As an avid podcast listener, I’ll admit that I judge an episode by its title. The number of available podcasts (and the number of episodes within those podcasts) is overwhelming, so an episode’s title will decide whether or not it’s worth my next 50 minutes.
I woke up this morning seeking inspiration to creatively and effectively market my book, The Coffee Run: And Other Internship Need-to-Knows. In search of this inspiration, I browsed the episode feed for "TheTim Ferriss Show." His most recent episode’s title instantly got me to press play: “Chris Sacca on Being Different and Making Billions.” I wasn’t sold just because Ferriss was interviewing the founder and partner of Lowercase Capital, Chris Sacca (who has a net worth of $1.08 billion -- no big deal) but also because I wanted to know how to be different -- extra different. Who doesn’t want to stand out? Thisepisode was incredibly informational and inspiring, in a non-cliché way.
What stuck out to me the most was Saaca's belief in the importance of “having had at least one shitty job.” My immediate response was, “Why?” until I reflected on my past internships, especially the “shitty” one.
I remembered that you only figure out what you don’t like to do once you have experienced something you didn’t like doing. I didn’t enjoy running down West 40th and 7th Avenue in search of pineapple Greek yogurt for a high-maintenance client, but I did it anyways to prove to myself, my mentor and the snotty woman that made my skin crawl that I was capable of doing what was needed (if you can consider pineapple Greek yogurt a need).
Sacca’s belief in the importance of having worked a bad job is actually one of the things he looks for in an employee, along with a few other characteristics that struck my interest. If he looks for these things in an employee, I decided that he’d look for the same in an intern, to some extent. (Saaca had his first internship at age 12 in D.C. -- see how it’s never too early to start exploring?)
Read on to learn the three things Sacca looks for when hiring employees (and most likely interns, too):
1. Having lived, studied and/or traveled extensively abroad
Realistically, it’s expensive to study, live and travel abroad, but the knowledge gained is priceless. People can get away with a comfortable life in the U.S., primarily because most of us don’t have to struggle with a language barrier. This is why Saaca believes that global exposure is so important: You find yourself overseas and you have to stop and ask for help from complete strangers, which forces us to be vulnerable. He went on to explain how the best managers out there are great at asking for help -- it makes them more powerful managers, not less powerful.
You might be thinking “this doesn’t change the fact that I can’t afford to travel abroad.” Don’t worry -- you aren’t the only one thinking this. There are, however, ways to educate and expose yourself to different cultures right in your city. Research cultures you aren’t familiar with, volunteer for a non-profit that focuses on cultural diversity, and research scholarships to study and intern abroad. Don’t let finances create a barrier for you. The more you familiarize yourself with different cultures, the more well-rounded a person you’ll become.
2. Be physically active
Another characteristic Saaca looks for in hiring an employee is being physically active. He mentioned that athletics is a big part of life but it doesn’t have to be a team sport. Why is this important? Being physically active demonstrates self-discipline and shows that you value and care about yourself. You are also thrown into situations where you have to content with losing, as Tim Ferriss mentioned. You learn how to deal with the temporary pain of losing, which is a valuable lesson you can carry through internships and beyond.
3. Expose yourself to poor people
This is Saaca's hiring qualification that inspired me the most. I learned that a person who is exposed to a poor lifestyle has a more appreciative and positive outlook on life. People are inherently selfish and we easily take what we have for granted. Being exposed to people who live substantially below the lifestyle you experience can alter your perspective and make you a more selfless person.
Sacca’s Hiring Theme
See a theme here? Humility, vulnerability, self-awareness and giving back are what Sacca looks for in a hire -- not your GPA ,nor your college major. It’s incredible how bogged down we can get with things we think will make us an eligible employee or intern, when in reality the act of selflessness matters more.
After this episode I was inspired to market my book entirely for students and interns who could use that “extra push” like the one I needed this morning. Just like Sacca’s hiring characteristics inspired me, I hope that The Coffee Run will inspire you to be the best version of you -- not just for your future, but also for the people you too will one day inspire.
The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Media Village management or associated bloggers. Image at top courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.