Published by Nelly Carson
At our firm and Carson Group, we are GROWING. Not in the slow, leisurely way you meander down the sidewalk when taking your human for a walk, but in the fast, chasing after a mailman who has dared to step foot on your lawn kind of way. While it’s exciting to welcome so many new clients to our firm and new advisors to our coaching ranks, early in 2018 we determined that in order to serve these awesome individuals it was also vital to hire new stakeholders.
Let me tell you, I was 100% on board for more hands on deck to sneak me treats and, of course, to do the important work associated with the advisory world. That was until I realized that I, Nelly Carson, was also getting a little “help” around the office. Apparently, the pup to person ratio wasn’t ideal for our expanding staff (Who comes up with this? OSHA?), thus a four-legged intern was brought on as my backup.
Meet Gus, The Intern
Did you know I am part dog, part psychic? As such, I bet I can predict your first reaction to Gus. It probably went something like, “Oh my gosh! Isn’t he the cutest little thing? I just want to pet him and play with him all day (and as an unintentional consequence give Nelly less attention).”
Okay, that last part probably wasn’t included in your initial thoughts. But, as for the rest of it, am I right or am I right? I’ve got to paw it to Gus, he does have the adorable act down. The pottying outside thing still needs some fine tuning, though.
If you couldn’t guess, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about a younger black lab encroaching on my turf. On a scale between going to PetSmart to pick out a new bone and going to the vet, I was much closer to the latter. I thought we were strictly a one-dog office (except on Bring Your Dog to Work Day), but boy oh boy was I wrong. Gus was an instant hit.
Despite my hesitations, I decided to give the young whippersnapper a chance. It was rough (or should I say ruff) in the beginning. He still chews on everything, he knows only two commands (the easiest ones, obviously) and, to be honest, he’s a bit of an attention-seeker. I now understand why there’s so much in the news about what people call Millennials. After some time, however, I’ve realized I was too quick to judge.
A Few Misconceptions
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but a middle-aged one like me can certainly learn a thing or two. When it came to embracing Gus’ presence in the workplace, I admit I had some false impressions to overcome. The three biggest were these:
- I expected Gus to be entitled. Everything I hear about the younger generation tends to focus on how they would rather be given everything than truly dig their way to the other side of the fence (or, as you say, climb the ladder). But, when I actually saw Gus doing his job, he was eager to please, running from cube to cube and office to office greeting everyone with a quick lick or a playful nibble. My big takeaway was that he didn’t possess a strong sense of entitlement, rather he wanted to share the responsibility with me.
- I expected Gus to need constant praise. Kids (and pups) these days. They are raised getting a treat for almost everything! It’s true, Gus did want my approval, but it wasn’t because he was spoiled rotten. He wasn’t looking for an unwarranted scratch behind the ears, instead he craved genuine feedback on if he was being a good boy or a bad dog. As you interact with young adults, remember that they are looking for your guidance to see if they are on the right track. They aim high and want to know how to improve.
- I expected Gus to be fickle. Do you know what I call a dog that lacks loyalty? I traitor! I was fully prepared for Gus to be as faithful as a cat, but it seems once again I was incorrect (it doesn’t happen that often). He explained to me that the reason his peers are perceived this way is because they are constantly looking to advance. It’s up to businesses to challenge employees so they see a future full of potential. Luckily, Gus and I work for the best financial advisor (my dad) and the best company in the world (was that too biased?), where our leaders are committed to doing just that!
Finding Common Ground
Since Gus started coming around, I feel like I’ve done a 180 (that’s only half way around when chasing your tail). Whereas I once felt threatened by his button nose and big brown eyes (yes, even I think he’s handsome), I’ve come to realize there is room for two dogs in a wealth management firm. My change of heart boils down to one simple fact: we both want the same things.
No matter our age, Gus and I both want a sense of belonging, want to grow in our positions, want to believe in the mission of our organization and want to feel valued. Sure, there are still times when Gus shows his youth by “needing” a pupachino or a slice of avocado toast, but in those moments, I stop myself from a major eye roll and remember we are on the same team. At the end of the day, we are more alike than we are different, and that’s all that matters (well, not all that matters, naps and belly rubs matter, too).