On this 4th of July, I want to share a story with you about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The pursuit of happiness actually found me. And it involves the deep satisfaction I’ve been finding just trying to help people.
It all started back in March. I’d decided I’d had enough with the working world. I checked my financials, and believed my wife and I had enough for a comfortable (although not exotic) existence the rest of our days. She was going to work for the next few years anyway, and I had been seeing far too many people I knew encounter serious health problems within days or weeks of them reaching retirement age.
So I called it quits and retired at a relatively young age.
Not too long after, I got a phone call from a young friend. She was frustrated with her job, had been sending out letters and resumes for months and not getting any calls back. Would I be willing to help?
I mean, who could say no to that?
So I worked on the two documents. Young people these days, it appears to me, view these documents as court depositions. They are really marketing documents that help sell themselves and don’t require every single detail of every time you’ve been paid. I sharpened the focus of the resume, changed the format to make it stand out, added some color, and made it tight and bright.
I took the letter, added a custom letterhead (something very easy to do in photoshop) and made the letter a sales pitch instead of an all-encompassing “hey if you don’t mind, could you read this and maybe get back with me” letter.
But the bigger and more surprising issue was then telling the person they were the right person for the job. That they were smart, that they did have the experience, and that they could do this. A lot of people bash millennials, calling them snowflakes and saying they’ve had everything handed to them, but one thing I’ve observed is that there are quite a few who have not been handed confidence. Employers these days don’t appear to work with young people that much, don’t develop them, and don’t seem to teach, coach and encourage.
I did. And the person I was helping almost started crying.
A few weeks later, I got a text. She had been offered a job she wanted and had accepted.
This time it was me having a flareup with allergies.
That experience led to another calling asking for help. And another. And then another. So far I’ve helped five people and all five have received offers and gotten new jobs within a few weeks. The feeling I get each time I hear this rivals the feeling I got when the Caps won the Stanley Cup. It’s incredible.
My latest adventure involves my old friend Jerry Ratcliffe, who wanted to start a business. Sure, I said, I know web development, business and I can write. Be glad to help. Two weeks later, we’ve been up and running for a week with JerryRatcliffe.com, it’s already had 10,000 unique visitors, and it’s producing revenue. In only a week.
Truth is, since March I’ve never worked as many hours as I have in my life. I’ve also never been happier. I swapped emails with a sportswriter in Indiana a few weeks ago about this, and he called it the “best kind of selfishness.” You do it to help others, he said, but it ends up doing more for you in the great sense of happiness and satisfaction you get in return. So you end up wanting to do even more.
It’s true. So on this 4th of July, if you want to pursue happiness, I’d encourage you to go help someone. It can be anything from encouraging someone, to rolling up your sleeves and helping them build something. I’ve found if you do it wanting nothing in return, you’ll find you do receive something that’s much more satisfying.
And if I can be of any help….