This month, a new class of graduates takes on the real world. Having enjoyed a moderate degree of success and having worked 50 years, including in the Marines, for a Fortune 500 company, and self-employed, may I offer some observations? The likelihood of you working the same place 40 years is small. It seems we are individual contractors — “You, Inc,” offering your services to the world, rather than you as an employee with a title, which can change.

There may be a window of opportunity before a person has a home and family where he/she might begin a business. Some get a professional license. Some become nurses, pharmacists as contractors, dog walkers, light bulb changers for older folks, bookkeepers for folks who don’t want to keep a checkbook, handyman service providers, the ideas are endless. While not everyone is cut-out for self-employment, if you decide to become an employee, think of yourself as “You, Inc.”, offering your services to the world. Consider some of the money you earn today belongs to the person you will become years from now, when the world may look different.

My favorite business law professor told us 50 years ago, “When you were born, someone put into the bank for you 2 billion heartbeats and gave you the right to draw on that account. Each day, you trade in so many heartbeats for a pile of experiences and a pile of money — those two piles — experience and money, will only be as big as you want them to be and all you settle for is all you’ll get.” With a 50-year view, I believe he was right — it’s “You Inc.” in the real world.

Daniel F. Kirk



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