Jullien Gordon on How Stanford MBA Creates His Own Career Path

In Chapter 3 of 14 of his 2010 Capture Your Flag interview, motivation teacher Jullien Gordon learns from an alcoholic parent that choosing from a career option menu is not the only way. Instead, Gordon creates his own career path as a motivation teacher and purpose finder. Gordon believes we all have the capacity to create our own careers. Most importantly, Gordon advises others to pursue a career where you answer "What do you do?" with "I'm just me all day." Gordon holds an MBA and Masters in Education from Stanford University and a BA from UCLA.


Erik Michielsen: What did your mother’s battle with alcoholism teach you about self-education?

Jullien Gordon: In the past generations they were under the premise that ‘go be a teacher, doctor, lawyer, engineer ’ and you’re just guaranteed success and happiness and so people were actually choosing from a menu of career options rather than exploring who they are and who they wanted to be and coming out of business school at Stanford, I realized that ‘You know what? I’m looking on all these recruiters coming to campus and things like that and I don’t see myself – see any opportunities for me to step into one of these organizations and actually be myself’ and I had to carve out or create a career path that I wanted to be – that I wanted and so that’s where the notion of purpose finder came in, I mean how many purpose finders do you know? Right? So, it was a career path that I created. 

I think the number of career paths that are actually in the world are exactly correlated to number of people in the world, right? But instead we try to fit ourselves into these boxes, ‘I’m a marketer. I’m a banker. I’m a consultant. I’m a teacher.”  When at the end of the day, the best career is the one where you can say – when someone asks you, ‘So, what do you do?’ – ‘I’m just me all day.’  That’s really what we want and so – but you have to have self awareness or else that fear and that gap will force you or cause you to choose something you think you know.  Because many times we don’t even know the career path that we say we want to be.