He is currently pulling double duty as managing director of Facebook Canada and Global Head of Vertical Strategy, but Jordan Banks still carves out time for pursuing passions outside of the workplace. Here, Banks – who once left his corporate gig to study art in Italy – shares some of the secrets to his success.
To find a good mentor, stop looking
The advice that I offer young people trying to break into the business world is to adjust how they think about networking. Instead of going to these organized events, I suggest doing community service – join a fundraising initiative or volunteer for a charity that resonates with you. There is the giving back part, which is obviously so important, and there is also the fact that people who are involved with the same organizations are likely to have like minds and like value systems, which can present fantastic, organic opportunities for relationship building and mentoring.
Check in with yourself
One of the ways that I stay on track in terms of living the life I want to live is to periodically write a paragraph around what I want my legacy to look like. What do I want to accomplish, how do I want to be known? After that, it’s a matter of reverse engineering your units of time. People have all of these goals and dreams that aren’t reflected in the way they spend their time. I try to always be mindful of the fact that our time here is finite and there is no excuse for not pursuing the things we care about. I have always been very passionate about art. Several years ago, I took time away from my job to go and study art in Italy. I was young and relatively unattached at the time, so I thought, if not now, then when?
Work-life balance is bull
I fundamentally don’t believe in work-life balance. It’s a myth. People aspire to achieve it and then end up disappointed because it’s an impossible objective. At some points in your life, work is going to be intense and it’s going to take up a huge amount of your time and there will be things that suffer and there will be other times when you have more time to devote to personal interests. The secret is figuring out the rhythm. It’s like being conductor of an orchestra and making sure that every section gets a chance to be in the foreground sometimes.
Brains aren’t built in the boardroom
More and more there is a premium being placed on intellectual capital, so the question becomes, how do you build intellectual capital? Some of it is just what you’re born with, but the other way you do it is to have access to a variety of different things that make you think in different ways. I try to make a habit of always being curious, asking questions, reading and experiencing as much as I can. Part of that is travelling and seeing different cultures and different ways of life. When I think about some of the most inspired ideas and the biggest ideas I’ve had, they haven’t come sitting in an office building, they’ve come while I was reading a design magazine or through talking to taxi drivers or the opportunities I’ve had to drive car pool and listen to the kids talking in the back seat.
Pursue your passions: Part II
When I am hiring, I am never particularly interested in what it says on a resume. CVs can be manufactured and shined. Instead I look for a demonstrated history of being curious and then figuring out ways to satisfy that curiosity. It makes no difference what it is – I don’t care if you had a childhood fascination with origami and then you became an origami expert. I look for people who aren’t afraid to spend time exploring what they’re passionate about as well as people who understand the importance of giving back. At Facebook, we won’t hire someone who doesn’t have a demonstrated history of community service.
This interview has been condensed and edited.