Did you ever suggest your kids should seek degrees that would offer better paying jobs?

Hah, very interesting.

Off-topic a little but some have said above how hard it is to get kids to listen to advice, follow rules.

I am not free-range but I am far from being controlling.

Interesting anecdote from soon to be fresh"girl" - she found it rude that her classmates were unable to not look at their phones at a smallish thank you luncheon that their school had arranged. She thinks it was our influence! We have never allowed looking at phones at dinner table. One has to ask for permission to look up something if it moves the convo along.

I told her it was likely other things have rubbed off too but just don’t know what they are.

I think this could be one way to engage kids. Keep the messaging simple and consistent. The college and life guidance not as simple as cellphone etiquette, unfortunately!


Were the three students who raised their hands all heading off to “reach” colleges, while the rest were all heading off to “safety” colleges?


In my son’s case he wasn’t being unnecessarily modest. In his case he was going to Princeton, and thought that he was likely to go into Math as a possible major. Then it is more than reasonable that he will be below the median of the class. The math cohort is known to be exceptional. In college most kids move beyond these labels because many kids are each on their own path. The other two kids were going to Harvard and Yale.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by this statement. As for myself, I don’t think I’ve ever specifically sought out humility in a job candidate. But I do consider arrogant someone who walks into a job interview, for an entry level position no less, and says they already know everything there is to know about the job. It begs the question “why the heck are you applying for it then?”


If someone knows what they are good at and what they are not, and behaves appropriately, they won’t come across as being “humble”. At the same time they are not arrogant. There is a neutral stance here that often gets ignored in discussions.

Okay, I see what you’re saying. I never used the word humble, and @shawbridge only mentioned “a little humbler” in relation to the entitlement issues a few of us were commenting on.

What you are describing I would call poise and confidence, which most would consider good qualities in a job applicant.

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I’ve seen that too. Or kids thinking they’ll be making a ton of money right out of college…sure, SOME graduates do make a lot of money right out of college, but most don’t. In most cases you make more money as you gain experience and move along in your career. Also, grads need to stop comparing themselves to others and to what they see on Instagram. You don’t know people’s backstories…


Not quite safeties. About 35% of the class went to a T20. I would chalk that up to lack of exposure / awareness of the peer group. The top kids in the class were more exposed to their peers in other schools through competitive summer camps, and gave the issue some thought etc.

I agree, @lettiriggi. @neela1, by “a little humbler,” I did not mean meek. My favorite hires are people to whom I can explain the big context of what they are working on and give them a project and they figure things out and exceed expectations consistently. They have to have a lot of confidence.

What I was trying to rule out were the folks who believe that they should be promoted immediately or leading engagements within six months without proving themselves and those who think they know everything.

That is different than poise or confidence.


I think that autonomy can be a key factor for many people in determining long term career happiness. Both myself and my spouse work for ourselves and enjoy what we do, so I’ll be interested to see how much that environment influences our kids’ career choices.

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Confidence is key as is the ability to want to learn. The arrogance side arises when people are narrow in their thinking and don’t want to learn more (or anything) other than the paradigm they believe to be true. It’s a pretty common thing, IMO esp in graduates from top schools. They stop learning before they know much.

It’s pretty rare to find someone who can hold two opinions and be open to learning more especially in younger students. These folks are valuable because they see both sides.

Arrogance doesn’t factor in because they see both sides and they are always learning. This is a common trait in some fields ( consulting is one). People who are open-minded, want to learn and open to others opinions are very desirable. I have also rarely found that they are arrogant as they respect others. The arrogant ones don’t respect other people because they “know it all” and aren’t open to new concepts.

I had dinner last night with the now retired CEO of one of my clients. We served on a board for years before we began working for the client. Great exec – smart, driven, a pleasure to work with. The ex-CEO is very glad to have retired because of the craziness of being the CEO of a big company but still wants to work on projects the problem-solving is so much fun. We may be able to work together on a new engagement I have and definitely on my major pro bono project, so more problem-solving on the horizon, just no CEO job.

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Such an interesting discussion (particularly since I have a kid w/strong artistic interests who - as of now - is keeping it as a hobby and focusing on a more business-related career).

Gladwell seems great at popularizing and legitimizing questionable theories (see “broken windows theory” contributing to over-policing in NYC).