Don’t be a cocky idiot…

Let me make one thing clear…. as a young professional you don’t know it all (and as a young professional myself, by transitive relations, neither do I).  After working for a few years (although some of us are faster than others), you realize that you don’t have all the answers and that experience really is a good thing.

Someone should probably pass this message on to Aaron Levie from

Take a look:

Besides the name we share (and a certain level of respect for what he has accomplished with his company, including raising $113 million in VC money), I don’t see too much to applaud in terms of his mindset.  While I would like to think his statement was taken out of context, experience with some peer young professionals has told me that he just may be delusional.

Mr. Levie, who had 2 internships (one 4 months and the other 3 months), all of the sudden feels he understands how all businesses work compared to people a year younger than him that have “no context for the enterprise.”  7 months doesn’t give him much more of a “context” to understand the issues of “real workers.”

Recently I moved up to the General Manager level of the Fortune 10 company I work at.  While there were times when I thought I understood it all in lower level positions, once making this transition I REALLY realized that I definitely did NOT (and I am in enterprise strategy).

Mr. Levie made two cardinal mistakes that many YPs (young professionals) make, (1) he had the attitude that he knew it all and deserved to be respected and admired after only a couple of years in the working world and (2) he decided to be vocal about it.

If you see yourself starting to think the same way Mr. Levie thinks, take a step back and put things into perspective… and more importantly, don’t tell a reporter that is how you feel.

Bottom line, don’t be like him.  Realize that you don’t have all the answers and don’t run your mouth about how you are so much better than people with only one year less of experience.  Value your experiences and look for lessons out of each one, they will definitely help you later in your career.

Until next time, Mr. Business, OUT.


About Young Professional's Edge (YP Edge)

Aaron McDaniel is a corporate manager, entrepreneur, author, public speaker and community leader. Aaron has held numerous management roles at a Fortune 500 company, being appointed Regional Vice President at the age of 27, and is the founder of multiple entrepreneurial ventures. He is also the author of the book, The Young Professional's Guide to the Working World ( Aaron instructed a highly rated student-led course on leadership at UC Berkeley’s Haas Undergraduate School of Business and has a book, The Young Professional's Guide to the Working World: Savvy Strategies to Get In, Get Ahead, and Rise to the Top, due to be out later this year. Aaron offers advice that helps young professionals build the foundation for a successful career. Visit his blog, to learn more.

Posted on September 1, 2011, in Lessons Learned, Solid Advice and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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