're in forest, overcrowded and cramped. It's only those that are able to adapt, twist and turn that finally reach the sunlight. Along the way, we face brutal casualties - storms, fires, droughts - but that's what makes us trees so interesting as we grow. 

I'm not a beanstalk, but I'm not sure I'd want to be. (But that's not to say I'd ever turn away an influx of cash!) There's something exciting about the growth and the challenge. As difficult as 2011 was - moving twice without a job ahead and in a dismal economy - now that I can look back, it feels pretty good. It proves to me that I've got some fight, and I'm not afraid to twist in a direction for a chance in the sun.

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