Grads: ‘Don’t Be Afraid’

Career trepidation is building as college graduations get under way.  In the “good old days”, most college seniors knew where they would be working their fist job before the end of their final semester.  Today, most estimates suggest only two in five 2010 grads already have landed jobs, mostly internships.

Over the past year, I’ve talked with several students whose ultimate career goals are entrepreneurial focused, but they are are postponing their business ideas in order to seek 9-to-5 jobs.  Of course, financial demands drive such decisions.  But too many table their entrepreneurial pursuits until it’s too late to do so.  (I know, since I passed on at least three business ventures myself over the years, and often wonder what might have been).  Even if a “regular” job must fill the financial gap between now and what you ultimately want to do, this is one of the best times to begin pursuing laying the groundwork for your entrepreneurial goals–especially if little capital is needed. 

Encouragement to overcome fear is offered by Omar Hamoui, founder and CEO of AdMob,  a mobile advertising network, who is featured in the Corner Office column of The New York Times.  The entire interview is worth reading since Omar is an unusual CEO, who exemplifies leaders of the future–entrepreneurial and fully engaged in every aspect of their companies. 

  Omar Hamoui 

Here’s Omar Hamouri’s response to the question:  “What’s Your best career advice?”

A.  Don’t be afraid. What I mean by that is lots and lots of decisions are made by fear and they’re made by people who think they have more to lose than they actually have to lose.

When you’re just graduating from college, there are so many people who want to start something. They’re worried if I do this I can’t get a job, how will I live, this and that. They have very little at that point that is really going to be risked for them to sort of make a bold try.

I mean, ultimately, if it doesn’t work out, if they were employable in the first place, they’ll still be employable afterward, and they’ll be able to do something. They aren’t going to live in a cardboard box in the street.

I think business school students are comical in this area. If you go to business school or probably law school or any professional school with these highly motivated people, they are stressed out of their minds. Like, they’re going to be homeless if they don’t get an internship in the summer.

You’re going to be O.K. But everybody just has a very hard time calculating the actual risk. People just greatly miscalculate risk, in my opinion. They are too afraid of things.

1 comment on this post.
  1. Jamie Kim:

    Hi Ron,

    I wasn’t aware of the Corner Office Column before reading a blog post you wrote a while back with a quote from a CEO. Since then I’ve made it a Monday morning ritual to seek out the advice and insight of those featured in this column, especially toward the end of the interview where the question “How do you hire” is asked. It’s been a great resource and motivation, so thank you for introducing me to it!


Leave a comment