I am beyond fortunate to be able to work from home during this temporary new normal. My home office features a modified dining room table, a hard-working spouse, two “e-learning” high schoolers, two dogs, and two cats. My oldest son is a Junior in High School and has begun to think about his college applications, resume, and the great what’s next.
Watching and working with my son got me thinking about a similar conversation I had with a young man who worked at our company not long ago. He was a terrific guy, personable, funny, smart, and hard-working. We all have professional biographies we include on our website and he was struggling with his. His primary concern was his lack of work history and how, in his opinion, it did not measure up with his professional aspirations. He had graduated from college with a focus in financial planning and had limited experience in this field from various summer internships. We sat down and talked about his entire work experience, some of which he did not include on his resume. I learned that earlier in his life, he had worked in the oilfield where he received some very hands on experience in the oil and gas industry. He was reluctant to share that part of his background. I assured him that we are all the sum of our experiences and that all work is noble and contributes to who you are. I am an investment advisor now and President of a wealth management firm. Do I discuss my experience at a school uniform manufacturing company and a software company when I talk about my background? You bet I do. Many of our clients are executives and entrepreneurs and they appreciate someone who has worked in an operating business setting. Not everyone knows exactly what they want to do when they grow up. But, everyone can learn something valuable from any job on their way to that long-term goal. There are so many stories of future CEO’s who started in the mailroom, or who saved that first dollar from a job they didn’t love but learned to appreciate. We all have to start somewhere.
After our conversation, our intrepid employee began to include his oilfield work in his introduction. He immediately became differentiated and more interesting than many competitors. In the wealth management business in Texas, you can imagine how an oilfield background resonates with a lot of clients and prospective clients.
Edward A. Hart