Devastating fires traumatized our community. The web of support in our North Bay region for responding to and recovering from a disaster strengthened, building confidence that our region will emerge from this disaster with greater resilience. What lessons can those of us with MBAs take from this experience?
A surprising career path that many of our graduates have embarked upon is the path of entrepreneurship. The most important theory of entrepreneurship that you never heard of (but is known by every scholarly researcher of the field) is called "effectuation".
In 2000, I shut down a lucrative business (sales and marketing of computerized industrial equipment), built over 15 years, that provided a great lifestyle. I rarely needed to work 40 hours per week, and had complete control of my schedule. I gave that up for a role in higher education in which I was working twice (or more) as many hours for one-third the compensation. I still work more and earn less than I did in the late 90s. What gives?
There is an optimal level of stress that brain researchers call "eustress". Less than that and you may not be motivated enough to perform at your best. More than that and you become less productive and head toward burnout. In eustress, managers and leaders feel a compelling sense of purpose that is motivating and energizing.
In the late nineties, I worked about 25 hours per week and earned more than I make now. I achieved work life balance! But that work had no personal meaning beyond supporting my family. In 2000, I decided to become an educational entrepreneur. My new work was very meaningful, but in short order it was also burning me out. That is when I started my journey of re-establishing work life balance at a greater level of work responsibility.