Thursday, April 03, 2014

April 3, 2014

Long ago I made a promise to myself that I would not read anything from The New York Times, but I have broken this promise on multiple occasions since. This piece is the latest one benefiting from my lack of resolve. Well, 'benefit' might be a misnomer, since I don't have anything nice to say about it. As the saying goes, if you don't have anything nice to say, move your ass pronto to your personal blog, so move my ass I did.

Let's focus on a couple of things.
Don’t mindlessly favor people with high G.P.A.s. Students who get straight As have an ability to prudentially master their passions so they can achieve proficiency across a range of subjects. But you probably want employees who are relentlessly dedicated to one subject. In school, those people often got As in subjects they were passionate about but got Bs in subjects that did not arouse their imagination.
Students who get straight A's have demonstrated something quite valuable from an employer's point of view: giving their best and excelling in all courses, even the ones which may not have been their favourites (let's face it, even when you major in a discipline of your choice, you will not love all of them. If you do, we get it, you're really exceptional; hold on a sec while I finish this post, I'll go get your candy treat). Replace courses with projects on the job, and you have stick-it-to-vity.
Bias hiring decisions toward dualists. The people you want to hire should have achieved some measure of conventional success, but they should have also engaged in some desperate lark that made no sense from a career or social status perspective. Maybe a person left a successful banking job to rescue the family dry-cleaning business in Akron. Maybe another had great grades at a fancy East Coast prep school but went off to a Christian college because she wanted a place to explore her values. These peoples have done at least one Deeply Unfashionable Thing. Such people have intrinsic motivation, native curiosity and social courage.
Nope, rescuing the family dry-cleaning business or going off to a Christian college to explore one's values is not a Deeply Unfashionable Thing; these are things that get you brownie points in the 'right' circles (and probably help you get laid a lot too, come to think of it. Chicks dig deep guys who explore their values. Not to mention clean laundry). You know what's a really Deeply Unfashionable thing? Taking a year off to explore the dynamics of violence-based sexual relationships by becoming a serial rapist. Try spinning that one in your first interview coming in from the cold.