Forging the Chain of Human Connection

Photo by just a hero

In the spring, I got asked to give a tough-love talk to a group of college seniors about life after graduation. You know, how competitive the job market is and what it takes to make something worthwhile happen, and so on.

I declined. Mainly because the organizers seemed overzealous, saying unflattering things about Gen Y. It felt like a setup.

I see nothing inspiring about herding young people into a room and giving them the “scared straight” treatment, hoping it will improve their prospects. Besides, I’m not a career expert, I’m a cultural researcher and marketer. I declined without a second thought.

Reading Jason Fried’s story about how his opinion piece came to appear in The New York Times brought it to mind. CEO of 37signals, Fried’s post is a parable about how to succeed in business: by being a good person.

Lately, I’ve been tempted when working on client projects to offer some advice to the their young employees. We tackle projects without precedence. It’s tough to keep up the rigor and still be creative with so few givens. But the best opportunities go to people who can handle the pressure and still be kind, friendly human beings. I want them to know that.

Maybe it’s time to start doing a little mentoring of client employees.

Good things could come of it.