success robots

I go to schools a lot, have taught at uni­ver­si­ties and seen a ton of great kids and pro­fes­sors who’ve re­ally sacrificed them­selves to teach. A few years ago I worked for a few months at an Ivy League school. I ex­pected a lot of ques­tions about pol­i­tics, his­tory and lit­er­ature. But that is not what the stu­dents were re­ally in­ter­ested in. What they were in­ter­ested in — it was al­most my first ques­tion, and it never abated — was net­work­ing. They wanted to know how you net­work. At first I was sur­prised: “I don’t know, that wasn’t on my mind, I think it all comes down to the work.” Then I’d ask: “Why don’t you just make friends in­stead?” By the end I was saying, “It’s a mis­take to see peo­ple as com­modi­ties, as things you can use! Con­cen­trate on the work!” They’d get im­pa­tient. They knew there was a se­cret to get­ting ahead, that it was net­working, and that I was cru­elly with­holding success­ful strate­gies.

Peggy Noonan