Students of America, as a Cleveland native and a campus recruiter here at Protiviti, allow me to make a basketball analogy.
Four years ago, back when most of you were still in high school, I compared LeBron James’s handling of The Decision to the choice that each of you has in responding to an offer of employment. (For a recap of that comparison, see here). Last week, LeBron announced his return to my hometown team in one of the greatest essays ever written (this superlative is admittedly arguable, but not with any Clevelander, so let’s move on). In doing so, he unknowingly provides valuable insight for a campus recruit.
Let’s start with one of my favorite excerpts: “My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball.” Like LeBron, it has taken me several years to come to this realization. Your relationship with your employer is somuch bigger than the tasks that you perform on a daily basis and the paycheck that you receive for completing those tasks. If it’s done right, your involvement with an organization has the ability to elevate your awareness of the world around you, to build your knowledge, to provide a support system, to present you with unique opportunities and adventures, and to enhance your quality of life. It is down to you to select the role and the team that feels like it has that potential.
In reading through LeBron’s message, it is clear that he has based his decision on the things that are most important to him, the things he believes in, and the place in which he feels he can make the most impact. He writes that his decision to return to the Cleve makes him happy. Are there any other priorities that one should have in mind in making such a choice? You have the same opportunity to honor these values as you choose your future employer – do yourself a favor and don’t be swayed by anything less meaningful.
And finally, even the greatest player in the world knows that success does not happen overnight. “I want to win next year,” he says, “but I’m realistic. It will be a long process.” This is possibly the biggest disillusion and the greatest blessing of a career – it is long, and it is a process. You are coming in to the working world with a stellar background, you are prepped and ready to hit the ground running… But in all that remember that life goals are achieved slowly, through hard work and lessons learned, and through the help of a team. It is the game that we all play as professionals and as people. It helps us to evolve over time. As you choose your new home (which may, like King James, already be familiar to you), and as you start down that path, or start again – be patient and committed. Any Cleveland fan will now tell you, the reward will follow!