Dear Dr. Bart, I have always wanted to be a diplomat. I know this is a somewhat difficult field to get into, but I thought that HBS might give me a leg up on the competition. What advice can you give me in getting started?
– Gretchen Mindo, NF
Well, let’s see, Gretchen. One thing that comes to mind is that you could drop out of school and try to enroll in a program that actually has something to do with your goals. But then that would require effort and sacrifice. So, instead, why don’t you put a nickel under your pillow for the Diplomat Fairy? No doubt she will sense your vast innate potential and give you a job! If these approaches fail, you might try pursuing another career that is equally plausible, such as ballerina or commissioner of baseball.
Dear Dr. Bart, I was a McKinsey consultant for two years before joining The Harvard Business School. I am interested in making a career switch into marketing. I am disappointed, though, that most of the entry-level jobs are relatively low on the totem pole-for instance, “Assistant Product Marketing Manager.” How can I convince employers that I can handle more responsibility (and deserve more pay)?
– Kent Nabler, OD
Dear Kent, jeepers, it sure surprises me that Fortune 500 companies don’t want to give you a ton of responsibility! You were a McKinsey consultant for two years, after all! I bet there is hardly anyone alive who can fill a PowerPoint document with graphs faster than you, Kento! You must be a whiz at computing the number of potholes in Baltimore-in your head and on the fly!!! Jumpin’ Jehosophat, someone call BusinessWeek, because I think a grave injustice has been committed here! Kent, all I can tell you is to keep watching the Job Bank until the right Chief Marketing Officer job pops up-don’t settle for anything less, buddy!
Dear Dr. Bart, I am considering a job offer from a firm in New York. I think I’ll really like the job and the people. The only downside is the money-it only pays $85,000, which frankly isn’t that much in New York. I see my friends get much larger offers in smaller cities, and I have to admit it gets to me. What should I do?
– Mike Cutlinger, NI
Dear Mike, the first thing you can do is listen carefully … do you hear that crackling noise? Can you hear it? That’s the sound of the world’s tiniest violin being broken up into firewood so I can set myself aflame for your cause. Mike, I don’t know too much about the Geneva Convention on Torture, but I think you have a case here, partner! “Hey Kofi, this is Dr. Butler! Listen, we’ve got a problem: Mike’s gonna have to live on 85 grand a year. Can we get the French to send over some free wine and cheese?” Mike, listen to me, HBS people don’t live below the poverty line, OK? This isn’t a homeless shelter we’re running here, pal. Find another job that pays a real man’s salary.
Dear Dr. Bart, people always give me advice that I should follow my passion and pursue my dreams. Well, my passion has always been painting. Is there some way I can combine my passion for painting with a career in business?
– Katy Fauntelroy, OA
Dear Katy, you know what my passion is? Giving advice to mental retards. Hey look, if I can follow my passion, so can you! No doubt there are scads of lucrative and artistically satisfying jobs in the field of painting! There is no reason to let the external world’s “reality” interfere with your career decision! Hey, reality is just a mental construction, and so is your painting management position! So just think about it real hard, and it will be real! Katy, don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not possible to have your fantasy job, because they are dead wrong! Look at all the janitors and waitresses and slaughterhouse workers who managed to land their dream jobs! If they can do it, why can’t you?
Dear Dr. Bart, it is such a frustrating job market out there. Five years ago, recruiters would have been kicking down our doors to offer us $40K signing bonuses. It just doesn’t seem fair. I paid a lot of money to attend this school, and now I can barely find a job!
– Jake McIntyre, NB
Dear Jake, hang on, it’s my other line-I think it’s Jenna Jameson calling me to complain about her sex life. [pause] Oh, no, it’s actually Warren Buffett–the vending machine took his quarters he’s pissed!. Anyway, sorry Jake, back to you, buddy. You HBS people have got it rough on the job front! I empathize 100%! Here’s what you need to do: Cryogenically freeze yourself in a super-cold lockbox and send me the key. When the world economy comes to its senses, and starts paying people like you what you’re really worth, I will open the lockbox and thaw you out in a very large sink. In the meantime, I will siphon off enough food aid from Africa to have a big fat $50K signing bonus waiting for you when you wake up. And, yes, Jake, it will be indexed to inflation!