What is your full name and title? How long have you been in this role?
My name is Jon Chow and I’m the Founder and CEO of SecureTheJob.com. I have been in this role since June, 2013.
What exactly do you do?
SecureTheJob.com is a community where users can learn from each other’s career experiences through honest, straight-from-the-source perspectives. The site’s users contribute real and honest advice on how to succeed in positions they themselves have held. As CEO of the company (and one of only two partners) my job is to do whatever needs to be done.
Describe what you do on any given day.
The exciting part about being an entrepreneur is that no two days are the same. One day may be spent dealing with lawyers and accountants and the next could be spent speaking to a group of university students about how to choose a career. One thing that life as an entrepreneur has taught me is that despite having the best-laid plans, life and business will often take you in unexpected directions. The concept of a standard workday has pretty much gone out the window.
What’s your background and education?
I was born and raised in Toronto. I have an honours bachelor of science in health studies from the University of Waterloo and a masters in business administration from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. I spent five years in financial services.
How did you get to your position?
I imagine that my path to entrepreneurship is similar to many other entrepreneurs – I saw a problem and after realizing that there was no good existing solution, I decided to build it myself.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of this job is getting to meet people and hear their stories. There are so many different jobs out there and every job comes with its own experience. I’ve learned so much about hundreds of different jobs – many that I didn’t even know existed.
On a personal note, one of my favourite things about working at a startup company is that everything you do has a direct impact on the success or failure of the business. Being accountable creates a lot of stress and pressure, but being able to take ownership of the wins (even the small ones) makes it all worth it. Being part of a startup also allows me to be creative and take risks. The absence of bureaucratic red tape allows smaller companies to be nimble and act quickly. Large companies invest huge amounts of money into projects and as a result often can’t afford for those projects to fail. This is a huge contrast to the ‘fail fast, fail cheap’ mantra of most startups.
What’s the worst part of your job?
Running your own business can be consuming. When you are your own boss you never really get time off. You may come up with an idea in the middle of the night or find yourself answering e-mails and participating in conference calls while on vacation. For that reason, it’s important to be passionate about what you’re doing and surround yourself with understanding and supportive people.
What are your strengths in this role?
I think my two biggest strengths are humility and the ability to learn quickly. Every job has a learning curve and the learning curve when starting your own business is steep and unforgiving. As part of the growing process, I know that I will make mistakes and all I can do is work to ensure that I don’t make the same mistake twice.
One of the central ideas that SecureTheJob is built on is that nobody is perfect at their job and we can all benefit from great career advice. Knowing that it’s okay to not know everything and having the ability to learn on the fly are important if you work at a large company – and are vital when trying to start your own business.
What are your weaknesses?
I have difficulty delegating work. If there is something that I am capable of doing, I’ll often do it, even if it may not be the best use of my time.
What has been your best career move?
To date, my best career move was deciding to get my MBA. My MBA gave me the foundation required to work in finance and eventually start my own business, as well as help set me up with a fantastic professional network.
What has been your worst career move?
My worst career move was probably waiting too long before leaving finance. I knew that I was unfulfilled more than a year before deciding to quit and start my own business, but I had a hard time giving up the security of the corporate life.
What’s your next big job goal?
My goal is to make SecureTheJob the go-to resource for anyone looking for experience-based career advice about specific jobs.
What’s your best advice to others who might want to follow in your footsteps?
Always try to know what you’re getting yourself into. Whether you want a job in finance or you want to start your own company, do your research. Talk to as many people as you can and read everything you can find. One of the easiest ways to ensure that you’ll enjoy what you do is to have a good idea of what you’ll be doing.