Lloyd Blankfein's Best Advice For Young People — Forget The Straight Line

Reuters/ Joshua RobertsYesterday at the CII annual meeting in D.C., Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was asked what advice he would give young people starting out their careers in finance and other industries.  

“You have to understand that you can never give your own kids advice,” he joked.  Blankfein has three kids ages 27, 25 and 19.

Here’s his best advice for everyone else, though.  Pay attention. 

“Look, I started out, I didn’t just go to law school, I practiced law.  Things ended up a lot different from where I thought they’d be. I would say people should go to a place and do something that’s for the next period of their life and not to be so obsessive about where it’s going to take you in the longer run. The longer run there’s going to be a lot…Not only don’t you know the context you’re going to face, you don’t even know yourself. And so the idea of planning these things and trying to do things on a course and ‘Will this be good for me in the long run?’  I think people should take advantage of the fact that in this generation nobody’s being drafted into the army. You can have a few years of experimentation that you can be liberated from the need to make sure everything is taking you on some straight line to some place because it turns out not to be a straight line anyway.”

“And also don’t worry about learning the content of your business because to succeed you have to know content of what you’re doing, but you have to be a complete person. I think in the early part of your life you should focus on being a complete person,” he added.

Well said. 

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