This blog was written by, and is posted on behalf of, CEEK’s first intern Gene Huneycutt. Gene was an engineering student at NC State and is now embarking on a promising teaching career in California to pursue a greater impact in the world. His impact on CEEK was tremendous. He is a young man with strong values and principles as evidenced by the insights below.

(From Gene Huneycutt) – Many of my friends have told me that they could tell that I would be a millionaire one day. I would just smile, and in my head think, ‘Yeah, I will be.” Being a millionaire is something that has driven me for years. Hitting that one millionth dollar felt like it would mean that I am a success. My motivation to study Engineering in college was, for the most part, to make lots of money.

And then I thought, “What would I do with all that money?”

I had no idea what the money would be for. I wanted the money just for the sake of having the money. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to be a millionaire so that I would look impressive. I would be “a success,” someone my friends and family could be proud of. And also, someone I could be proud of.

The more I thought about why I wanted to be a millionaire, the more I realized that being a millionaire actually is not important to me. This left me in a odd position, realizing so many of my decisions were stemming from a lackluster motive. “If being a millionaire is not important to me, then what is?” It felt as if this significant, inauthentic goal of mine disappeared from my life and I had a gaping hole in my success criteria.

I decided that finding fulfillment in my job is important to me, as well as standing for others to love their jobs. This is what I want to be the basis for my decision ­making in my career.

One of my favorite places to practice my stand for others loving their jobs is at the cash register. Whenever I find myself at a checkout, instead of asking my typical “How’s it going today?” I now always ask the cashier, “Do you love your job?”

I have had some cashiers tell me that they really do love their jobs. I ask them “Why do you love it?” I have had some cashiers tell me that their job is “just okay.” I ask them “What are you going to do about that?” And I have had every cashier appreciate the unique question. For me, not only is it a fun way to engage with the clerk, but it is also one of the ways that I stand for people loving their jobs.

Are there any inauthentic goals that you are chasing just to look impressive? Perhaps your criteria for success could use a reevaluation.