Is office work dead? For those who just graduated from high school or college, some of the best work experiences you can get are from being in the office, or restaurant—face to face with your coworkers and customers. You get lessons you can’t learn from a textbook.
What I learned at Fidelity Investments in Boston, MA was how the back office worked. That’s an essential understanding for me today as we use Fidelity as our custodian for clients. But what I also learned was how to live on my own, get to work on time, see how a large team works (not always together), get my car fixed, registered, etc. You know, the basic skills of living on your own.
When I had an internship at a start-up company during one of my Babson College summers, the founder was in the office at his desk by 6:20 am. I showed up by 6:30 am because I felt late arriving at 7 am. He left for the day at 6:30 pm. This was a tough slog. But in my conversations with you, I remember talking to you about your schedule. You were up daily at 3 am and out the door by 3:30 am and in your office in NYC. As a CFO, you led by example and now you’re enjoying the fruits of your labor.
When I scooped ice cream for $0.25 a cone in high school, I didn’t realize I was getting an education in inflation. I never liked leaving my friends at the beach to go to work. But once I was at work and made it through the two-hour rush of serving fried clams, fish and chips, and coffee frappes, it was fun. It was fun knowing we struggled together and had made it through another night. I don’t think about the time I missed at the beach.
Yes, doing well in school matters, especially getting your first job. But after that, no one really cares where you went to school just as long as you get your job done. How you read the cues in the office while everyone has their head in their computers is a lot easier when you can see and hear what’s going on around you. You can’t do that from the beach.
Action Line: You can’t know what you don’t know. You must experience life. Let’s go. I’m here for you.
Tunku Varadarajan explains in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal:
That explains why young people are drawn to cities—and why, in Mr. Glaeser’s view, in-person work is vital in the early stages of a career. Cities—and face-to-face contact at work—have “this essential learning component that is valuable and crucial for workers who are young,” he says. The acquisition of experience and improvement in productivity, “month by month, year by year,” ensures that individual earnings are higher in cities than elsewhere.
Mr. Glaeser commends a “superb paper,” published in the Review of Economic Studies in 2017, that documents how people learn by working in big cities. The authors show that workers in Madrid earn 55% more than those in rural Spain. “These wage benefits don’t appear magically when workers come to Madrid or Barcelona,” Mr. Glaeser says. “Instead, a new worker in the big city earns only about 10% more than a worker in a mid-sized city.” After 10 years, that earnings gap grows to 35%.
“The sort of young people who don’t want to come back to the office,” he says, “don’t really know what they’ve missed.” They think that the experience of “working from a Starbucks is all
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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