Looking back at my high school and college days, I can’t help but wonder if there are things I could have done to accelerated the learning that happened in my 20’s. I notice that some kids coming out of college are super impressive and “get it” and others are more in line with expectations.
Thinking about my own kids, I focus on what can I encourage them to do that could trigger the acceleration of some worldly wisdom. The obvious answer is entrepreneurship. I try hard to teach them that they don’t have to work for someone else to make money… that to make money, you just have to decide that you want money. Then figure out how to get it.
But there is still so much value in working for other people, especially when you’re young. Here are some jobs that I think if I had had them on the list, they would have been valuable for me.
A Gopher / Personal Assistant to someone successful. I’ve know several entrepreneurs who point to a single person they worked for in this capacity. Someone who takes you under their wing and treats you with tons of respect and helps you because they see that you work hard for them.
Intern at a Wealth Management Office. If only I had learned 15 years earlier the value of a connected and powerful network for my own trajectory. It’s hard to find a better place to build this network than the place where they go to manage their money.
General Aviation / Private Jet ramper. So maybe there is one other place where you could build this network… at the airport, helping the movers and shakers fuel their jets, warm their coffee, ice their in-flight champagne.
Lots of people will point out the golf course as another place where young people can build this network. I actually did work at a golf course in high school, and I agree. The trick is getting in the right job where you can build a network. Caddies are fantastic. Cart guys like myself usually have such a minimal interaction with the golfers that it’s hard to build any meaningful relationships.
The bottom line is the importance of learning the value of a personal network. I didn’t appreciate it soon enough and how incredible life can be if you know the right people in the right places with the right kind of relationships.