Dear MBA Class of 2011: There will be editing mistakes

by sidin in , , , ,


Last Friday's Cubiclenama piece has been well received. So much so that it has given the nation strength at a time when it is ravaged by rife corruption, nadirs of public virtue and plumbing displays of power-play batting.

Unfortunately the version you read in the paper was the bastard child of two versions of the piece: the first one I had written before the missus had a chance to quality control, and the final one after. But something got lost in email transmission. So not everything is in the right place. For instance there shouldn't be two references to shaving. And there are some lines missing, which jar.

This is what the final version should have read like.

P.S. Now I know you're thinking that this is a complete cop-out and I am merely doing this to update the blog without actually putting in any effort into writing an original post. You are thinking very correctly.

P.P.S. I might start an email newsletter.

P.P.P.S. I want to drop everything and write a crime novel.

***

Ladies and gentleman of the MBA class of 2011,

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, a good USB memory stick would be it. The long term benefits of a USB stick has been proved by the number of times people lose laptops, or are suddenly asked to submit resumes on a plane or at a conference. The rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering work experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy your last few days in business school. Chances are that you’ve already cynically dismissed the whole bloody place. But trust me, in 5 years you’ll attend an alumni reunion and realize that business school was perhaps the last place you were both truly intellectually challenged and emotionally excited. Both those things will happen again. But rarely together.

You are not as smart, or stupid, as you think.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to make investments based on research reports that will, one day, be written by that same clueless idiot sitting next to you in the canteen right now. The real troubles in your life will never be solved by a presentation or spreadsheet, and will always involve other people. And people are unpredictable sons of bitches.

Spend a little time everyday doing nothing.

Listen.

Don’t expect organizations to be as committed to you as you are to them. Organizations don’t work that way. If you do find one that is as committed, never leave.

Jog. (Or walk briskly, or cycle, or do yoga.)

Don’t judge yourself by how much money you make. Someone you know is always making more than you. (And no good comes from knowing who this is.)

Record all the feedback you ever get in your career. Especially the inaccurate, pointless, biased and vague bits that drove you nuts. This will help you when you eventually give feedback to somebody yourself.

Keep a copy of all your old resumes. When you are struck by bouts of existential crisis, flip through them in chronological order. Do the same with resignation letters.

Decide.

Not a lot of people are ‘meant’ to do something or the other. They just say that to sell bad books. Salman Rushdie might make an excellent, and content, supply chain management consultant. Who knows? You will find various amounts of meaning and satisfaction in various things. Choose your compromises wisely.

You’ll like the job a little better if you like the dress code.

Take chances when you’re young, single and don’t have loans to repay. You’ll take larger chances. Large chances are more fun than small ones.

Be nice to people for the heck of it.

Maybe you’ll retire when you’re 45, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll get an Awesome Alumnus Award, maybe you won’t, maybe you will marry your school sweetheart, maybe you won’t. Whatever happens, do not forget those probability lessons they taught you in school. Things tend to even out.

Dance. But keep it classy.

Avoid reading business books. However feel free to write them.

Travel light.

You will most certainly face difficult choices. In most cases it helps to think of what choice maximizes gain, instead of agonizing over what minimizes loss.

Invest in a good suit, pair of shoes and get a shave. Thanks to society’s shallowness, your return on investment will be considerable.

Calm down.

Let people give you advice. Develop the art of looking interested even if you are not. Pay attention to advice from people who have a stake in your happiness, and not a stake in your success.

Please stop listening to Pink Floyd.

But forget everything else. Quickly go buy that USB stick.

Best of luck.

***

If you have questions, thoughts, musings and such like leave a comment. Discussing things might further help a lot more people.