Finding Happiness in the Moment
PROVO, Utah – May 22, 2020 – BYU Marriott strategy alum Eli Tucker isn’t afraid to make changes to his life plan as he goes. As an incoming freshman, he was set on studying computer science, but he then changed his career path to business strategy. More recently, he made the decision to step away from his position at one of the world’s biggest companies in order to travel the world. Now that the coronavirus pandemic has delayed his world trip, he’s once again adapting his plan. Through it all, he is learning to find happiness in the moment.
Tucker loved to code in high school, so when he started at BYU, he was sure that he would one day become a computer scientist. However, that plan changed after a friend in the BYU Marriott Business Strategy Club invited Tucker to take part in a case competition. The competition opened his eyes to another world. “I decided that business strategy was a lot more interesting to me because that career path would involve making the big decisions for an organization,” he says. Tucker joined the strategy program, eventually serving as vice president of the Business Strategy Club during his senior year, which allowed him to help other BYU students discover their interest in business strategy.
During his time at BYU Marriott, Tucker had another opportunity to share his interest in business with others as he traveled to Africa with a group of engineering and business students to help start business enterprises among the locals of several villages in Malawi. “The purpose of the trip was to help people in these villages start their own businesses and make money,” he says. “Our group helped locals do things such as get solar panels to harvest energy or turn corn husks into charcoal. The engineers on our team taught people how to make these products, and the business students helped them get their products to market to sell.”
Tucker’s BYU Marriott experience opened doors to the world and also opened doors to Tucker’s career. When Tucker was applying for a full-time job for after graduation, he was nearing the deadline to respond to offers from two companies, but he still had not been able to interview with Amazon, one of the companies that he most wanted to work for.
Luckily, a BYU connection helped make it possible for Tucker to streamline the interview process and get an offer from Amazon much faster than normal. “A friend of mine at BYU knew someone who worked at Amazon, so they were able to fast track my application. Amazon did all my interviews over the phone,” he says. Tucker accepted a position with Amazon and started working there after graduating from BYU Marriott in 2017.
While at Amazon, Tucker enjoyed the opportunities that he had to interact with leaders of the company and to help make changes in the way that the company operated. On one occasion, Amazon executives were considering an urgent, large change to the way they ordered products from suppliers. Tucker worked on the Brand Registry team, and neither his manager nor his manager’s manager were available to meet with the executives to talk about the role of their team in the potential change.
“I got into this meeting and suddenly a vice president was asking me questions about how Brand Registry works and how it would play a role in this massive change. That meeting was a cool opportunity to rub shoulders with people who were high up in the company,” he says.
Even though Tucker enjoyed his work at Amazon, he realized he was never satisfied. Looking back on his life, he could see a pattern. “Every time I achieved one thing, I was always looking forward to the next thing,” he says. “I wanted to get a good internship, and then I had to get a good job, and then I needed to get promoted. I saw myself in this cycle of always wanting the next thing, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I realized that I was tired of being in that cycle I had created for myself.” Tucker realized that he could be happy now, without waiting on the next career milestone.
After his change in perspective, Tucker realized that there was nothing holding him back from doing the things he most wanted to do. Just as he had made a decision to step away from his computer science major, he made a similar choice regarding his work. Earlier this year Tucker quit his job so that he could spend a year or two traveling the world. “I was going to start in Central America and then take a cruise from Central America to Portugal and work my way across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia,” he says.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic broke out just as Tucker was about to leave. He has no regrets about his decision though. “When you’ve decided to find happiness in the moment, nothing external can take that away from you,” he says. Tucker is still hoping to travel once things settle down. In the meantime, he is finding other valuable things to do. He has dedicated some of his newfound free time to providing tech help to organizations that give back to the community.
Tucker also recently completed his certification to teach English as a foreign language. He is interested in getting into the educational technology space after his trip, so he might begin his international travels as an English teacher rather than as a tourist. Regardless of what comes next, he is grateful that he’s been able to step away from the mentality of delaying happiness and that he now finds joy in the journey. “Life isn't all about my career,” he says. “I want to go on this trip to see the world and think about the kind of impact and legacy I really want to leave with my life.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kenna Pierce