It seems as a business student we are constantly told that the big companies only hire those who have participated in all sorts of extracurricular activities, joined every club imaginable, and shown leadership qualities in every aspect of their life. Understandably this makes me very anxious. How am I supposed to put in that kind of commitment, attend to normal university studies, and have a social life?
Simply put, the problem I will focus on is: Why do I feel so anxious about rising expectations?
In a search for solutions I begin to think of why these expectations are in place. I can only assume that there is a surplus of graduates, and large firms (possibly even smaller ones) want essentially ‘the best of the best’. Which is understandable. However I start to question the thinking that a more experienced graduate makes for a better employee than an inexperienced one? Why do all these big firms require such an extensive list of prerequisites? You must have an A average, you must have participated in x amount of curricular activities. It’s nonsense. If people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg where all scrutinised under these conditions, I doubt the interviewer would have even let them in the room.
I begin to look upon my readings and find even more contradicting evidence towards the claim that more qualified graduates are ‘better’. Kelley (1988) points out that followers are just as if not more crucial than leaders. Kelley (1988) carries on further to explain that people are leaders in some contexts, and followers in others. So why on earth do all these big firms insist that their graduate employees must have all these prerequisites involving substantial leadership roles? I think to myself of the analogy that goes “too many chefs in the kitchen”, chefs being the leaders in the kitchen, having so many of them would create massive conflict. Realistically big firms should be looking at hiring more people with good followership characteristics (Kelley, 1988).
After putting my thoughts down, and with the assistance of readings it has become clear to me that I should not worry about such trivial things. I’m fine with being a follower or a leader. I believe being able to do both is more important than just one, and I have done both successfully. In conclusion I believe I should take more action to better develop my leadership skills (motivating, assisting, managing), but also continue to grow my follower skills (Self-motivation, intelligence, self-reliance) (Kelley, 1988).
Kelley, R. E. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142--148