Career Advice No One Tells You

By: Raghav Haran

Most people have “okay” jobs.

We go to work, do what we have to do from 9 to 5, come back home, maybe hang out with friends, and do it all over again the next day.

There’s nothing wrong with this.

But some people perform at a totally different level.

They’re the people who land executive level positions by their early 30s while everyone else is still trying to “work their way up.”

They’re the people who jump out of bed every morning, excited about the day ahead while everyone else drags themselves out of bed every Monday.

They’re the people who impact thousands of people through their work, while everyone else keeps themselves busy with pointless tasks at work.

Here’s what they understand, that most people don’t.

1. Job requirements are negotiable

I remember going to the grocery store with my (Indian) grandfather when I was a kid.

He would always look closely at the price of everything we put in our basket. And when we got to the cash register, he would do what I thought was the most embarrassing thing ever: he would try and negotiate with the cashier!

But the crazy thing is… it usually worked.

Noah Kagan (founder of AppSumo) has this thing he calls the “coffee challenge.” Basically you walk into a coffee shop, order whatever it is you want, and when it comes time to pay, ask for 10% off.

If the cashier asks why, say “just cause.”

Most of the time, the cashier will just give it to you.

There are so many things in life that we think are “non-negotiable”, but in reality, we can totally get around it.

For example, I applied for a business development role once that required 3–5 years of experience and I had almost zero (I was still in school at the time).

So I decided to prove to them that I could still bring value. Instead of submitting my resume and sitting back, I decided to go out and pitch some companies on forming partnerships with them, and introduced those companies to the hiring manager. I got the offer.

When I was applying for a product design position at Quora, I ran a usability test on the mobile app, mocked up some design suggestions, and sent it to the head of product design.

He emailed me back the same day to schedule an interview.

Apart from jobs like academic professions like medicine or law, job requirements are largely negotiable — you just have to prove that you can bring value to the table.

People who aren’t willing to “break the rules” a little bit usually end up wasting years of time and money trying to achieve a goal they could’ve achieved with a lot less.

2. Imposter syndrome is a good thing

The New York Times came out with this article a while ago, examining why people from certain groups do better than others economically.

It may not be politically correct to say it, but the truth is that Asian people are more successful than everyone else on average.

“Indian-Americans earn almost double the national figure (roughly $90,000 per year in median household income versus $50,000). Iranian-, Lebanese- and Chinese-Americans are also top-earners.” — NY Times

The biggest reason for this, according to the NY Times, is cultural. The groups that are more successful than others have 3 common characteristics:

  • A superiority complex
  • Some insecurity, or a feeling that you’re not good enough at what you do
  • Impulse control

The combination of believing that you can get to almost wherever you want to be, having discipline, and having insecurity about where you are is the formula for a successful, impactful career.

Embrace that feeling of inadequacy.

3. What’s “realistic” is just an illusion

What’s realistic for you is entirely predicated on what you’ve been exposed to.

When I was younger, I had some friends from lower income backgrounds whose families didn’t receive a high education.

When they found out over time that my dad was a doctor, they’d be like “whoa, that’s amazing!!!” like it was some insanely big thing. In their mind, becoming a doctor was unrealistic.

It was only because they didn’t know how.

If someone told me that they wanted to be a doctor, I would think that’s a totally achievable goal. It’s because I know what it takes to get into medical school, the process behind the scenes, and I had been around people who have successfully done it.

There are so many things in life you take for granted that someone else would think is crazy and unrealistic.

Getting a graduate degree? There’s a guy somewhere whose family never went to college, and he thinks that’s unrealistic.

Working for a Fortune 500 company? There’s a girl somewhere whose family works in minimum wage jobs, and she thinks that’s unrealistic.

Running a multi-million dollar business? There’s a kid somewhere who comes from a upper middle class background, and he thinks that’s unrealistic.

Work alongside the best in your field, read their books, listen to their interviews, study what they did to get where they are — and eventually, those crazy unrealistic dreams will become realistic for you.

4. Don’t pick a career based on “average salaries” or employment numbers

When you’re striving to be great at what you do, the “averages” don’t matter.

I laugh when people say things like “writers don’t make money.” I’ve earned a good mid 5 figures on the side over the last several months from a few blog posts and emails alone, helped hundreds of people find jobs they love, and built an audience of 6,000+ people.

And I’m definitely not the only one.

When it comes to any field, the people who strive to be great have more than enough money and success. And everyone else fights over scraps.

We see the same thing in engineering — the best programmers get hired by companies like Google, but others trying to cash in on the “gold rush” of tech by looking through some online learn-to-code tutorials in a few weeks aren’t doing as well.

Do what you enjoy doing, and be great at it. Everything else will come.

5. Pick a boss, not a company

People think that if they just get a job at a company like Facebook or Goldman Sachs, then they’ll be set for life.

Not true. Having the right mentor is the real key.

Not only will you learn a ridiculous amount just by being around successful people in your field, you’ll also get into their “inner circle” if you can prove that you’re legit.

And then you will have more opportunities than ever before.

For example, I worked with NYT bestselling author Ramit Sethi, he was willing to refer me to powerhouses in his own network.

It’s how I got job offers from some of the biggest marketing companies in the world.

Or they might even nudge you away from mistakes that could have cost you years of wasted time and effort.

A while ago I was considering working for someone, and one of my mentors (a well known figure in Silicon Valley) told me I shouldn’t.

That one email probably saved me months or even years of time going down the wrong path.

Surrounding yourself with the right people could lead to more opportunities than any company could ever give you. And you’ll avoid the mistakes that keep others stuck for years on end.

6. Don’t be afraid to take a pay cut for the right experience

Stanley Druckenmiller, a hedge fund manager, once said this:

“If you’re early on in your career and they give you a choice between a great mentor or higher pay, take the mentor every time. It’s not even close. And don’t even think about leaving that mentor until your learning curve peaks.
There’s just nothing to me so invaluable in my business, but in many businesses, as great mentors. And a lot of kids are just too short-sighted in terms of going for the short-term money instead of preparing themselves for the longer term.” — Stanley Druckenmiller

Literally every single old person says that the biggest mistake young people make is being impatient.

They optimize for the short term (i.e. a job at a big company that will impress their friends and family) instead of thinking about their long term goals.

Don’t be afraid to take one step back today to take two steps forward tomorrow.

7. What got you to level one won’t get you to level two

In the beginning of your career, your technical skills matter the most.

You get tested on how well you can use excel, or write code, or design products, etc.

But as time goes on, those technical skills start to matter less. How you interact with people starts to matter a lot more.

Most people think that if they just get good enough at their craft, then everything will be fine.

And it’s true, being good at what you do does matter.

But you need much more than that. You need to know how to navigate the world of office politics. You need to figure out how to add value outside of your role.

You need to figure out what your company needs, and give it to them — even if they don’t tell you what it is.

8. The real education begins after college

It’s sad how many people think they’re “done with studying” the moment they leave school.

In reality, everything you’ve learned in class is largely worthless in the real world.

Successful people read as much as one book a week sometimes. They listen to podcasts. They go to conferences. They read research papers. They talk to other people who are doing big things.

That’s how they’re able to “connect the dots” between seemingly unrelated subjects, and use that insight to land more opportunities.

That’s how they see the world through a different lens than everyone else.

9. Always be getting more exposure

“Exposure is leverage.” — Gary Vaynerchuk

After you accomplish anything professionally, get online and write about it. Help someone who was once in your shoes trying to figure things out.

Exposure builds credibility.

The bigger the audience you have, the more people will take you seriously.

10. Don’t outsource your success to your company

A prominent venture capitalist in Silicon Valley once decided to work at a coffee shop for a month.

Imagine that. Here was an insanely successful CEO standing behind a cash register. He was taking people’s orders and serving them coffee.

Most people would never even think about doing such an “unglamorous” job.

But he wanted to learn about the operations of the shop from the inside. He wanted to understand the logistics, the systems, the bottlenecks, the inefficiencies, how often customers show up, and more.

Most people think that working at a place like McDonald’s or Starbucks is objectively bad, while working at a big brand name company is objectively good in terms of getting future success.

But in reality, a company is only as good as you make it.

For someone who worked at McDonald’s to study the operations of the business, the logistics, managements strategies, etc to open a franchise business later on, working at a fast food joint would be an incredibly valuable experience.

On the other hand, someone who expects to be “set for life” after getting a job at a brand name company is probably screwed.

No job is objectively good or bad. It’s what you make of it.

11. The real winners never go through the “front door”

Alex Banayan said it best:

“[All highly successful people] treat life, business, and success… just like a nightclub.
There are always three ways in.
There’s the First Door, where 99% of people wait in line,hoping to get in.
There’s the Second Door, where billionaires and royalty slip through.
But then there is always, always… the Third Door. It’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, climb over the dumpster, bang on the door a hundred times, crack open the window, and sneak through kitchen. But there’s always a way in.
Whether it’s how Bill Gates sold his first piece of software, or how Steven Spielberg became the youngest director at a major studio in Hollywood — they all took the Third Door.” — Alex Banayan

No one gets extraordinary opportunities by taking the same approach everyone else takes.

It’s amazing to me how many people want to land their dream jobs, jobs that thousands of people are competing for, yet they expect to get them by submitting a resume online.

That’s not how it works.

The name of the game is noticing the ‘unspoken rules’ around you, and giving people what they want before they have to ask you.

That’s how you win.

This infographic was created with Visme: www.visme.co/make-infographics

Like this post? In my private email list, I share specific strategies to help you:

  • Figure out what your dream job is
  • Make the right connections without coming off as “salesy” (even if you live in the middle of nowhere)
  • Craft your application in such a way that the hiring manager can’t ignore you (even if you’re underqualified)
  • Crush every interview
  • And much more

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Next Story — 4 Steps to Building a Dream Career
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4 Steps to Building a Dream Career

Today, I want to tell you one of the coolest stories I’ve ever heard.

An average guy from Brooklyn, New York decided he wanted to be Elvis Presley tour promoter.

The guy’s name was Jerry Weintraub. He was a massive Elvis fan.

He pestered Tom Parker, Elvis’s manager, to give him a shot. Jerry called him every single day for an entire year. But he kept getting ignored or rejected.

Finally, Elvis’s manager broke down.

He said, “You want [Elvis]? Then show up in Las Vegas with a million dollars. And we’ll make a contract.”

Jerry said “Ok, I’ll be there,” and he hung up the phone. Now, this broke guy from Brooklyn had to figure out how to raise a million dollars in a matter of weeks.

So he did the only thing he knew how to do — pester more people.

Jerry called everyone who ever said that they would be willing to help him out over the years. He told them what he wanted to do. He told them he needed a million dollars.

Everyone said no.

But he still decided to fly out to Las Vegas and meet Tom Parker, to see if he could convince him on the spot to let him work with Elvis. Once he landed, Jerry decided to make a few more calls anyway before the meeting date from his Vegas hotel room.

He ended up getting in touch with an attorney from New York, who put him in touch with a Seattle businessman who was a huge Elvis fan.

Jerry had never met this guy before, and had no idea who he was. But they spoke over the phone, and Jerry told him what he wanted to do and how much money he needed.

And the next day, he went to a local bank to pick up a check for one million dollars.

Jerry Weintraub became Elvis Presley’s promoter that day, and became a millionaire himself in a few weeks after going on tour with Elvis.

Here’s an old Charlie Rose interview where he talks all about it.

I love hearing stories about how successful people got their first “big” job that paved the way for everything else. The approach they take is completely different from everyone else.

Here are some things that they know, that many others don’t.

1. What’s “on paper” doesn’t matter as much as you think

Smart managers know that they should hire for attitude over skill.

The truth is, most new hires that fail do so because they lack emotional skills. Not technical ones.

According to studies:

  • 26% fail because they can’t accept feedback.
  • 23% fail because they can’t manage their emotions.
  • 17% fail because they don’t have the motivation to excel.
  • 15% fail because they don’t have the right temperament.

And only 11% fail because they don’t have the right technical skills.

But many of us select ourselves out of going for our dream job because feel like we’re not “qualified” enough.

If you can prove to your potential employers that you can do the job by going beyond the resume and cover letter, you’ll show them that you have both the skills and the attitude of a rockstar hire.

And you can bypass the so called job “requirements” that you don’t have on paper.

For example, I applied for a business development role once that required 3–5 years of experience and I had almost zero (I was still in school at the time).

So I decided to prove to them that I could still bring value. Instead of submitting my resume and sitting back, I decided to go out and pitch some companies on forming partnerships with them, and introduced those companies to the hiring manager. I got the offer.

When I was applying for a product design position at Quora, I ran a usability test on the mobile app, mocked up some design suggestions, and sent it to the head of product design.

He emailed me back the same day to schedule an interview.

Apart from jobs like academic professions like medicine or law, job requirements are largely negotiable — you just have to prove that you can bring value to the table.

People who aren’t willing to “break the rules” a little bit usually end up wasting years of time and money trying to achieve a goal they could’ve achieved with a lot less.

2. Prioritize mentorship over everything else

Stanley Druckenmiller, a hedge fund manager, once said this:

“If you’re early on in your career and they give you a choice between a great mentor or higher pay, take the mentor everytime. It’s not even close. And don’t even think about leaving that mentor until your learning curve peaks.
There’s just nothing to me so invaluable in my business, but in many businesses, as great mentors. And a lot of kids are just too short-sighted in terms of going for the short-term money instead of preparing themselves for the longer term.” — Stanley Druckenmiller

When we get out of college, many of us optimize for the short term (i.e. a job at a big company that will impress their friends and family) instead of thinking about long term goals.

We’d rather take that job that pays us $20k more right now instead of a job that’ll put us on track to make $100k in a few years.

Don’t be afraid to take one step back today to take two steps forward tomorrow.

3. The right working conditions matter more than finding the right work

Many of us get excited when applying for a new role, believe that it’s “perfect”, and discover that it too starts to feel like any other “job” a few months in.

That’s because the conditions you work in matters more than the work itself.

It’s about the people you work with. The company culture. The type of people you’re surrounded with everyday. Whether your schedule is structured the way you want it to be structured.

You could have the coolest job in the world, but if you work with people you hate then you’re still going to hate it.

Loving your job isn’t just about finding your “passion” (whatever that means).

It’s about building a dream lifestyle, and finding work that fits that lifestyle.

Personally, I love to travel. I love having the flexibility to structure my day the way that I want to. I love having the chance to relax at rooftop pools when I feel like it.

That’s why I got a remote job.

But there are downsides too. Because I’m moving around all the time, I can’t always take my friends with me. I can’t always build deep relationships with people I meet. I can’t always be surrounded with the same people every day.

If those things are a priority for you right now, then you might not like working remotely.

By focusing on picking the right working conditions, you can make sure that your job never gets “old.”

4. Building a brand is the only way to be set for life

People buy things that make them feel good. We make buying decisions emotionally, then backwards rationalize with logic.

That’s why branding is so important.

Branding is why practically everyone living in Asia wants to come to the US, but everyone in the US wants to live on a beach in Thailand.

Branding is why we still tell kids to go to a good college, even if they don’t need a degree.

Branding is why we’re happy to pay 10 times extra for a white t-shirt with a logo on it.

At some point, we’ll all have to deal with something that throws us off track in our careers. Maybe office politics makes us want to slap the “snooze” button every morning and never get out of bed. Maybe a recession hits and we have to take a massive pay cut. Maybe our company goes under and we get laid off.

But people who have built big personal brands and their own audiences have virtually no problems bouncing back. They’ll always be getting phone calls from companies. They’ll always be getting new opportunities thrown at them.

The best way to build a brand is by getting exposure as much as you possibly can.

“Exposure is leverage.” — Gary Vaynerchuk

After you accomplish anything professionally, get online and write about it. Help someone who was once in your shoes trying to figure things out.

Exposure builds credibility.

The bigger the audience you have, the more people will take you seriously. Opportunities will come to you.

You won’t have to chase them.

Like this post? In my private email list, I share specific strategies to help you:

  • Figure out what your dream job is
  • Make the right connections without coming off as “salesy” (even if you live in the middle of nowhere)
  • Craft your application in such a way that the hiring manager can’t ignore you (even if you’re underqualified)
  • Crush every interview
  • And much more

Sign up here.

Next Story — 10 Reasons Your Boss Hates You. And He/She Is Right.
Currently Reading - 10 Reasons Your Boss Hates You. And He/She Is Right.

10 Reasons Your Boss Hates You. And He/She Is Right.

I had a boss who would push his glasses down on his nose when I walked in and look at me above the glasses.

Like I was not worth focusing on. Like I was half a human.

He hated me.

Your boss hates you also.

HATES.

He takes your hard work and pretends, to his boss, that it’s his work, and uses that to get promotions, money, and love from his spouse and children.

He should love you. But he doesn’t. He hates you.

Why?

Good Work.

If you do good work, he’s afraid you will pass him. Or you won’t give him credit.

Or that someone else will steal you away. Like another company, or even worse, another department within the same company.

How many times has a boss said to you, “Don’t talk to them direct. Talk to me first.”

Many times.

Bad Work.

If you do bad work, it’s all your fault. You’re fired

Paranoia.

He constantly thinks you are talking about him with other employees (he’s right).

So he tries to be your friend (he can’t) but you just pretend.

His Boss.

He hates his boss. Because his boss treats him like shit. And like a father who beats his son, the son will beat the grandson.

Stupidity.

You are smarter than him. He was hired a dozen or more years ago. So he doesn’t know the latest.

He depends on you for your knowledge but is afraid to admit it. So will act like he’s disciplining you in order to pretend to get information from you.

Humorless.

Walter Mondale, the former Vice-Presient of the United States, once said, “People stopped laughing at my jokes when I left office.”

That’s because bosses are not funny. But everyone has to laugh at their jokes.

Friendship.

You have more friends than him. Because, as the cliche goes, it’s lonely at the top.

The reason it’s lonely is because bosses are assholes.

Responsibilities.

He has a mortgage, more kids, and he’s sick. Because he’s older than you.

You have youth and vitality and freedom. He thought money and being a boss would buy him freedom but it’s actually you who has the freedom. He knows it but doesn’t want you to know it.

Sex.

You have sex more often than he has. I’m guessing on this. But I bet it’s true.

You Can Quit.

Quitting is freedom. And it’s easier for you to quit. Where else is he going to get a middle management job paying him $225,000 a year?

He scammed his way into that salary using old-school economics that are disappearing and he’s desperately trying to hold onto it.

But reality is setting in that his boss’s boss’s boss’s boss doesn’t need him anymore. He needs you for $45,000 a year.

MANAGEMENT.

He has to manage down AND manage up. You only have to avoid him in the hallway and in the bathroom.

You have POWER over him. Not the other way around.

You have the skills. That’s why you were hired. Because bosses are promoted to their level of incompetence.

If you have competence, you have control over your career and mission in life.
If you have a mission, you have freedom.
If you have friends, you have a good life.

His mission is to keep getting promoted before he’s fired. He has no friends and no other purpose anymore. He sacrificed purpose in exchange for fear.

And he’s promoted himself into his level of incompetence.

Say “no” to being a boss.

Say “no” enough (while you continue to build competence and a network) and eventually you will be your own boss. And that’s freedom.


Next Story — Find Your Career ‘Sound’
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Find Your Career ‘Sound’

Imagine a studio soundboard — that big deck of knobs and sliders that sound technicians use to mix each track into the best sounding music.

What if you could do that to your job — tune aspects of it until the harmony it created was an exact match for your soul?

Of course, I’m not giving you a free ticket into whatever CEO chair you want, but I am going to help you dig deep in yourself to determine if a CEO chair is what you even want.

I want you to start by forgetting specific jobs, specific companies, or specific people you sit next to on the bus whose lives and outfits you think you want to steal. We need to operate from a clean slate.

Now, we’re going to brainstorm a bunch of job attributes that will become your own personal career-sound. For example, an easy one is Pay. It becomes one of your sliders, and you can move it from high to low. Let’s go ahead and put that all the way up to maximum. Great, this is easy.

Next let’s pick some more. Commute. Easy again — set that one to zero. But let’s get more interesting. What about Peer-dependence — how much your work requires teams or others — with a slider from lone wolf to constant peer interaction. That’s more interesting. Let’s add internal vs. external-facing, technical vs business, individual contributor vs manager, and creative vs logical. Ah, now we’re starting to get some unique sound!

Here’s some other ideas, but you can come up with dozens or even hundreds:

Cause-driven vs cause-agnostic

Big company vs small company

High-autonomy vs directed

Brand-name vs unknown

Specific location vs any location

Stock or bonus-incentive compensation vs predictable paychecks

Indoor vs outdoor

High risk vs low risk

Ambiguous problems vs clear orders

Dynamic career path vs clear career progression

High-learning vs walk-in-the-park

Casual vs professional

Pioneering new ground vs improving upon something

Minimal time commitments vs 100 hour weeks

High visibility vs back office

Etc…

Now you’ve got yourself a sound that’s completely yours. You can look at the specific combinations of traits you’ve created and compare job prospects against them.

Your ideal career sound
This potential job doesn’t sound quite right to you

Ah, but now you’re seeing that no job fits your sound perfectly (unless you’re just that lucky, which is great for you).

We’ve got to go back on the traits we’ve brainstormed and begin to pick what’s critical, important, or just nice-to-have.

Let’s rank all the traits on your list by Most Important to Least Important. After great agonizing between things like high-pay vs. cause-driven, you’ll have a clear ranking of what you want and how important what you want is.

This job makes your soul hear music

Now, when you’re looking for jobs, you can ask recruiters or employees questions that help you determine how well those jobs’ day-to-day activities fit your personal career sound. But instead of asking, “what’s a typical day like?” you can ask, “Does this role have a lot of autonomy and external visibility?” That’s the kind of question that shows you’re thinking critically, and the answer is something you can use to make a decision.

Now, you might be early in your career, in which case you’ll probably need to plot a path between your ideal job and the jobs that tend to lead to it. Or you’ll find that after a few years, you’ve changed your mind about what you want, or how important certain job aspects are. In fact, that will definitely happen. But at least you’ve got grounding in who you are right now, not just what seems cool on TV.

Congratulations, you’re now a certified Career Sound Technician!

Remember, wisdom comes not from knowing the world, but from knowing yourself. I hope this helped you wise up today.


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Next Story — Those Interns Fired for Petitioning their Boss are Better Off Now
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Those Interns Fired for Petitioning their Boss are Better Off Now

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A (former) intern writes to an advice column about getting fired for petitioning their boss for a change in the dress code. They note that they had never held a job before and felt that being fired for petitioning for a change in the dress code was a harsh move on their manager’s part. They are shocked, outraged, sad, and, most of all, confused:

I have never had a job before (I’ve always focused on school) and I was hoping to gain some experience before I graduate next year. I feel my dismissal was unfair and would like to ask them to reconsider but I’m not sure the best way to go about it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

The letter and subsequent response from askamanager.com made the rounds on the Internet pretty quickly. This was yet-another confirmation of a generation of coddled and fragile college students going off into the real world totally unprepared for its realities. Here are a group of students, who are essentially guests at the company over the summer, treating company policy like it is a student government at a liberal arts college. The final line about the dismissal being unfair and wanting to be re-hired after undermining the managers reeks Millennial of entitlement that everybody’s Baby Boomer aunts and uncles like to decry on their Facebook walls.

The responses are not entirely out of place. Clearly this intern needs some work experience to understand that companies develop cultures and have policies for reasons. He or she needs to learn, potentially the hard way, that there are certain things you can change and others you can’t in the world. As the column notes, interns are essentially guests at companies and, as I have noted elsewhere on the Praxis blog, often destroy value when they are only there for a few months (especially interns in soft business areas like marketing, sales, operations, etc., outside of engineering, although even here there is a learning curve). The most value that internship programs provide for companies is providing a funnel for knowing which talent they do and do not want to hire in the future.

Getting a Job is a Two-Way Street

The responses from everybody’s Millennial-hating aunts and uncles do miss a key point, though. Hiring and recruiting are a two-way street. This intern also seems to have missed this point there. Perhaps it is the desperation of college debt and coming out of the Great Recession that lead us to believe that as a young person you must take the first job you come by, but nobody is forcing you to take a job at a company you do not like.

The interns in this case learned a number of valuable lessons — and I don’t mean that in a condescending way ala “I hope you learned your lesson!” when you are in trouble when young. Namely, lessons about culture, recruiting, and value-addition.

Culture is something companies work hard to develop and something that is not easy to alter. It’s a spontaneous order that results from the product of everybody’s actions, but is designed by nobody. Attempts to design it often result in adverse consequences. Managers are not wrong to try to enforce policy that they believe creates the culture they want for their company — and they are not wrong for getting rid of people whom they think undermine it.

On the other side of the coin, the interns should know that not every company has a culture like this one and now know that they don’t want to work at a company like this. Culture is something that matters a lot during the job hunt and should be considered when comparing job prospects.

Recruiting is like dating. If you know the end-game isn’t going to work out, you’d be stupid to keep along with the agony. From the managers’ perspectives, they saw that this wasn’t going to work out and that they should move on. The intern shouldn’t be distraught for having been fired here and want to go back — they know it isn’t going to work out. Going back after breaking up rarely works in relationships — it works even less in work.

Adding value is the most important thing at the end of the day and the thing that will keep you employed. This is a harder point for interns to really grasp and carry out in their work, but the only thing that keeps you from getting fired at the end of the day is whether or not the value you add to the company outweighs the value you extract. When you rock the boat for silly reasons like what you wear, you’re extracting extra value from the company.

Lots of Fish in the Sea

Also like dating, just because something ends poorly doesn’t mean that the world is over. There are lots of companies out there that need good help. If you find yourself in a case like the interns above, just make sure you are good help. Learn from your mistakes, take the instance as an opportunity to introspect and figure out what you want from a company, as well.

Now you know you don’t want to work at companies with stuffy, button-downed cultures. Now you know you want to work at a company that is more horizontal and open to considering interns’ opinions. Now you know you may need some more skills to buffer yourself in an HR dispute. Now you know more about yourself and what you want. This is a good thing.

Different companies produce different cultures. Not everybody will be a good fit with every company for which they work. The companies can filter out the kinds of candidates they don’t want to hire and the candidates can select among the companies with whom they’d like to work.

Kudos to Brandon Schmuck for pushing my assumptions on this matter.

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