Originally published The Daily Riff - March 2010
At a time when college graduates are ready "to launch" away from their academic lives into the world of work,
Dana Levy, founder of DailyCandy.com, gave some surprising advice to college grads in an interview before the humbling unemployment numbers for college grads began filtering through the media:
"When I graduated from college, I really understood that I didn't know anything. In the real world, college doesn't really prepare you for that. That's what worries me a little bit about the present. There's definitely, in this generation, from what I've seen, more a sense of entitlement, a bit of, 'Why should I go work for 'the man' and put in the time when I could have my own blog and do it myself?' And I totally understand that impulse. But there are some key things to learn from the grunt work."
" I think learning to work for people is really important. I think to be a good leader it's key to know what it's like to be an employee, and to have had a lot of the different level jobs where you've been the scrappy little nobody. I've had crazy bosses and I've had wonderful bosses, and it's important to figure out that if you're working for someone who you don't gel with, there can be a way to manage that."
And, finally, when asked what do you look for when you hire:
"What I call the figure-it-the-hell-out gene.You know, it's like Occam's Razor - the simplest answer is usually the best, and don't overcomplicate things...."
" I also like people who have a little bit of an off-sense; they are often more creative and can come up with the unexpected".
"...the ability to prioritize, which I think is more and more important these days, because there's just so much stimuli out there coming at you...."
Read the whole interview: The New York Times - In Praise of All That Grunt Work