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Mind your own business

Hey – you’re the career rep – stop reading this and help me find me a summer job.
All right, as I feverishly work to field an intramural basketball team from my section, I have found that most people I ask would rather get another flu shot than join the team. I suspect one of two things. Either Section F does not want to join because we amassed just two wins between our football and soccer teams, or more likely, this is a school-wide motivation problem that requires immediate resolve on our parts. I have really been thinking about it – and I think I have found some fail-safe responses to the numerous excuses you will no doubt encounter.

I don’t play basketball – I’m terrible.
The trick here is to take this person out in the hall and ask them to point out all of the 7’2″ players walking around that they will likely have to play against. Most probably they will instead see me on my tiptoes trying to get the mail out of my box and of course dropping it all over the floor. My 170 pounds of uncoordination will certainly settle their nerves. They may even realize that the majority of us at HBS are not on a basketball scholarship.

I want to see that consulting company presentation.
This one is easy. Just jump on the career web site and show them that the company will do the same brief Wednesday at lunch, again Thursday afternoon, on Saturday at wine tasting, at next week’s practice case interview workshop, at the consulting career fair, on every trek, at Cyberposium, and at an expensive French restaurant in Boston. No doubt during one of those events, your section won’t have a game or practice scheduled.

I need to study.
Come on. Statistically there is a 1.18% chance that you will be cold called, a 50% chance that you will be able to take a wild guess that will satisfy the prof, and a 4.2% chance that the guy at the end of the row will raise his hand and bail you out.

I might be there.
Caution. This is code for “I won’t be there, but I want to you to stop bugging me.” I have found that guilt trips work best here. Like – “you’re a life saver, now we won’t have to forfeit.” That sense of duty that got them to HBS will force them to lace up the high tops.

I like to sleep after class.
OK, if they have not mastered the art of sleeping with their eyes wide open during class, you don’t want them on the team anyway.
If none of this works, remind them of these things:
oAthletic teams create strong bonds and are a great outlet to interact with classmates.
o Intramurals are a fun way to get some exercise.
o Expectations are low and like the classroom, intramurals are a no-risk environment.
oJesse Jumpshot makes $3MM doing this stuff.
I’ll see you all on the courts. If you can’t find me, I’ll be the one missing that lay-up on the wide-open breakaway.

January 29, 2001
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