Life Lessons and the Future of Office Work

Our teenage son is playing high school lacrosse.  His team had a very intense game.  At a crucial moment, his team got called for a sideline penalty.  After the game (they won by one with a great comeback), we asked him what happened.  Verbatim, he said, “A kid swore on the sidelines.  It was a bull-$*&#* call.”

Without missing a beat, my wife quipped, “That was a good call.  We aren’t sending you to school to learn to swear.  If we wanted you to swear, we’d keep you home and #&(@&@ teach you to swear ourselves.  And we do it better than any kid or school could teach you!”  (Fortunately, she does not suffer the George Costanza-esque affliction as me. I think of what to say a few minutes too late.)  We had a good discussion about keeping your composure during tense situations.  It was a good life lesson for a fifteen-year-old that knows everything. 

As the debates rage on about what the future of office work will look like, I more and more side with the position that most people will be back in the office.  There are a lot of business behaviors that cannot be learned holed up in your basement by yourself and getting on zoom calls.  Just as kids need to be put in situations in order to learn how to act, so too do adults, especially those just entering the workforce.  For example, a young account executive cannot overhear a seasoned professional handling a difficult customer if she is not in the office.  There is a lot of learning by observing that takes place in professional environments.

Do certain jobs allow more work from home flexibility than others?  Of course.  But business is still a contact sport.  To advance your career, you need to be in the arena.  A flexible work schedule does not mean staying at home every day.  It’s time to get back in the $#&&#) office.

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