Q. What’s your best career advice?
A. Don’t be afraid. What I mean by that is lots and lots of decisions are made by fear and they’re made by people who think they have more to lose than they actually have to lose.
When you’re just graduating from college, there are so many people who want to start something. They’re worried if I do this I can’t get a job, how will I live, this and that. They have very little at that point that is really going to be risked for them to sort of make a bold try.
I mean, ultimately, if it doesn’t work out, if they were employable in the first place, they’ll still be employable afterward, and they’ll be able to do something. They aren’t going to live in a cardboard box in the street.
I think business school students are comical in this area. If you go to business school or probably law school or any professional school with these highly motivated people, they are stressed out of their minds. Like, they’re going to be homeless if they don’t get an internship in the summer.
You’re going to be O.K. But everybody just has a very hard time calculating the actual risk. People just greatly miscalculate risk, in my opinion. They are too afraid of things.
Or even when they’re at a job, they might have a controversial point of view or a controversial decision, and they’re so scared of getting fired that they don’t actually try and act on that.
I think that’s harder to say in this environment, given the economy and where unemployment is. Perhaps that needs to factor into people’s risk assessment. But on the whole, many professional people are more worried and more afraid than they should be.