If there’s one thing that NextJump believes in, it’s helping others. Whether it’s something small like helping people affected by Hurricane Sandy through the Forgotten Ones, or something big like donating over $1.4 million to fund over 2,000 school projects: Next Jump likes to help.
So when Charlie announced the new “Avengers Initiative,” a $20,000 prize to find the Next Jumper who best personified our core value of ‘Helping Others,’ I couldn’t wait to start nominating people. Throughout my five years here, people have helped me and each other so much. Where else would someone (my coworker Anuj) stay well into midnight on a Friday just to help teach a co-worker how to code? Is there another 200+ person company out there that called each and every worker to find out how they were doing after Hurricane Sandy? We even set up a Twitter feed for it.
The Avengers Initiative started as a simple peer-nominated initiative but quickly developed into an inspiration. The Avengers team received over 198 nominations with amazing stories about people doing incredible things to help each other. The stories brought the team to tears several times over and whittling down those nominations must have been a herculean task. Following Jim Loehr’s talk at our Summer outing that year, I was incredibly honoured to be chosen as the first recipient. Standing next to the other nominees I felt really humbled and unworthy, never mind the shock when they revealed that they’d secretly smuggled my Dad all the way from Taiwan!
Jooe congratulates Mike on the Avengers Award, with proud Dad looking on
Having my Dad there was really important because at its heart, the Avengers initiative is about the fact that on our own we can do good things, but together we can achieve greatness. Cheesy as that sounds, it’s absolutely true. You might burn brightly alone, but you’ll burn out fast without genuine, honest, ask-nothing-in-return support from those around you. And the first people to show you that, the ones that gave the most, were your parents.
Left to right: Mike, Dad and Charlie pose for Avengers Award Photo
Talking to Charlie about the prize it was clear that he wanted me to use it for two things. First and foremost to say thank you to the people that raised us. To pay them back for all the diapers changed, long nights without sleep and for every time they sat patiently through one of our kindergarten presentations. For giving time and again, not because they wanted anything back, but because they loved us. The second part was, to in some way, release them. It’s said that you never stop worrying about your kids. But eventually all kids grow up and can take care of themselves. Hopefully by showing them that I’m doing alright they’ll be able to let go a little and not worry about me so much… although, knowing my folks, that might never happen.
After getting some pretty extravagant travel suggestions, I’m planning on taking my whole family to a small, remote house in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. It will be the first time in over three years that we’ve all been together and I can’t wait to spend at least a little time looking after them.