Where’d you go to school?

photo courtesy of ifreecan.com

It’s an interesting phenomenon. Where you were raised and the influences of your family often become how you’re judged at first. Are you from the “right side of the tracks” or the wrong? Did you grow up on the Westbank or Uptown? Where’d you go to school?

This often becomes the measuring stick when you talk about your work experience. Where did you grow up and how?

I often make this analogy when I try to explain why someone approaches their job a certain way.

The beginnings of my casino career were with a company that was very rooted in database marketing and the art…scratch that, science…of offers and rewards. The hypothesis was that we could shave a little more off of the offers and add a little more to the slot hold and a customer wouldn’t notice. When you reached the point where the customer did actually notice, you just had to give them a bonus offer and they’d forget all about it.

The next phase of my casino experience was all art and no science…none…at all. It truly was a struggle for me. It was like asking a right-handed person to start writing (well) with their left. It was painful and wonderful all at the same time. I look back on the work that I did and I’m so proud of it because it made me stretch and it made me look at the business of casinos and marketing in a whole different light.

Now, I’m getting to combine art and science. I get to take all of what I grew up with to create some great programs.

So, why am I telling you my career’s life story? I think it’s important to know where your roots are and to appreciate them for what they’ve taught you. It all has to go into what you’re doing today and what you’ll do tomorrow. When I look at potential hires I look at how they grew up in their careers and then I look for the traits and genes they’ve carried forward.

Whenever I wonder why someone looks at something a certain way, I often ask where they grew up. Take public relations as a great example. It used to be that PR was about keeping your name out the news. Then it was about getting “good PR”. My takeaway from my all art experience, was that PR was all about relationships. If you read my post about relationships, you’ll know how important they are to me.

My advice: change neighborhoods every once in a while to learn more. Don’t stay in the same place from cradle to grave unless you’re not interested in learning something different and becoming better at what you do. One single gene does not make for a healthy person. Our bodies are made up of many genes. We’re designed that way for a reason. Only knowing one way of doing things does not make for a productive (healthy) employee. Besides, don’t you want to see more of the world?

Where’d you go to school?

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