Second Professional Development Event: MIS Career Panel

This is me discussing the Second Professional Development Event I attended, the MIS Career Panel.

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The Business of Happiness

This is my first book report for Business Dynamics:

Ted Leonsis, a very successful business man, discovered early on that money truly does not buy happiness. He learned what one must do in order to become happy and enlightens the public through his book, The Business of Happiness. At twenty-eight years old Leonsis was on a plane that was forced to make an emergency landing, without knowing for sure if the plane was actually going to land. As Leonsis feared his death, he discovered that he was not truly happy. Despite the excessive amounts of wealth he rightfully earned, despite the businesses he owned and was highly involved, and despite the material possessions he owned, when his possible sudden death was nearing, he knew that he was not satisfied with his life. As the plane was circling, preparing for the emergency landing, Leonsis, a not particularly religious person, began praying to God, asking for survival. He made a deal with God that if he made it off the plane alive, he promised to live his life with no regrets. And when he survived, that was exactly what he planned to do.

Leonsis wrote a “Life List” of 101 goals he wished to accomplish by the time he really did die, and if he accomplished those things, his life would be fulfilling and he would be happy. He realized later on in life that accomplishing each goal on his list was not what was actually making him happy, but the idea of having a bigger picture in mind allowed him to make his decisions based on what makes him happy as opposed to solely on money matters. Ted Leonsis begins by telling his life story and telling of many of the events in his life and the decisions he made to reach the happiness for which he strived. When he describes his life list, he admits that some things he included were possessions and some were “equivalent of eating empty calories,” (Leonsis 61). However he then says, “I also put down things like, ‘Change someone’s life via a charity.’ And I’m proud that the first item was, ‘Fall in love and get married.’ At least I got those things right,” (61). These are two things that made up a large part of Leonsis’ happiness. By getting married and having children, he truly felt happy and content with where his life was heading. He also participated in a variety of charity events, beyond just donating to causes. Two major charity organizations that he invested a lot of time in include Hoop Dreams and Best Buddies. He says, “And it was through them that I discovered just how vital giving back to society is as a means of building sustainable and fulfilling happiness,” (101). These programs involve Leonsis teaming-up with a teenager from an under-developed and poor community and with an adult who has an intellectual disability. He helped the teenager get on an appropriate track that leads him to successful future opportunities and he coached the intellectually disabled man with his communication skills by emailing back and forth every day. By having contact with these individuals, Leonsis truly sees the impact he is doing to help people in his society. In addition to these organizations, he also contributes to a variety of causes that benefit children, education, poorer countries, and other worth-while organizations. Through these events, Leonsis sees the happiness he generates in others, which creates a genuine happiness in himself.

In addition, Leonsis describes his business successes in relation to his happiness. He discovered that by making decisions that create a happy company and happy customers, not only does it make him feel content with his practices, but it also leads to success. Leonsis demonstrates that the less you worry about money and profits and the more you worry about the morals and “happiness factors” of the business, the more successful you actually become. He shows this through his careers in Redgate Communications (the New Media Company), the building and rebuilding of AOL, his ownership of NHL’s Washington Capitals, his Filmanthropy endeavors and many more. All of his actions involve decisions that would benefit the company and the consumers and less of how he would make more money or how the company would make more money. He knows that a good, strong, happy business would generate a profit, which is indeed what occurred in his business practices. Therefore, Leonsis proves that “money does not buy happiness” but “happiness does buy money,” in many situations.

The second part of The Business of Happiness explains to the reader how they can become happy. Leonsis goes through six steps, or secrets, that if followed successfully for each individual and their circumstance, can generate happiness and a fulfilled life. The first step is to create your own life list. By seeing goals that have a possibility to be achieved and being able to see them in front of you, it is easy to prioritize your life and make decisions designated to true happiness. The next step is to be involved in multiple communities of interest. Such groups include immediate family, extended family, friendship circles from different times throughout your life, coworkers, fellow fans of the same sports team, different groups on social networking sites, members of the same blogs, etc. There are many different communities of interest people are involved with today and the biggest objective is to stay in close communication with all of these groups throughout your lifetime. The next step is to find an outlet for self-expression. This can include singing, dancing, painting, writing; anything to show who you truly are. One way Leonsis found his outlet for self-expression is by writing this book. Explaining his story and helping others achieve the same happiness he achieved, makes him even happier. The next secret is having gratitude. Leonsis says, “I have a lot to be grateful for, more than most. The ability to be grateful for what I have is a driver of the empathy I can feel for others,” (229). There are many things in life that each of us tend to take for granted. By feeling grateful for these things, including your life, health, family and friends, talents, etc., you are able to understand others and enjoy your own life even more. The fifth step is giving back. This is clearly very important to Leonsis and he stresses the importance of charity and doing more for others than you do for yourself. He also shows that by giving back and by being selfless, you can, in the long run, become more successful due to that charity. By showing you care about others and are not self-possessed, you are a much better candidate for many job opportunities. Leonsis shows that all of these steps help generate personal happiness, but also generates professional success. The last secret in becoming truly happy is to have a higher calling. Many times this is the process of believing in God, or some higher being, causing you to have a greater reason to make proper decisions. This may not benefit you professionally, but it benefits you so much personally and emotionally that it is worth it. By following these six steps, Leonsis proves that you can in fact be happy and chances are, if you take them into the business world, you will be very successful as well.

I personally enjoyed reading this book. Through learning the life story of Leonsis, I was able to see the key things he believes drives happiness. I am used to hearing that “money does not buy happiness” but Leonsis is able to prove it by showing a “wealthy perspective” which I have not been able to see before. Also, I enjoyed the fact that he shows how to become happy and he does not just say you should be a lot happier than you currently are in life. The first-person perspective makes this book interesting to read and makes it very relatable. It has a friendly tone allowing the reader to feel a true connection to Leonsis and it is as if the reader is a life-long friend of Leonsis. The way it is written is very enticing to continue reading and with a length of almost 300 pages, it is a surprisingly quick read due to this inviting nature.

There are many business books that discuss ways to generate success within a company. Leonsis, however, discusses how to be happy, explaining that success will most likely follow. I believe this is the better way to live and seeing the perspective of someone whose life reflects such a concept is reassuring to know that living a life that you truly want can in fact benefit you in the end. I personally value the concept that the same steps and secrets to be happy are also the steps to become successful in work and life. A lot of times people are always looking for happiness but no one knows where to turn to achieve it. I plan to take these secrets with me in life because now I know how to achieve happiness, at least the opinion Ted Leonsis has on what happiness is. I have every intention of building my life and career based on the six steps toward happiness, because beyond all else, I will be happy. If success follows that will be great, but in the long run it will not matter if I am successful as long as I am truly and purely happy. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and plan to embody a lot of the steps and secrets behind the life outlook of Ted Leonsis in my own life and future career.

Work Cited:

Leonsis, Ted, and John Buckley. The Business of Happiness. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Pub., 2010. Print.

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Business Dynamics Professional Development Event

On September 11, 2013, I attended the Fall Career Fair, a Track II event.  fall career fair

Roughly 160 different companies were present, offering a variety of information, discussion, advice, and job opportunities. There were approximately 32 “Freshmen Friendly” companies who were willing and eager to speak with freshmen students. Even these companies, however, offered little information for present opportunities and encouraged contact in the future. The experience in general was overwhelming for a student, such as myself, who has little knowledge as to where they want to work or has no specific company they wish to speak to in mind.

The companies I spoke with include PricewaterhouseCoopers, Johnson&Johnson, The Princeton Review, Eileen Fisher, and Lilly Pulitzer.

This event contributed to my professional education because it showed me all of the different career opportunities out there and showed that it is not necessary to work for only the few “common” companies. There are many different companies and it is important to research the companies you wish to speak with and plan out, ahead of time, what you wish to seek from each employer. I also learned that as soon as next year I can be doing hands-on work with many companies and firms, leading to a possible permanent position in the future. The Fall Career Fair truly opened my eyes to new career options and I look forward to becoming involved in these companies or others in my near future.

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career center