When I was 23 in 1970, I met with Al S, the head of personnel at Fairchild Publications (employees were called “Personnel” before we became “Human Resources”) for a job interview. The position open was for an assistant on the copy desk, which meant I would sit with a group of people who wrote headlines and edited copy for one of Fairchild’s business newspapers and keep a log of all the articles and their headlines. It was a glorified clerical job.
I automatically–and incorrectly–assumed the job with with Women’s Wear Daily, the “bible” of the fashion industry. When Al told me it was with Home Furnishings Daily, I was crest-fallen. “Yick, I thought.” Al must have sensed my dismay, because he said: “It’s just like WWD, but in the home furnishings industry.” Oh, okay, I thought. I had no interest whatsoever in home furnishings, but I wanted to get my proverbial foot in the door since Fairchild was supposedly a great place to work for budding journalists.
It was, and there I stayed for a total of 23 years, rising through the ranks to become VP of Publishing. Although I worked at WWD at one point, I didn’t like the fashion industry nearly as much as the home furnishings business.
Many twenty and thirty somethings today hem and haw if they’re not offered the exact job they think they want. They also don’t want to pay their dues by starting on the ground floor.
One young woman I know wants to be a financial analyst. When she was offered a different kind of job at a financial company, she considered turning it down. “You’ve got to take it.” I told her. “The salary and benefits are excellent. You will have the chance to learn about all aspects of the company once you’re there. Do you realize how many people are out of work?” She accepted the job, thank goodness. If she’s sensible, she’ll go in there with a completely open mind and absorb as much as she can, meet as many people as possible, and do her job enthusiastically.
Have we spoiled our children? I, for one, would answer: “Without a doubt.“