The Etiquette Of Seeking Advice

I love helping college students, including from my alma mater, Syracuse University, where I receive a lot of requests. However, I’m perpetually aggravated by email from students requesting “general tips” to succeed. I’m not talking about tips for any specific question or objective, but thoughtless requests for tips to make it in their careers. This tells me one of three things: either you’re not focused, you’ve not done your homework, or both.

Here’s a tip: I’m happy to help and be generous with my time — seriously, I’m honored because it’s a gift to be sought after as such. However, if you’re looking for broad, philosophical advice on how to make it, then you should start by reading some of my many essays right here on this blog. I have my own unique way of viewing the world; I may not be right, but I share my perspectives openly. Importantly, there’s infinite resources on the Web and in libraries and book stores from numerous people smarter than me.

If you believe I have some unique insight, or you’d like to probe my brain on a particular topic, then please DO seek me out. I love focused discussions with specific goals. I love investing time with people who’ve thought long and hard about a topic or problem, and THEN seek me out to engage.

But this tip is applicable to more than college students seeking advice from jaded working people like me. It’s applicable to anyone tapping into the intellectual curiosity and generosity of others.

Bottom line: Take the time to prepare yourself. Ask smart questions.

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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1 Comment

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