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VOLUME 2, ISSUE 17

05/26/2020 08:47:37 PM

May26

Alex Libkind

So you have graduated into the worst job market in American history.  In fact, I can honestly say Covid-19 has been the greatest economic disaster the world has seen in at least 50 years.  9/11 mostly effected New York. It made us more vigilant, but it wasn't Covid.  Super Storm Sandy was a once in a lifetime storm. It hit us hard here on the South Shore, but it wasn't Covid.  

So here is the big question: If you could go back and "kill the bat" that started it all, would you? Professor Jonathan Haidt recently asked this question at an NYU symposium ( https://youtu.be/yEa2iqr7p2I).  From the perspective of a recent graduate, the answer - for me would be: I am not so sure.  

What am I nuts?  I just said above it is the worst global disaster in 50 years. Hear me out.

As a graduate, you have been thrown into the Great Reset, as my business partner likes to call it.  Not through any fault of your own, the social contract you signed up for (or more likely your parents signed you up for) has been torn up.  It said something like: Get good grades in high school, go to a good college, get good grades, work a few internships and you are going to get a good job.  Now you need to reset all that.  Reset your goals, reset your ideas, and most importantly reset your expectations.

But what if I told you the Great Reset could be the best thing that ever happened to you.  It does not look like that now, but adversity at your age can have long term, positive effects on your life.  Jonathan Haidt calls this anti-fragility.  A tree that is grown indoors and planted outdoors will fall at the first major wind storm, because it has not been exposed to adversity.  You graduate, are about to experience true adversity, and it will make you stronger for life.

Think of our recent ancestors that survived the Holocaust.  They survived.  They came to the US.  They quietly built homes, families and prospered.  Now that was adversity.  The Greatest 

Generation got its name because it fought through World War II and The Great Depression, came back and literally exploded American prosperity.  Adversity leading to success once again.

So how should you take this new challenge and let it make you stronger?

First, reset your expectations.  You won't get your dream job out of college or your expected salary.  Get a good job.  When you get it, commit to it.  9 to 5? 8 to 6? Whatever it is.  Your boss is giving you a stable income and a chance.  Take it.  Own it.  Go way beyond the job description.  Don't ever say, "That is not my job." Become indispensable.

Second, take risks and be flexible.  Hopefully you find a boss that is accepting of risks.  Take chances, and even if you make a mistake, own up to it and learn from it.  Don't get defensive and G-D forbid try to prove you were right when all data points the other way.  Good bosses respect someone that takes initiative, adds value, and learns from their mistake. Owns your mistakes proudly, don't pass the buck.

Finally, use the tools you were born with.  You are masters of the device. Information is at your fingertips if you just look hard enough.  Connecting to people is easier than it has ever been, and because you were raised on social media, you know how to connect.  For example, Podcasting is a new medium that has exploded and it requires your skills, knowledge of multimedia and ability to find data and tell a story.  Many industries can benefit from your ingrained experience. Experience you have simply by being born into the heart of the internet age.  

New and amazing opportunities are just around the corner.  Own this difficult time and let it make you stronger.  Master the adversity that you have been pushed into.  Then you will be part of the next Greatest Generation. 

 

By: Alex Libkind

Fri, August 14 2020 24 Av 5780