After 48 hours at Harvard Business School, I was transported back in time to when I was a student facing a big decision: What career should I pursue?
Honestly, I don’t recall where I heard it or where I read it. But, one of the best career advice questions I’ve ever heard is this: “Can you imagine living your boss’s life?”
I’m thinking of this because I met this afternoon with some students. I am not sure how it happened, but I’ve been invited to join the Harvard Business School Alumni Board. I went to my first set of meetings this week.
Amidst sessions with the Dean, some faculty and staff, and some meals with other alumni, we met with some students. It was a great format. We were divided into small groups and discussed topics such as “How to maintain a work-life balance?” and “How to manage stress?”
As someone who now wakes up and is befuddled to find himself a middle-aged person, I wanted to give my 2 cents but not preach. So, I waited for my moments.
I tried to put myself in the students’ shoes: depleted savings, student loans, a desire to do well and do good, and a daunting choice about if they would get job offers and, if so, which one to choose.
It’s a particularly anxious time.
So, my advice to the students was this: Can you imagine living your job interviewer’s life? Can you live the day-to-day hours, do the obligatory tasks and not just do well but thrive? Can you see yourself being happy?
To be blunt: Can you imagine trading places?
So, if you’re interviewing for a new job, I hope that question helps you as much as it helped me.