BLOG

Fri 22 November 2019
The educational landscape is changing. Universities are adding more courses and degree fields to help prepare students for the perpetually changing professional world.


Purdue and Gallup recently collaborated on a report titled Great Jobs, Great Lives and found that “Graduates who felt “supported” during college (that professors cared, professors made them excited about learning, and had a mentor) are nearly three times as likely to be thriving than those who didn’t feel supported.” 


Having professors that care and professors that made students excited about learning are things that can be monitored by universities internally. Having a mentor, on the other hand, is something that occurs outside of the classroom.


What is mentorship?


Mentorship is the relationship between a pupil and a professional in which the mentee gains knowledge, while the mentor gains the opportunity to pay it forward and give back some of his/her knowledge to someone who will appreciate it.


 Why is it important? 


Mentorship is vitally important to the development of college students because it provides them with a basis for building a realistic expectation for their professional careers.


Mentorship is important to mentors because it provides them with an opportunity to teach, detail their experiences, and talk about themselves. Dale Carnegie said it best “Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”


How can it be implemented in universities?


Mentorship absolutely can be implemented in the college setting. In order to properly implement a mentor system in a university, there are some key pieces of information that need to be kept in mind:

  1. Alumni love the idea of being mentors. When interviewed, a university alumni association informed me that they were able to get over 9,000 alumni to be mentors.
  2. Assuming that all students are prepared to say they want a mentor is a misconception. In the same alumni association with over 9,000 alumni mentors, they were only able to facilitate 100 mentor/mentee connections over a 5 year period.
  3. Just matching a student with any mentor that has the same or similar career as the path the student aspires does not guarantee a successful relationship. There is much more to a successful mentor relationship beyond just matching students’ career ambitions with mentors’ experience.
  4. Students cannot think of mentorship as a job interview. If they do then the relationship cannot thrive because students are not their true, authentic selves when they believe there is an incentive.

 While working with a university’s business school we had them take our 360 degree assessment in which students ranked themselves and their peers on soft skill characteristics like listening skills, communication skills, leadership skills, etc. When the students were told that the report was for feedback purposes only, they ranked their peers much lower on the skills. Yet, when the students were told that their report of their peers (and their peers’ reports of them) would affect their grades, students ranked their peers much higher on the skills.


 Keeping this information in mind when establishing a mentor program at your university is vitally important to achieving your program’s goals.


Therefore, mentorship can be successfully implemented in the university setting if:

  1. The mentors are kept engaged.
  2. The students involve themselves with getting mentors and understand how to build those relationships.
  3. A system is in place to fully understand both the mentors and the students and connect them according to the latest research from experts on the subject.
  4. Students are provided with resources to teach them that a mentorship is not a job interview and that they should be themselves when meeting with their mentors.

Mentorship is beginning to permeate through the university setting as it has been successfully implemented in many companies through internal mentorship (i.e. senior leaders connecting with junior associates). Mentorship in college will not only help individual students learn from mentors but more importantly, help lead society towards careers they are passionate about.


 Will your university be able to implement mentorship successfully?

Fri 15 November 2019
Having a successful mentor/mentee relationship is not easy. There are many factors that play into the relationship between somebody willing to learn and somebody willing to teach.


For career mentorship, one of the most important factors is how both the mentor and mentee view their respective careers.


Typically, there are three ways that people view their vocations. To some, they consider their vocation a job to make money and go home. To others, they think of their vocation as a career where they can grow and develop while still having opportunities outside of work for their personal interests. To the rest, they consider their vocation a calling where they believe that the work they are doing is their life’s work.


The orientation one has about their work is not right or wrong. Furthermore, the same person can have different orientations around different work. For example, if you are working at a company that rotates you from project to project every period, you may find one project career work, another project a job, and another project your calling.


The orientation one has about their vocation is extremely important for mentorship. If a student aspires to pursue a career in marketing and thinks of it as his calling, it would make no sense to connect that student with a marketing professional that considers it her job.


It would leave the mentor thinking that the student has unrealistic expectations for a career in marketing and the mentee feeling jaded and potentially consider changing his career path.


This is just one of many factors that play into pairing the right mentor with the right mentee. If a student is left to their own devices when choosing a mentor, and the only information the student has are mentor names and titles, then their results from this mentor experience are completely random.


The goal of every mentor/mentee experience is to make sure that both the mentee and mentor are left satisfied. Mentors want to feel like what they are saying is being heard and valued by the mentee while mentees want to feel as if what they are learning is relevant to what they can achieve in their career.


Ultimately, if the factors that go into satisfying a mentor and a mentee are fulfilled, a successful mentorship relationship can bring incredible satisfaction to both parties involved and develop into a lifelong bond.

Fri 1 November 2019
Mark Twain once said, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” This sentiment that Mr. Twain held remains true to this day, but can be very difficult to uphold.


For college students thinking about life after graduation, it is very easy to fall into the trap of settling for the safety net of the first job offer they receive after school. This is not to say that the first job offer that a student receives through their career development process is not of their highest ambitions. However, with the conditioning that a typical college student faces from his parents, friends, professors, and the media, it is easy to understand how students can find themselves afraid to pursue their true dreams.
 

  1. The conditioning is bullshit


Conditioning in this sense is the feeling that one must take an action because an external stimulus is influencing that behavior. Some examples of this include pursuing a career only because it relates to your major, not pursuing a career because you didn’t have a high GPA, not considering a company because it doesn’t come to your university to recruit, or not pursuing a company because you don’t feel like you are good enough or have the appropriate credentials.


I was running an Ambition In Motion workshop where we recommend companies to students that align with their strengths, interests, and work environment desires. When one of the students was informing the group of his recommended companies he said:


“All of my recommended companies are amazing but I don’t think they are realistic for me.”


I followed up to him by asking, “Why not?”


He then proceeded to list off all of the conditioning he has received throughout his collegiate years. He didn’t have a high enough GPA. The company didn’t recruit at Indiana University. He didn’t have any connections to anyone at the company.


In response I told him, “Dream big! You are just as human as every other college student that is about to graduate. You don’t have to lower your aspirations because of what other people around you have told you. Your dreams are just as valid as anyone else’s. Through Ambition In Motion, you will learn how to build relationships with professionals at your recommended companies. Who knows what will occur from there, but if you don’t put yourself out there, you will relegate yourself to settling for whatever job offer comes to you.”
 

2. Your dreams and goals are valid

 
When it comes to deciding your career, don’t be afraid to think big! Almost every college student has a similar amount of career experience, give or take an internship or two. That is to say, not that much.


Sure, some universities have more companies recruiting at their career fairs and career development offices. This doesn’t guarantee students at those universities jobs at those companies. It also doesn’t mean students outside of those universities are precluded from those jobs. It just means that students, regardless of their universities, are on an even playing field when it comes to pursuing their dream jobs. Everyone is capable of getting their dream job if they put themselves out there and build relationships with people at their desired companies.


3. Careers are not predetermined

 
If your career was predetermined by your degree, university, GPA, or other conditioning factors, why would we even apply to jobs? To put it another way (and to keep with the season of March Madness), if the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament had a predetermined winner, why would we fill out brackets?


Mr. Twain’s belief about not surrounding yourself with people that belittle your dreams and goals is very important advice that every college student should keep in mind. College students should surround themselves with people that support their goals and ambitions.


Limiting beliefs are only limiting if you believe them. Dream big and pursue the career and life that you would be jealous of.

Fri 25 October 2019
The martial artist, actor, filmmaker, and philosopher, Bruce Lee, was one of the most prominent figures in the world throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. Lee was not only extremely successful at each of these endeavors, but also pursued each endeavor in his own special way. Lee was best known for his martial arts, and rumor has it that he had to slow down his moves so that the camera could catch all of his movements while filming his movies. Lee once said “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”


 Lee’s sentiment about being yourself is something everyone should keep in mind. Straining yourself to be somebody you are not creates immense amounts of unneeded stress. This is especially true for college students pursuing their careers.


  1. You are not a machine that needs to fit the specs of what you think an employer wants.


Feeling like you have to fit in this box of what you think an employer wants based on the feedback you have received from your university, peers, parents, and society is completely understandable. There is a lot of pressure to get a career that satisfies the expectations of your parents, family friends, peers, and society…and then yourself.


For college students pursuing their careers, thinking that you can be yourself and get a job can be a difficult notion to grasp, as getting a job can be quite difficult. It is easy to assume that catering your personality to what you think an employer wants would make you more hirable.


But if you are able to land a job because you have catered your personality to what you think the employer wants, how long can you maintain that personality? How will being this different affect your relationship with your coworkers?


2. Putting on an alternate personality for your career will not last nor be satisfying.


Portraying a persona of somebody that you are not is difficult to maintain, and will not be sustainable in the long run. More importantly, it is not enjoyable. What most college students do not understand is that an employer would rather hire somebody that can enjoy their work and thrive than somebody that is straining themselves to try and fit the mold that they think the employer wants. This is because employers know that happy employees tend to be more engaged and stay longer than those who are unhappy.


How awesome would it be if a company would hire your for who you are? This does not have to be a situation reserved for the extremely lucky. If you are yourself in the interview process, you can feel free to be yourself when you work. Similar to dating, if you put on this façade during the first few dates that you will do all of these marvelous things as a relationship partner that you won’t actually do or want to do, it will lead to dissatisfaction for both you and your partner. On top of that, your partner may not even want all of these marvelous promises that you have made and not continue the relationship.


Wouldn’t it be unfortunate to not get a job offer from a company because the personality you portrayed was not what they were looking for but instead the company was seeking someone more similar to your natural personality?


How important is it to be yourself during the interview process and in your career? Extremely important!


When you feel free to be yourself, express yourself, and have faith in yourself in your career, you can begin to develop a level of comfortability on the job that breeds confidence. Comfortability and confidence are major aspects to building proficiency and happiness in your career.


Ultimately, choose a career that you can be yourself in. Nobody can be you better than you can.

Fri 18 October 2019
When dining at a restaurant, what happens when your expectations don’t meet reality? Presuming you were expecting to enjoy your meal, if your expectation is not fulfilled with what you experienced, you will likely not dine at that restaurant again. In contrast, what happens when expectation DOES meet reality? You enjoy your food, and will probably continue eating at that restaurant in the future.


What happens when employees’ expectations of their careers don’t meet reality? They leave.


For college students, possessing a realistic expectation of their career at a company is extremely difficult because they have never worked in the corporate world before. Sure, many college students have had internships and part time jobs before, but it is not the same as being in a full-time career.


There are many things that college students can do to gain a more realistic expectation of the factors affecting their careers. This blog will cover one of the most important factors affecting the expectations of their careers: MONEY.


When it comes to choosing a career from a list of job offers, many people resort to a mindset of “choose the job that pays the most!” This is not a bad instinct by any means. But is that job paying its employees enough to fulfill their expectations of the type of lifestyles they envisioned for themselves after college? If not, even the highest paying career is not enough to satisfy these employees’ expectations.


What can college students do to have a more realistic expectation of their lifestyle and how much money they should make after college?


They can begin by looking at their current lifestyle. If college students have accustomed themselves to a spend-heavy lifestyle in college (or vice versa and not spend much at all), they will likely live a similar lifestyle when they enter their careers. This is because students have grown accustomed to their lifestyles. Even if their parents, student loans, or scholarships covered the tab on many of the expenses that they are going to have to pay for now, students (and all people for that matter) have a difficult time changing their habits. To prove this point, checkout the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Broke which details the amount of former professional athletes that could not change their lifestyles after retiring and are now bankrupt.


Fortunately for college students, there is an awesome cost of living calculator on Nerdwallet which details the cost of living change from one city to another. By using this website college students are able to calculate their annual living, food, entertainment, and transportation expenses currently. They then can get a really good idea of how much they will spend annually on their lifestyles after college by comparing it to the costs associated with other cities where they wish to live. College students then have to factor in taxes and the amount of money they want to save annually in order to derive the minimum starting salary they need to achieve to live the current lifestyle they are living.


What if the minimum starting salary a student needs to have exceeds the amount of money they have been offered in their job offers?


There are 2 options at this juncture. Either the student needs to find job offers for more money, or he needs to realign his expectations of his lifestyle to meet a more realistic expectation.


By knowing what their minimum necessary starting salary should be, students can then concentrate on all other factors of the career when considering job offers. For example, if you discover that your minimum necessary starting salary is $50,000 (for a specific city) and you have offers for $52,000, $54,000, and $60,000, you can evaluate and compare every other facet of the career (nice employees, opportunities for growth, good location, a culture that seems to fit your personality, etc.) to choose the offer that fits you best among these other factors because you can know that your expected lifestyle will be fulfilled.


By performing this task while in college, students can save themselves a lot of heartache, stress, and time.


When expectation meets reality, satisfaction occurs.

Fri 11 October 2019
In 1914, electricians were noticing a rift in the career advancement of themselves vs. their peers. Some electricians were given easier jobs and greater job prospects because they were friends with managers, owners, and/or other people in power. These electricians were not given these opportunities because of their electrical prowess, but rather because of their relationship with those that mattered.  In May of 1914, The Electrical Worker published that electricians were adopting the phrase “it’s not what you know that counts so much, as who you know!”


This rift the electricians were feeling begged the questions: How do we get to know the right people? Who are the right people? Will people give me any time if they know nothing about me? Are my only connections my family connections?


These questions are just as relevant today as they were in 1914. Tony Robbins has said that “70% of every experience a person will have will come from his/her network”. I don’t know if this information is factually proven, but it seems to make sense and back up the claim that “it’s not what you know that counts so much, as who you know!”


For a professional entering a new industry, a recent college graduate entering the working world, or anyone that is seeking to have more relationships, building a network can be difficult. If you are a person who is seeking to meet new people, it is easy to ask yourself “what do I have to offer?” Without any knowledge, connections, and resources, it is easy to write yourself off as somebody that has nothing to offer.


What you may not realize is that you have a ton to offer in terms of your time and willingness to listen.


PEOPLE LOVE TO TALK ABOUT THEMSELVES!


By seeking to understand another person’s story, you are showing them respect and empathy towards the decisions that person has made in his/her life. Essentially, by listening to another person talk about themselves, you make them feel valued because you care about what they are saying and it is deeply personal to them. No amount of money, connections, or knowledge can make a person feel as great as having someone take the time to listen to them.


Another thing you may not realize is that no matter how famous, wealthy, or powerful a person is, you are not annoying until you receive a response. Thus, be persistent as “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” This could mean sending multiple emails, phone calls, showing up at their place of work, or even writing a handwritten letter.


The people you should be reaching out to are the people in positions that you aspire to be. Jim Rohn once said that “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” If you aspire to be in a leadership position at a company, you should be spending time with people who are currently leaders at the company.


After you know the right people, who those people are, and have taken the time to listen to them, you can then easily transition to being understood. The key to being understood is to clearly and concisely convey what you are interested in doing. You can typically count on the 5 to 1 rule. What this means is that you have to give somebody roughly 5 times as much active listening as they will actively listen to you. So if you have taken 15 minutes to listen to somebody’s story and talk about himself, he will give you roughly 3 minutes of actively listening to what you have to say. Therefore, be concise and clear about what you are interested in.


However, there is a trick to the 5 to 1 rule that can give you more active listening time. If you ask questions to the person you are connecting with on the topic of what you are interested in, you are showing that person respect. By asking questions, you are conveying that you care about what they have to say and value their response. At the same time, you are actively engaging them to think about a response to your question as opposed to just listening to you.


Ultimately, by asking the right questions and conveying your interests clearly and concisely, you are making it possible for that person to recommend other people to you. This is how a network grows.


Whether you are a professional entering a new industry, a recent college graduate entering the working world, or anyone that is seeking to have more relationships, these are some tips to getting your foot in the door. Strictly relying on your friends and family’s relationships for connections is a lot of eggs to put in one basket. Also, since it takes significantly more effort to build relationships on your own vs. via friends/family, you will likely value relationships you built on your own more than those you received from friends/family.  


“It’s not what you know that counts so much, as who you know!” is very true today. However, there are many ways to get to know the right people. Utilizing family connections can be extremely valuable, but the ability to build relationships on your own is paramount to expanding your network.

Fri 4 October 2019
If you are a college student, the process of applying for jobs is relatively simple. You go to your university’s career service website, see what employers have job postings, click apply to any jobs that seem interesting and wait to see if you get a response from any of the employers for an interview. You could also test your luck at career fairs where hundreds of students pour into a venue to have really intimidating, forced, and, for the most part, the same 1-3 minute conversation with recruiters at companies you think you might be interested. Performing both of these actions is relatively simple, and if you are lucky and have a good elevator pitch, you may land an interview.


During this time period of “oh, I should probably apply for jobs” to “Alright! I have 3 interviews”, how much have you learned about any of the opportunities you have applied for? Sure, you may have read a brief 100-200 word description of the employers on a career service website, along with employers’ location, and possibly jobs’ starting salaries. You also probably have a perception of the prestige of the companies and how good having a company’s name on your resume may look.


Are there other factors that you may not know about that might have a huge impact on whether or not you like your job? Factors like how much work is done in groups vs. individually, will you have creative freedom, are there leadership opportunities, will you learn new skills, is there direct access to senior leadership, how varied is the work, how diverse is the workplace, is there a lot of travelling, do you have your own workspace, along with even more factors that you may have no clue about before accepting a job.


As a college student, you have to decide how important these factors are to you and how much of an impact they will have on your career choice.


The difficulty in this task is that this work is purely self-motivated. There is no boss, there is no deadline. You are the only person who will derive the benefit, and have to be able to put in the effort to obtain this information. This is made even more difficult by the fact that the answer to each of these points of research is unique to each department of each company. The accounting department may have an entirely different environment than the marketing department, who are likely completely different from the HR department.


If you consider merely getting a job offer your pinnacle of success, then there is no point to put in the effort to learn whether or not companies possess these factors and how much you value them. But if your definition of success is having a fulfilling career, it might require some additional effort.


The toughest part about this additional effort is that it has to be motivated by you. To your parents and friends, just getting a job offer is wonderful news. The security of having a job offer feels awesome. However, having no clue whether or not you will like the job you have been offered is an issue you have to deal with. You can suppress it and tell yourself that you’ll find another job if you don’t enjoy it or you can embrace it and put in the time to fully understand what opportunities are available to you and which opportunities fit you best.


In high school, it was very clear of what to do to get to college. You get good grades. In college, it was very clear of what to do to get a job offer. You get good grades, internships, and leadership positions in extracurricular activities.


But what about pursuing a career that is fulfilling? This path is much more vague, yet extremely important to achieving happiness in your career.


Ultimately, the more effort you put in to understanding a career before entering it, the more realistic your perception will be of the work. If you do this, you won’t be surprised at the work culture and will be much more satisfied with the work you are doing. Because you knew what to expect, you will likely be happier, more productive, and more engaged in the work you are doing.


Wonderful things can occur when perception meets reality.

Fri 27 September 2019
When I was younger and thought of the Ivy League, I had visions of grandeur and prosperity. I believed that it was the melting pot for the cream of the crop. Books such as Ugly Americans convinced me that students attending Ivy League schools could get a job anywhere. As far as I was concerned, students that graduated from Ivy League schools were leaps and bounds more prepared for their careers than students who graduated from second-tier schools.


This point was reinforced even further by an interview I had a few months ago with a 29 year old professional who was working for an investment banking firm.


Me: “What college did you go to and is that a college your company recruits students out of?”


I-banker: “I went to Indiana University, but my company only recruits students from the Ivy League. I was just extremely lucky to get into this company because my girlfriend’s dad had a connection to the company.”


Me: “Why wouldn’t your company recruit students outside of the Ivy League? I mean, it seems like you are thriving at this company, so why would that be any different from other students that graduate from Indiana University, or any other school for that matter?”


I-banker: “We are looking for students with analytical skills. Plainly, students that graduate from second-tier schools don’t have the analytical skills to properly do the job at our bank.”


Me: “But what about you?”


I-banker: “I like to think of myself as an outlier. I first got lucky that I had an in through my girlfriend’s dad. I then realized that after working with colleagues from Ivy League schools that I always strived for greatness and should have set my sights higher when selecting a college to attend.”


Me: “But by that same logic, could you also make the point that there are other “outliers” just like you at second-tier universities that could achieve similar successes as you have?”


I-banker: “Personally, there are so few students at second-tier schools with the analytical skills to succeed at a company like ours that it is not worth the opportunity cost to recruit at those schools to find the ‘diamond in the rough’.”


After completing the interview, I wanted to get to the facts about this investment banker’s notion. Is finding students with the proper analytical skills at a non-Ivy League university truly like finding a “diamond in the rough”?


Fortunately, Bloomberg has already done much of this research. Interestingly enough, Ivy League students are not far and away more prepared in terms of analytical thinking. In fact, Ivy League schools rank average or just above average for most categories that Bloomberg studied (i.e. ability to work collaboratively, adaptability, communication skills, creative problem solving, decision making, leadership skills, motivation/drive, quantitative skills, and strategic thinking).


After looking at the research and reviewing the responses from the investment banker I learned that there is clearly a disconnect.


Is it fair to students who are getting systematically denied from job opportunities because they aren’t attending Ivy League universities?


Is it fair to companies who are neglecting potentially great student hires because they possess the assumption that hiring Ivy League students will net them better and more prepared employees?


Are there other factors that might weigh more important to successful employment beyond technical skills? For example, leadership and organizational development professors Peter Lok and John Crawford have found an interesting correlation between the work environment of an employer and the strengths/goals of an employee. Employees have higher commitment (productivity, retention, engagement) when the correlation between these factors is high.


If there was a way for students to know which companies had opportunities that matched their desired career goals and strengths and a way for employers to inform students of their work environment, would there be higher levels of successful employment (i.e. both employers and employees happy with their relationship)?


I am not saying that there is not a benefit to attending an Ivy League school, but being an Ivy League student does not necessarily mean you have elite technical skills. In addition, having technical skills is not the only factor that leads to successful employment. Furthermore, employers that possess these ill-informed assumptions may be hindering their hiring decisions.


There is no pure solution to these questions I propose, but they are important things to consider if successful employment is the desired outcome for both college students and employers.

Fri 20 September 2019
A couple of years ago when I was interviewing companies, I would ask a similar question in all of my interviews.


Me (in an interview): “So tell me a little about your company’s culture?”


Recruiter: “Great question. We have a very youthful and innovative culture here at                company. We have casual Fridays and an annual philanthropic event that many of our employees participate in called                        .”


Me: (not trying to pry or insult) “ahh, thanks for letting me know.”


What I really wanted to ask was ‘what the heck does that even mean?’ In defense of the recruiter, that is a very difficult question to answer.


To understand why that is a difficult question to answer, let’s dive into what organizational culture is. According to study.com:


“Organizational culture is a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs how people behave in organizations. These shared values have a strong influence on the people in the organization and dictate how they dress, act, and perform their jobs.”


So, according to the recruiter that I interviewed, she kind of answered the question. Although, it didn’t really help me as a college student who at the time had no preconceived notion of what organizational culture was. The recruiter telling me about her youthful and innovative culture tells me that the company is trying to adapt to the changing future. Her telling me about casual Fridays tells me how the employees dress on Fridays and the philanthropic event tells me how some of the employees act during that once a year period when the event is going on.


But what about the shared values, beliefs and assumptions? How am I supposed to create a picture of what a company’s culture is like without this information?


To play devil’s advocate, if people know about casual Fridays, but think that it is a joke or would rather not change their dress routine for one day of the week, how pertinent to the culture of the company are casual Fridays? If there seems to be a trend that the people who participate in this annual philanthropic event get higher bonuses (maybe because the owner, president, or board started this organization or is heavily invested in this organization), is it really optional and (if it is perceived as not optional because those who don’t participate in the philanthropic event tend to not get bonuses) does it really contribute to the culture of the company? If the only reason the recruiter described her company’s culture as youthful and innovative because she recently hired a bunch of recent college graduates and the term “innovative” tends to attract young people, is the culture really energetic and willing to try new things that shape how business is done in the future? These are hypothetical questions, but questions nonetheless that I am still left wondering as a student interviewing a company (that I don’t feel comfortable asking for fear of insulting).


The reason why asking the recruiter what her company’s culture is like is a difficult question is because it is her opinion.


Organizational cultures are not universally good or universally bad for every person. Just because two organizations have the exact same activities (i.e. casual Fridays and philanthropic events) doesn’t mean that those activities are received the same way at each company by the employees. Some employees may hate those types of activities while other employees may love them and an employee’s love or hatred for doing an activity may depend on who they are doing that activity with (i.e. their colleagues).


Just because a company writes on its website their values and beliefs, doesn’t necessarily mean that the employees share them.


When hired, every person enters the hiring company with a set of values and beliefs. That individual has an influence on the overall culture, but will ultimately have to adapt their values and beliefs to that of what already exists at the company. The individual can either fight those values and beliefs by not seeing how their values and beliefs can be fulfilled through the company or they can buy into the culture of the company.


Many employees for a company fall in between these two choices because they have not taken the time to think about their own values and beliefs and how they pertain to the company in which they are working. Many employees accept their job for what it is without acknowledging or appreciating the little things their company may be trying to do to make their work more enjoyable.


Ultimately, it is up to the individual applying for the job or as an employee within the company to decide what the company’s culture is like. It is up to this individual to understand their own values and beliefs and see how those values and beliefs are being fulfilled by the company. If this understanding can be developed by all or at least a majority of the employees within a company, organizational culture can thrive.

Fri 13 September 2019
Me: “Why are you in college today?”


Charles (college student): “To get a degree that will hopefully help me get a job.”


Me: “How do you know that getting a job is what you want if you have never experienced it before?”


Charles: “Because that is what you are supposed to do after you graduate. I mean I want to make money and not have to move back in with my parents and I have a lot of debt to pay back, so I kind of need a job.”


Me: “Ah, that makes sense. Well, considering that you could make money at any job and could therefore likely not have to move back in with your parents and be able to begin paying off your student debt, are there any other factors that play into your job search?”


Charles: “Well, I will probably get a job that pertains to my major because that is what companies hire for, so my major plays a factor in my career decision.”


Me: “How did you choose your major originally and do you like the classes that you are taking for your major?”


Charles: “I chose my major because people with my major have one of the highest job placement rates of all majors. However, I don’t really like the classes that I am taking, but I only have 1 more semester to go before I graduate so I figure that I can muster through it.”


Me: “Through your logic of applying for jobs that hire for people with your major, is there a chance that the work you would be doing in your career could be very similar to the work that you are doing in your classes?”


Charles: “That is very possible, but I figure that with the money that I will be making and having a prestigious company on my resume, that I wouldn’t mind working through it for a year or two. Once I quit, I will probably be able to easily find another job because I have that prestigious company on my resume.”


Me: “So you are going into your job with the anticipation of quitting?”


Charles: “Well, ya, I mean a lot of people do that.”


Me: “Similar to how the company that will hire you out of college will hire you because of your major, have you ever considered that the company that hires you after you quit your first job might be hiring you to do the same exact or similar job as what you did with your original company because of your experience doing that work?”


Charles: “I don’t know, I guess maybe, but if I really didn’t like the job I do after college then I won’t look for jobs that are in that field.”


Me: “If that is the case, then what is the value of having a prestigious company on your resume if you plan on quitting and if you don’t like it you will look for jobs outside of that industry that won’t value your experience at that company on your resume?”


Charles: “I have no clue, I haven’t really thought that deep into why I want to work this type of job outside of the money and the resume building.”


The career outlook that Charles has is very similar to many students that I have interviewed over the past 2 years. College students believe that the reason why they go to college is to have a degree that gives them the credibility to get a job. The issue with this mindset is that college students go to college to get a job but get a job because they went to college. All along the way, college students are pursuing careers that they have no clue why they are pursuing (except for the fact that it pays them money).


What I really wanted to ask was “what else do you Charles (or any other college student) value beyond the money?” It is not that making money is wrong, but you can make money at ANY JOB. Why doesn’t college work towards helping college students understand why they want to pursue the career they are pursuing? Helping students understand their values, beliefs, feelings, and aspirations cannot be measured with a test score but are vital to understanding why an individual does what they do.


College teaches students many valuable skills and much knowledge, but if the only reason why students are in college is to get a job offer, what motivation do students have to learn about topics that they want to learn about (not topics they are forced to regurgitate on an exam for their major and then forget about shortly thereafter)?


Colleges are beginning to implement soft skill development with their students because companies have complained that many recent college graduates lack those skills entering the workforce. These soft skill development classes are required courses for one’s major in which students are told to perform actions like goal setting, time management, networking, etc. These skills are vital skills to learn but are only valuable if the person developing these skills understands why they are valuable beyond that passing the course will get them closer to getting a job.


The “why” is lost in college today and its effect is obvious. With over 70% of Americans either not engaged or actively disengaged (a majority of which are recent college graduates) in their careers (Gallup), 80% of Americans unsatisfied with their jobs (Deloitte), and the fact that the average American changes vocation over 15 times in their life (Bureau of Labor Statistics) it is blatantly clear that something wrong is occurring with Americans and their mentality on their careers.


Socrates believed that “you don’t know what you don’t know” and Warren Buffett once said that “getting a job so then you can have it on your resume is like saving up sex for old age.”


As a college student, it is easy to fall in love with the security of having a job offer. Spending 4 years of one’s life living up for that day that a college student gets a job offer is a lot of built-up anticipation and energy for something one has never experienced before. And if the college student is only getting the job to boost his resume and move on to something later, there is no intrinsic motivation for improving his career.


College is one of the most pivotal times in a person’s life as it is the time when a majority of the habits we hold for the rest of our lives are formed (for better or for worse).


Understanding “why” one does what one does (i.e. one’s values, beliefs, feelings, aspirations) will allow an individual to begin the building blocks of the change he wants to make in his life and the world.

Recent Contributors


Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Brad Finkeldei
Brad Finkeldei 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Andrea Butcher
Andrea Butcher 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Susan Lindner
Susan Lindner 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Annie Meehan
Annie Meehan 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Shane Matthews
Shane Matthews 2 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Nick Van Horn
Nick Van Horn 2 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Megan King
Megan King 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson 2 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Chip Stapleton
Chip Stapleton 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Geoff McCuen
Geoff McCuen 2 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Aaron Grady
Aaron Grady 3 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Chaundra Covington-Rousseau
Chaundra Covington-Rousseau 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Vishal Kinkhabwala
Vishal Kinkhabwala 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Shontal Linder
Shontal Linder 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Bob Torstrick
Bob Torstrick 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Brandon Gaydorus
Brandon Gaydorus 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Dr. Colonel Solis
Dr. Colonel Solis 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Hallie Crawford
Hallie Crawford 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Evony Caldwell
Evony Caldwell 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Aseba Green
Aseba Green 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Rob Studivan
Rob Studivan 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Christy Wolfe
Christy Wolfe 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Dr. Toscha Dickerson
Dr. Toscha Dickerson 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Frank Mengert
Frank Mengert 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Janice Porter
Janice Porter 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Yvonne Heath
Yvonne Heath 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Andrea Constantine
Andrea Constantine 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Emma Kerr
Emma Kerr 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Wanda Thibodeaux
Wanda Thibodeaux 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Ashley Fontaine
Ashley Fontaine 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by JT McCormick
JT McCormick 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Adam Posner
Adam Posner 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Lou Adler
Lou Adler 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Nick Smarrelli
Nick Smarrelli 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Jayne Fouché
Jayne Fouché 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Nicole Martin
Nicole Martin 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by David Elfman
David Elfman 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Joanna Severino
Joanna Severino 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Bree Deforest
Bree Deforest 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by John Boitnott
John Boitnott 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Andy Pham
Andy Pham 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Garrett Mintz
Garrett Mintz 50 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Nicole Martin
Nicole Martin 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Ashira Prossack
Ashira Prossack 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Emilio Lorenzo
Emilio Lorenzo 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Caroline Ceniza-Levine
Caroline Ceniza-Levine 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Lexi Herrick
Lexi Herrick 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by David Meltzer
David Meltzer 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Lauren Schieffer
Lauren Schieffer 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Evangelia Leclaire
Evangelia Leclaire 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Heather Wilde
Heather Wilde 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Judith Humphrey
Judith Humphrey 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang
Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Charmaine Hammond
Charmaine Hammond 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Kathy Caprino
Kathy Caprino 2 articles

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Erica Ballard
Erica Ballard 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Jordan Paris
Jordan Paris 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Marcus Wermuth
Marcus Wermuth 1 article

Blog for Mentors and Mentees by Vinay Singh
Vinay Singh 1 article

Building Mentor Connections Through Work Orientation

Kickstarting Mentorships For Fulfilling Careers