One source of material for these posts over the years has been the things Melissa and I have heard from employees that took us by surprise. This one is among my favorites, after the fact. We usually hire recent college graduates for our Research Associate position. Many years ago, we hired a typical, fresh from school, young woman. She had grown up in Canada, then moved to south Florida, was very bright, and a good worker overall. She had been working with us for a short while when the opportunity, no, really need, came for the research team to travel by airplane (remember those days?) to a research project. We discussed that we’d be flying to the trial venue, and she said, “I’ll have to ask my parents if I can fly…” Melissa and I were speechless! We were dealing with a young adult in a professional job (albeit, her first) and she was holding up everyone’s plans in order to get permission from her parents to travel, to fly, as one of several people on a research team! (It wasn’t that she had never flown, she had just never flown without her parents.) I could not imagine telling an employer anything of the sort! Yet, here we were, forced to respond to her and explain that we did not employ her parents. Their preferences were not part of the deal. The job is where it is; we go on the road and in the air for projects. This was another example of “you just never know what you’ll hear next!” By the way, she figured it out and flew with us. Her tenure with us was normal, and as expected. She left to go to pharmacy school – and I’m sure she did great there making her parents even more proud.
Many people have asked me if I have any kids. I don’t know why they ask this personal question, but I always respond with, “Yes, I have had between 40 and 50 kids; they are of were my employees.” As David said, recent college graduates have been Magnus’ Research Associates since we founded Magnus in 1993. Everyone we have hired has been young, bright, and enjoyable to be around. However, at the same time, they have all been inexperienced, lacking in wisdom that comes with living life, and some of them have lacked basic common sense (such as how to get from Point A to Point B). The young woman David describes is named Natalie and, despite her inability to fly without her parents’ permission, she turned out to be a wonderful employee over the years she worked for Magnus. She also had another funny quirk that I attributed to inexperience and perhaps, over protective parents. She had never, until working for Magnus, ridden in a taxi! When she and I flew to work in a faraway city and we needed to get from the airport to the place where we were worked, she panicked when she realized we would have to take a taxi to our destination (this was before the days of ride sharing). How, I wondered, did she think we were going to get where we were going? Thanks to my parents, I was exposed to planes, trains, boats, taxis, and subways early in life. During our travels, my dad thought it was fun, as well as educational, for me to learn how to navigate with various forms of transportation. And, I never had to ask permission, as an adult, to do anything. That’s what being an adult is all about!