In grad school, there are students who get job offers early on and there are those who don’t. This past recruiting season was brutal. Likening my experience to the first four minutes of Quantum of Solace does it no justice. At least not to James Bond anyway.
Looking back at my year, it is a lesson in humility. I submitted applications, made it to final round interviews, and pulled some offers. Eventually, I hit gold and got the ideal job. Throughout the process, I had the opportunity of seeing what did and didn’t work for myself and other candidates.
In the spirit of Charlie Munger’s inversion mental model, I decided to embark on this exercise. Munger is Warren Buffet’s alter-ego and his exercise of inverting decision-making has helped me succeed. So what did I learn? I learned three definite ways to not get hired. I came across these three principles that will ensure fastidious ineptitude.
Lesson 1: Be Unreliable
Do not remember the times of your interviews, the names of your interviewers or job opening title. Assume your mobile phone is an extension of your brain and allow technology to dump you in research rabbitholes instead of empowering your search. Targeted LinkedIn networking and combing a firm’s online presence can’t compare to today’s Buzzfeed post. Master this one habit, and you will master the art of “the ding”.
Lesson 2: Compare Yourself to Others
Assume other people are always way smarter and more talented than you. Once you make this assumption, spend well over half of your day trying to find out what they’re doing. It’s the best way to run around in circles and not get shit done.
Don’t forget to apply for every job that sounds remotely prestigious – just because it sounds prestigious. So what if your role is basically becoming a pitchbook/Excel ninja and PowerPoint aficionado – won’t that sound cool on your Twitter? Don’t even bother figuring out your value prop or what you bring to the table. Remain burdened by others successes.
Lesson 3: Cling to Your Childhood Beliefs
You know how the world works, so why would you ever need to learn from experience? After interviews, move straight to the next one. Don’t reflect at all because it’ll cut in to your time until the next one. Don’t learn from your peers’ experience, you’ve got a great resource that rhymes with fallstreetoasis to dictate your every move instead. And the great news, is that all your competitors are reading it to! Assume that because you graduated (with debt) you are owed the right job. Clinging to what you think you know instead of learning vicariously through others is the best way to inflate the unemployment statistic.
And Most Importantly…
When Life Plays Hardball, duck and duck fast! This is the key to getting a free ride into Ding-land. If you will just master this one habit, you will more than counterbalance the combined effect of all your virtues and ensure yourself a lifetime of failure.