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This week: New York City. I’m writing this on the trip back to Cville, late at night on a slow dark bus mired in stop-and-go traffic from the arrival of scads of snow. The week was plenty of delicious food (French-Vietnamese, a Svedka martini tasting, Righteous Urban Barbeque) offset by miles of brisk city walking. Also terrific visits with a few fabulous friends, although sadly no time for museums or shopping (bad for wardrobe…good for student budget). Oh, yes, and the reason for the trip: attending the Media, Entertainment & Sports Club Job Trek, visiting ABC News, NBC Universal, Hearst and ESPN to talk about their business and career paths in media for MBAs.

Over a delicious deconstructed/gourmet chicken pot pie in a fancy, heated, outdoor clear-ceilinged tent in Bryant Park, a friend passed along the best job advice he’d ever received. “Don’t think of it as a career path – think of it as a career meadow.” One must decide to have a good time with it. And permit the freedom to explore. Wait – what? Career path is what it’s all about, right? A career path sounds organized and directional and safe and reassuring. A career meadow, on the other hand, sound suspiciously like the Deadly Poppy Field in the Wizard of Oz. You know, the one that distracts Dorothy from her one true mission (path) – to follow the Yellow Brick Road (path) to find her way (path) back to Kansas.

Consider Darden as some funky Wizard of Oz/Survivor cross. Deposited in a strange place? Check. Reeling from culture shock? Check. Acquired some fab new walking shoes, met a merry band/tribe of co-conspirators (Learning Team/Section classmates) and began to navigate the tricky and winding Yellow Brick Road/island challenges (life as a FY) under uncertain conditions. And those hallmarks of reality TV that keep Survivor in the ratings, namely intrigue, politics, maneuvering, fiery short-term romances? All abundantly evident at Darden on a daily basis – I’m not sure why reality producers haven’t made b-school their next entertainment frontier.  Someone call Hollywood! Of course, I haven’t seen the man behind the curtain or encountered a band of flying monkeys…yet…. But I do have three more semesters to go, so maybe they save some of the good stuff for later.  

Putting aside the mash-up of classic movies, current reality shows and the personal dynamics of hundreds of Type-A personalities with high IQs and questionable EQs …i like the meadow. In fact, I want a career meadow of my own. And if that means bravening up, pulling up my pinafore and plunging into a crazy Technicolor job hunt, I’m game. Pass the sparkly shoes, please – I can’t think of better footwear for a frolic.

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