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Steve Fireman

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Quit Working Somewhere You Hate

Posted: 01/31/2013 11:13 am

While Forbes.com recently reported that 65 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs, I actually look forward to going to work every day. I may not have an extreme job, like an astronaut or a war correspondent, but I am extremely happy. My chosen career is tough, and it requires a consistent work ethic supported by a passion for results. While most people will not find it thrilling, I am confident that I have the best job in the world.

I am the President of the Economic & Community Development Institute, a microlender in Columbus, Ohio. We are not just a lender. Every day I work with aspiring entrepreneurs, immigrants, chefs, and artists who share the promise of the American Dream. These exceptional people have ideas on paper, and they are looking to turn these ideas into a prosperous business. I am blessed to have an amazing staff of 46 dedicated and competent individuals who help us leverage our vast development resources and capitalization strategies.

Let me give you an example of my morning. It's 9 a.m., and I have a meeting with one of our most accomplished clients, Retta Tegegne. Retta, a refugee from Ethiopia, approached ECDI in 2005 in order to open an Individual Development Account -- for which he could start saving money in order to finish his degree with the hopes of eventually starting his own business. Eight years later, Tegegne is the owner of his own contracting firm, Bezalel construction. ECDI was there every step of the way, providing training and capitalization. Through his successful business he has increased his wealth and secured a sound future for his family and his employees. I was meeting with him this morning because he now volunteers for us, giving advice to the clients of our home repair projects.

It's 10 a.m. My next meeting is with a new potential investor in our Invest Local Ohio program. In March 2011, ECDI launched a new investment program called Invest Local Ohio, which seeks investments from individuals and institutions through the purchase of Notes in principal amounts $1,000.00 or greater and with terms of 3 to 5 years. The Notes pay investors a fixed rate of interest between 2 percent and 3 percent, respectably. This program also allows individuals to donate any amount to directly impact the people and businesses who need this capital to start or grow their business right here in Ohio. After our conversation, this investor becomes a big fan of this initiative -- effectively investing $10,000.

It's lunch time and the work doesn't stop. Today we are giving a tour of our Food Fort and Commercial Kitchen incubator. This is a self-sustaining part of the business that lends support to the growing food truck and cart businesses as well as local caterers and bakers. The Food Fort is committed to helping new businesses expand by providing them with commercial cooking and baking equipment as well as networking resources and consulting.

And that is just one part of my 'typical' day. When your day is filled with inspirational stories from talented neighbors and aspiring entrepreneurs, who wouldn't be energized an satisfied. Every day, I get to meet someone new. Someone with great potential like Retta.

This may not be rocket science or brain surgery, but at ECDI we are changing lives and developing an incredibly robust and diverse local economy that capitalizes on an emergent pool of talent from driven individuals and families just like you along the way. I am proud to be a part of this organization and I will be the first one to shout it from the rooftops. I feel sorry for those 65 percent of people whom Forbes found to be dissatisfied with their jobs.

My advice: Quit working somewhere you hate and work with us to build a company of your own that you will love. Or donate to allow somebody else the chance to build something they will love. For more information please visit www.crowdrise.com/ecdi-jr.

 
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