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Career 180: He helped himself by helping others

JEFFREY CLEVELAND

JEFFREY CLEVELAND Credit: JEFFREY CLEVELAND

Maneesh K. Goyal is the co-founder of Live in the Grey, an online and in-person resource center for professionals looking to find fulfillment in their careers. After earning a master’s degree in public health from Yale University, he worked for children’s health nonprofits before starting MKG Marketing, award-winning experiential marketing agency, a little more than a decade ago. Goyal was referred to by New York Magazine as “a modern-day Don Draper,” after the “Mad Men” character. He lives on Union Square.

Why did you switch careers?
I left public health to start throwing events, and I got Sean [Diddy] Combs as my first client. I switched careers because I wanted to not have the Sunday night blues … and so I started to realize that I was in nonprofits because I like to help people, but I can probably figure out other ways to help people. I needed to figure out how to help myself first, how to find a job that didn’t feel like a job. I started Live in the Grey in January of this year. ... There’s a part of me that’s still very interested in community building and community organizing, so I ultimately wanted to help inspire others to find a life where their personal/professional passions are blended.

What are some of the pros and cons of founding Live in the Grey?
The pros are the ability to really, truly inspire strangers. ... The cons are, it’s a full startup, where we’re walking the mail to the mailbox to not pay for a messenger. ... It’s only [six] months in, but I think when you look at what’s been accomplished in four months, it’s remarkable. But … we haven’t taken any investors yet. … It’s all being funded by us.

Are you happy with your career switch?
It would be like asking a mother if she’s happy about her newborn. I love it. All I want to do is talk about it.

Do you have any advice for readers who are considering a career 180?
Start with your personal passion. ... It’s what I did — I literally made a list of what doesn’t feel like work.
 

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